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. Doug in New Mexico

    This media process just never fails to amaze me. Anything for a attention graping headline. It is kind of like Dah, which way did he go George? And just why would there not be high expectations?

    November 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Sharon

    He will succeed with a lot of his promises if Americans support him completely – this means everyone. Already the right-wing republicans have started attacking him and setting him up for failure and he hasn't even taken office yet. There may come a time when this rhetoric would be appropriate but certainly not now. What is wrong with a system that cares more for their party and philosophies than they do the country as a whole?

    November 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Matt

    Keep the faith.

    November 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. TheMike

    Making excuses for Obama by blaming Bush is silly...either Obama is up to the task or he is not. I love all the yes he can, yes he did talk, now get on board...I am sure that Bush would have loved for YOU to get on board...oh but wait..haha, gotta love partisan politics.

    November 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. FreeNLovIt

    I need to start praying about it and make sure that our governmeng God-speed, push policies through to stop the CLOGGING of our COMA-economy.

    November 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. HeadlessHessian

    My guess is that he will do better than expected. after the debacle that the Shrub administration has been, even the devil can do better!

    November 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Tom in Delaware

    It's ok Barack, because we all know you're incapable of making a mistake so why don't you start off by practicing your favorite excuse..."It's all George Bush's fault."

    What will the Senate ever do now that you've resigned?

    How will they be able to replace the 137 days of experience that you so freely gave to your country before you started your run for president?

    Oh yeah...Jesse Jackson Jr.

    Watch out...what's down in the well comes up in the bucket.

    November 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. janet, ohio

    What?!!!? Is there someone on earth in their right mind who actually expects him to DO the things he promised? He told you the minute he was elected that it would take more than one year, indeed, more than one term. Why does it matter? He just has to appear and everyone gets a tingly feeling up their leg! What more do you want?!!!?

    November 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Frann Altman in CA

    I have a renewed spirit in government because of President Elect Obama. I voted for intelligence over insanity in leadership and I stand committed to my vote.

    I am all for critical thought, not bitterness and undermining. I am all for worthy opponents and challenging the status quo. The status quo is what put us to sleep and landed the ponzi/slight of hand tricks to set these house of cards tricks afire.

    So many areas demand so much overhaul that any thinking person knows four years will barely scratch the surface. But I'm willing to continue voicing my support for this new paradigm of thought.

    Count me as: onboard.

    November 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. abc

    bias & ungrounded expectations shouldn't apply.
    progressive change in old Washington politic is a must, this defines a hopeful turning point for our country. it's the the root of many economic and social failures, and it won't happen overnight and as citizens, we should do our part as well, change ourselves for better. it won't be easy and quick, and any fast-food change is not a true change. people need to contribute to their community and worthy causes and not hate/violence to reap fruition. let the treadmill work off the excessive expectations from the public.
    like karma, our leader and his people destine the cycle. unite, let the American spirit live on!

    November 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. june in FL

    He may not get it all done in the first 4 years, but what he doesn't get done, will be in the works for the 2nd four years. He can do it if no catastophy happens.

    November 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. HeadlessHessian

    To JDD-ATL
    Get a brain and think for yourself! Good heavens you sound like all the idiots and bimbos at Faux Pas.

    November 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Griff

    Who is this Lady? (Clare)??? Clare Voyent??? She must be!!!
    Boirack Obama will never get Elected again even if he has One Billion in 2012...

    November 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. The Blessed One

    Is it true Palin way to Chicago to campaign for President-Elect Obama's Senate Seat?

    November 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Jack in Tampa

    He is extremely knowledgeable, poised, articulate, and he cares about the people, as opposed to the Village Idiot that will be returned to Texas very shortly.

    November 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    The way Obama put together his campaign, now surrounding himself with the best minds and people, Democrat And Republican, shows that he will make the best decisions based in the best information available.

    We need to have patience for these problems to be taken care of because these messes didn't happen overnight. Just have the faith that we can make it happen. Remember that Bush has done so much damage for Obama AND US to clean up now...Just give him the time to do it.


    November 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. SD,Michigan

    I'm one of the two thirds that believe he will accomplish a lot. It'll take time and they'll be obstructions along the way, but I see in him not just a great orator, but also a fighter. I believe he'll fight tooth and nail to get things done, with promptness. Now he only needs the right people to help him. He can run this country just like he ran his campaign if he gets the Republican's help as well.

    November 13, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Jay, newport beach

    After the greatest election of our times, it is amazing how many people still insulting President Elect Obama. This was America's choice. From now on Obama is America and America is Obama. People need to stop making anti-American Comments and get behind our new leader.

    November 13, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. janet, ohio

    marie banderas, posted at 4:30 pm

    Obama isn't God???????? Who have you been talking to??????

    This is blasphemy.... heresy.......

    November 13, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Obi-Wan

    He will do fine, especially since he has 1 million plus supporters to help him get things done.

    November 13, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. John W

    If Obama runs the government the way he ran his campaign, we'll be fine. Steady and prudent.

    November 13, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Jody Monroe

    What most folks are worried about are the items he DIDN'T talk about in his campaign speeches, but probably WILL do the opposite of what most folks hope: (1) immigration, (2) abortion, (3) government / schools interfering with parental rights, and (4) the homosexual agenda (gay marriage and more).

    November 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Carrie Goodeagle Hayden, Idaho

    He will be the best President we have ever had. He will exceed any expectations that we have. I have a Dream and guess what it came true. God Bless President Obama and his beautiful wife Michelle and his great little kids.

    November 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Timothy

    The bar is set pretty high, and for Barack to get things done he must remove the lobbists from our political system. They are a pollution at the state level as well, as all our representatives time is consumed by lobbists at all levels of Governmant. They pushed for free trade for many years. For many years the auto industry has spent the money building factories in China, no EPA, and Communits labor costs. If America bailsout the industry with credit, to the companies and to the American consumers, those factories in China will crank up. Import taxes on goods from China should fund the bailouts. truly so, timothy

    November 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Bev

    Obama will not let polls and bars dictate for him. This man does things measured and with well thought out actions. The same frenzy was there about him having to choose Hillary (which he thankfully did not) shortldy after his nomination and he took his time and brilliantly chose his VP. Whetherr you fall in the " doom prophe"t or a "high expectation" camp, you will find positive outcomes when Obama chooses so. People just need give our new president the room to execute.

    November 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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