This survey marks the third straight CNN/ORC poll with majority approval for the President
Obama's positive approval ratings and personal image could prove a boost to Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency
President Barack Obama’s approval rating remains on the upswing, with 52% now approving of his performance as president, up a statistically insignificant one point since last month, but now five points above the 47% who approved in January.
This survey marks the third straight CNN/ORC poll with majority approval for the President, and the fourth straight with a net-positive approval rating overall.
The President’s scores were last in negative territory in January. The improvement since then seems concentrated among political moderates, whose approval rating for Obama has climbed nine points to 62% while views among liberals and conservatives have largely held steady.
Obama’s approval rating for managing the economy also stands in positive territory: 51% approve while 47% disapprove, about the same as in December.
Although Obama’s ratings have improved, Americans’ impressions of the way things are heading in the country generally and how the economy is doing have worsened in the last month and a half. Overall, 44% say things are going well in the U.S. today, down from 49% in May, and 45% say economic conditions are good, down from 48% who said so in May.
The negative turn in impressions of how the country is doing are centered among Democrats and independents, with the share of Democrats saying things are going well dipping from 73% in May to 65% now and the percentage of independents saying the same falling from 50% to 41%.
But their impressions of the President have largely held steady, with nine in 10 Democrats saying they approve of the way Obama is handling the presidency and about half of independents also approving.
It’s not just Obama’s approval ratings that are on the rise – his favorability has also climbed and stands at 53% now, up from 48% in December.
That figure means that at this stage of his presidency, Obama ranks as the most positively-viewed recent second term president. Both Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were viewed favorably by just under half of adults in the spring or summer of their final years in office, while George W. Bush’s favorability rating stood at 38% in summer 2008.
In terms of approval ratings, Obama’s current rating outranks both Bush’s mark (30%) and Reagan’s approval rating (48%) at this point in their final year, and is just below Clinton’s rating in June 2000 (55%).
Obama’s positive approval ratings and personal image could prove a boost to Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency, as Obama has pledged to join her on the campaign trail. Among those who approve of Obama’s work as president, about eight in 10 currently back Clinton in a two-way matchup with Donald Trump and seven in 10 have a favorable view of her. And among those voters who say their minds could change between now and November, nearly six in 10 approve of Obama’s handling of the presidency.
Of course, there is no guaranteed connection between an incumbent president’s approval ratings and the success of the partisan running to replace him. While some credit passed to Reagan for George H.W. Bush’s victory in 1988, Bill Clinton’s strong ratings in 2000 didn’t boost Al Gore to the White House that year.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone June 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.