Obama approval hits 60% as end of term approaches

Updated 2:07 PM EST, Wed January 18, 2017
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26:  U.S. President Barack Obama sings "Amazing Grace" as he delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama sings "Amazing Grace" as he delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

A majority say they will miss him when he is gone

Obama's approval rating stands at 60%

Editor’s Note: CNN gained unique access inside the White House to document President Obama’s final days. Watch “The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House” Wednesday at 9P ET/PT.

(CNN) —  

President Barack Obama will leave office Friday with his highest approval rating since 2009, his presidency largely viewed as a success, and a majority saying they will miss him when he is gone.

A new CNN/ORC poll finds Obama’s approval rating stands at 60%, his best mark since June of his first year in office. Compared with other outgoing presidents, Obama lands near the top of the list, outranked only by Bill Clinton’s 66% in January 2001 and Ronald Reagan’s 64% in January 1989. About two-thirds (65%) say Obama’s presidency was a success, including about half (49%) who say that was due to Obama’s personal strengths rather than circumstances outside his control.

The complete CNN/ORC poll results

Amid those glowing reviews, one-quarter of Americans (25%) say Obama is one of the nation’s greatest presidents, far outpacing the share who felt that way about other recent presidents as their terms ended (11% described Reagan that way, 10% Clinton, and 5% or fewer said so about either President Bush). Still, nearly as many (23%) call Obama a poor president, more than said so about Reagan, Clinton or the first president Bush, but well below the 46% who said George W. Bush was a poor president as he prepared to leave the White House.

That assessment of Obama’s presidency, as well as his approval ratings, are marked by sharp partisan divides. While 54% of Democrats consider Obama one of the greatest presidents, 54% of Republicans call him a poor president. Though he has earned near universal approval among Democrats (95% approve), just 18% of Republicans say they approve of how he handled the presidency. That gap explains the difference between Obama’s approval rating and those of the two former presidents who left office with higher marks.

Both Reagan and Clinton held approval ratings above 9-in-10 among their own partisans, yet their approval ratings among those in the opposing party outpaced Obama’s, with 39% of Republicans saying they approved of Clinton at the end of his term and 38% of Democrats approving of Reagan as he prepared to leave office.

Looking back at the critical issues of the Obama years, Americans give the President positive ratings for handling several issues that were central to his first run for office: the economy, foreign affairs and race relations among them.