Poll: Obama approval rating drops amid slew of controversies

A new poll finds President Obama’s approval rating plummeting 8 points to his lowest rating in more than a year and a half amid a slew of controversies.

A CNN/ORC survey released Monday shows Obama with a 45 percent approval rating, down from his 53 percent mark in mid-May. Fifty-four percent say they disapprove of how Obama is handling his job.

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The poll also finds that 49 percent believe Obama is honest to 50 percent who do not — the first time a majority has not found the president to be trustworthy.

A majority, 53 percent, also expresses doubts he can “manage the government effectively,” with 47 percent showing confidence.

The president lost sizeable ground among independents, with 37 percent approval and 61 percent disapproval, down from his 47-49 percent disapproval last month.

The survey’s findings come as the administration handles the fallout from leaks disclosing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret surveillance of phone and Internet data to catch terror threats. 


The revelations sparked a renewed debate over the right balance between civil liberties and national security, with many lawmakers saying they were unaware of the scope of the NSA’s snooping and demanding the legal justifications for the programs.

The administration also faces congressional anger over the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the handling of the attack on the diplomatic annex in Benghazi, Libya, and the Justice Department’s seizure of reporters' email and phone records, all of which have sparked probes on Capitol Hill. 

The administration has defended the NSA programs as critical to national security and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on Sunday said Obama believed that surveillance had not violated privacy claims and would speak to the public more about the programs.

The poll finds 61 percent disapproving of how Obama is handling the surveillance of U.S. citizens, with 35 percent approving.

Forty-three percent say Obama went too far in restricting civil liberties to fight terrorism, with 38 percent saying he has struck the right balance. Seventeen percent say he has not gone far enough to prevent terror attacks.

But the poll also shows general support for the NSA’s efforts, with 51 percent saying the administration was right to analyze phone records to track terrorists to 48 percent who believe it was wrong.

The poll finds stronger support for the administration collecting Internet data for people in other countries, with 66 percent backing those efforts to 33 who say it is wrong.

A strong majority at 62 percent believes that the government has collected their own phone or Internet data to 34 percent who say it has not.

A majority also disapproves of admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden who disclosed the secret programs; 52 percent condemn his actions, with 44 percent in support. A majority, 54 percent, also says the U.S. should prosecute him for those leaks. 

The poll was conducted from June 11-13 and has a 3 point margin of error.