Quinnipiac Poll: Obama Preferred to Policies


3 of 4 voters like Obama but narrow majority disapproves of policies.

Conducted Feb. 21 – 28, error margin 2.3 points.




Three out of four American voters – 74 percent – like President Barack Obama, but a narrow majority disapproves of his policies, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.     President Obama gets a split 46 – 46 percent job approval rating, little changed from his 48 – 44 percent score January 13, and voters split 45 – 47 percent on whether they think he deserves a second term in the Oval Office.

Given four choices to describe their feelings about Obama, American voters say:

  • 41 percent like him personally and like his policies;
  • 33 percent like him personally, but don’t like his policies;
  • 1 percent like his policies, but don’t like him;
  • 19 percent don’t like him or his policies.

Voters disapprove 58 – 36 percent of the way Obama is handling the federal budget deficit, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.  They say        51 – 10 percent that he will cut spending too little rather than too much, with 32 percent saying he’ll cut the right amount, and 44 – 14  percent that he will raise taxes too much rather than too little, with 36 percent.

saying he’ll get it right.  By comparison, voters split 33 – 32  percent on whether congressional Republicans will cut spending too little or too much, with 29 percent saying they’ll get it right, and by 33 – 25 percent they say GOP lawmakers will raise taxes too much rather than too little, as 36 percent say they’ll get it right.

“President Barack Obama is a charmer. The American people like him a great deal, but they aren’t nearly as sold on his policies.  This combination of personal appeal and skepticism about his policies explains why his overall approval numbers seem to be stuck in the middle,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.



Quinnipiac University Poll/March 3, 2011– page 2

“The question over the next two years will be whether personality or policies will prevail,” Brown added.  “Clearly the president is a good deal more popular personally than are his policies. It is not good for his rating that a majority of voters think he is likely to raise taxes too much and cut spending too little.”

American voters disapprove 57 – 33 percent of the job Democrats in Congress are doing and disapprove 54 – 34 percent of the job Republicans in Congress are doing.

Voters split 45 – 45 percent on whether they trust Obama or congressional Republicans to handle the economy.  By a slight 46 – 43 percent they trust Republicans more to handle the budget deficit.  Voters trust Obama more on health care by a slight 46 – 43 percent margin.

By an overwhelming 90 – 6 percent margin, voters say that middle-class Americans will have to make sacrifices to get the budget deficit under control.

They say 66 – 25 percent that if a candidate they favor offers a deficit-cutting plan that would cost them $500 each they still would support the candidate.  Voters also say 53 – 38 percent they would continue to support a candidate with a Social Security reform plan that put the retirement system on firm footing for 50 years even if it reduced their benefits.

But voters oppose cuts in the growth of entitlement programs to reduce the budget deficit:

  • 70 – 25 percent against cutting Social Security;
  • 72 – 25 percent against cutting Medicare;
  • 59 – 37 percent against cutting Medicaid.

And voters split 46 – 48 percent on whether to cut defense spending to reduce the deficit.

“Voters say they are willing to make sacrifices but they aren’t willing to just cut the growth rate of Social Security and Medicare, which, to paraphrase Willie Sutton, is where the money is,” said Brown.

By 64 – 32 percent, voters say raising income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 should be part of any budget deal.

By 49 – 40 percent, voters oppose cutting federal funding for National Public Radio and by 53 – 43 percent they oppose cutting it off for Planned Parenthood.

From February 21 – 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,887 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

Related Topics: Obama, Policies, Quinnipiac, Democratic Party, Issues, News, Polls

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