November 13th, 2008
04:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Obama facing high expectations

 Most people believe President-elect Barack Obama will change America when he takes over from his predecessor.

Most people believe President-elect Barack Obama will change America when he takes over from his predecessor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The overall public mood may still be sour at the moment, but a new national poll suggests that most Americans think Barack Obama will make major accomplishments as president of the United States.

Nearly two-thirds of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday said President-elect Obama will change the country for the better. Twenty-five percent said he won't change the country either way, and only 9 percent indicated they think Obama will change the country for the worse.

"The bar is being set awfully high for an Obama presidency," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the poll, most people think it's likely that Obama will improve race relations, improve economic conditions, bring stability to the financial markets, make the United States safer from terrorism, reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil, reduce global warming, win the war in Afghanistan, and remove U.S. troops from Iraq without causing a major upheaval in that country.

"That's a pretty big to-do list," said Holland.

In a question separate from whether Obama will change the country for the better, 76 percent of poll respondents said the country will be better off four years from now, while 19 percent say it will be worse.

Three-quarters of those polled also have a favorable view of Obama, up 12 points since the election. Among black Americans the number was 99 percent, while among Republicans it was 41 percent.

The overall 75 percent favorable rating "makes Obama the most popular president-elect in at least a quarter of a century," Holland said.

In November of 1980, after his landslide victory over incumbent President Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan's favorable rating was 67 percent. Eight years later, the elder George Bush had a favorable rating of only 50 percent immediately after his win in the 1988 election. When Bill Clinton beat Bush
four years later, his favorable rating was 60 percent just after the election.

And after the Florida recount ended in December of 2000, George W. Bush had a 59 percent favorable rating.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted November 6-9, with 1,246 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. virginia nielsen

    He is going to do it easely !!! And if he does half of it is still great !!! God bless our next president and god bless America!!!

    November 13, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. karen raleigh

    If anyone can do it, the Obama/Biden team can. YES WE CAN

    November 13, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Wensley from FL

    HE WILL DELIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    November 13, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. MD, TX

    I disagree. I think the bar for an Obama presidency is low to non-existant. His supporters don't require anything of him. The media doesn't require anything of him.

    Where's the bar here?

    November 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Dave

    Tall order. Most would crack under that kind of pressure. Lets hope that Obama isn't like most.

    November 13, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Mike Dallas

    Things can only get better after 8 years of the shrub.

    November 13, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. SIMP

    And he will. But all you critics need to understand we didn't get in this mess over night, it took 8 years of that incompetent bush admin to get us here so give Obama a chance to turn this thing around.

    November 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Jdd-ATL

    Foremost congress must have Obama show his valid birth certificate, since he will not show to the courts regarding lawsuits in various states.

    November 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Shari, NY

    May god guide and protect you Mr. President-elect! Putting America back on a viable economic track will be a tall order and racial divide will be just as difficult. You are definitely the messenger of change as America's demography will continue to evolve and in 40 years Latinos and us mutts will predominate. Watch out for Bobby Jindal (Rep) of pure East Indian extraction after Obama's tenure. Next a Latina (yes a Latin American woman). GET USED TO IT!!!

    November 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Spencer/NY to VA

    The only people expecting HIGH expectations are the GOP. They will love to see President Obama fail. But the bad news for the GOP is that no matter what President Obama does, he will not go down in hstory as the wort president EVER. They can look at their own party and place the blame on themselves.

    November 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Marie banderas

    And Obama CAN do it, as long as the media gets off his back, and the people give him a chance and have some patience..e ven the world wasnt created in one day and Obama isnt even God...Give him time and a chance people..why is everyone expecting so much more from Obama than any other president ??????????

    November 13, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. maurice

    i wish him luck, but im a realist and the reality is, he more than likely can`t keep alot of his campain promises.after all he is not only a polititian but a lawyer as well. 2 jobs known to be crooks having them as well as well trained liars. just as any president before him. all polititians lie even if they dont mean to at the time. you can`t make everyone happy at the same time therefor you can`t always get what you want.

    November 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Carl from MI

    Dubya has set the bar SO low that expecting ANYTHING intelligent and positive out of the next POTUS is of course considered 'high expectations'!!!

    When you've had an idiot for a leader for 8 years, it's not hard to have high expectations of a Harvard Law Graduate and a man who doesn't create new and stupid words as he talks.

    November 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. observer

    Those who said no change or change for worst must be the Republicans.....

    Why does Obama resign his Senate seats so early? He is still needed in Senate.. Transition can be done concurrently.

    November 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. A Canuck

    Thank God ....something in the Ticker finally....that isn't about Palin. You guys at CNN have really been flogging a dead horrse ad nauseum !!!!!

    November 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Carlos

    The man is only human. Let's not forget that. Good things may come but change will be slow: it took 8 years for the mess we are all in to be created: it'll take some time to fix.

    Let's not measure Obama's success by the rappidity of change but by the lasting beneficial quality of the changes he causes.

    November 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. mume

    hope everything goes well he'll make it

    November 13, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Gracie


    November 13, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Scott NYC Independent

    You know what all the things listed above can be done by any competent President. Its not that the bar is set high is that over the past 40 years we have had only one competent President – Clinton; all the others were average or below average. THAT'S A FACT

    November 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. what now

    yes. Everybody expects something. He will have very hard time to make happy everyone, and he will not. No one can. He will have to make compromises. I hope he will be able to satisfy most of people. I do not envy him his task.
    He will need a lot of smart, skilled people to help him. He cannot do it all alone.
    Some people expect miracles to happen, well, these happen only in fairy tales, movies, books. In real life we do sacrifice, compromise, we do have to work hard, and think well to get what we want.

    November 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse NY

    That's a pretty big to-do list," said Holland.

    Well, it's what he promised to do, and why he was elected. Time to see if he's just talk, or can walk the walk.

    November 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Yeswedid

    It's nice to be able to now say we have a president that we can *trust* and support, instead of just supporting our president because we love our country. I have faith in Obama that he will make the right decisions and he will bring great and exciting things to our country! I cannot wait to see him sworn in on January 20th.

    November 13, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Liberals are Scary

    Here it goes, the man hasn't even taken office yet and the Liberal Media is already making excuses for him!
    From what I recall, these are all issues he chose to take on!

    November 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Rorschach

    Apparently all 9% of those who think Obama will change things for the worse post here... about socialism and Marxism... repeatedly.... over, and over, and over, and.....

    November 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Vickie

    As long as expectations are realistic, I believe President-Elect Obama can meet them. Folks just have to understand that one man alone can't save us. And, that we all have to do our part to build this country back up.

    November 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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