November 13th, 2008
04:20 PM ET
5 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. Jaye

    I feel confident that Obama will fulfill those expectations if the country will band behind him. Enough of the naysayer republicans that are still licking their wounds...they should be helping all they can – after all, it was them that got us into this mess.

    November 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Karla

    I am wondering where all the money will come from. My 401K has dropped dramatically so that I no longer have to pay taxes but will receive a check with the new tax cuts. What will happen as our incomes dip and we cannot be hit up to pay for all the programs????

    November 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Diana Ewing NJ

    Bottom line what ever he does will be better than we have been living with...

    November 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Dave

    Yep... the longer they (the governors) follow Palin the farther behind they'll fall. See ya!

    November 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. A-Lo

    But this is what he promised!

    November 13, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    The republicans brought about all the to-do-list in eight years and I trust and have confidence and faith in Obama to make huge strides in correcting the damage done by Bush in eight years or less. Remember, that when Bush took office there was a surplus, a balance budget, no war, economy was good, etc. So there is a stark contrast here. Obama is a doer and a leader. Biden will not be a puppet master, that's for sure.

    November 13, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. conservative

    Wow ; he really is the messiah ! Must be so; the fawning media is hyping it ( and I thought they were atheists)! Foolish me for doubting the media .

    November 13, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. TjayeInLA

    This is a Black man who ran for President and won....I'm thinking high expectations are what he thrives on. The compliment is that we have high expectations and HE is the one we voted in to meet them. Shows a great deal of confidence in him.

    Of course this isn't snide or mean, so I expect it to be moderated out.

    November 13, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Rockford

    I'm sure he will have a good excuse when he doesn't.
    He's great at those.

    My expectations are pretty low... I've read his tax plan.

    November 13, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. nocom

    If the public have asked from Obama as he asks in today's news: "Want to work for Obama? Get ready to spill all ", then he will not have a chance to get elected.

    November 13, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Charles at Atlanta

    Of course. That's the reason we elected him. And I believe he will meet the challenges he is facing. As long as he is open-minded and always tries to consider different opinions before solving the problem, he will get us out this mess.

    November 13, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. ron

    who is this idiot about the birth certificate. He's the president now why are you still on this. bush started a war and has killed and continues to kills thousands of people. Do you think a birth certificate is going to cause some kind of huge scandal in the white house you clown show.

    November 13, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Lakergirl

    All of you repubs who are using the SAME SCARE TACTICS that McCain, Palin, and the GOP overall has ALWAYS done is getting SO old. I would think that after the election, that we would all come together and embrace the change that's going to take place... whether we agree on the same ideas or not, like Barack said, we all want the same things- a better America for the future....so why still this HATE? This is what brought the GOP down...amongst other things. America is sick of the same 'ole fear tactics....the election reflected that. GET OVER IT and let's UNITE!

    November 13, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. bj, Texas

    Nobody set the bar high except Obama himself. He promised the world to all his idiot followers and they fell for it hook, line and sinker. Boy will they be disappointed. By reading all these democRATS postings I see that the spin to let him off the hook has already be gone.

    November 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Beverly, NYC

    Given how low the bar for President Bush was set, expectations for anyone coming in would be high. Instead of expectations we should all have a high degree of patience. We didn't get into this mess in a month and it surely won't take a month to get out of it.

    November 13, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Neuroperson

    Obama is the savior. He can do anything. He can raise taxes during a recession while strenghtening the unions and shutting down small business growth. He can make Islamofascists stopping being terrorists by just talking to them. He can support the constitution yet ellimate the right to bear arms and create social programs like they have in Europe. He can do it all!!!

    And of course after 8 years of the left and media attacking Bush and his policies like a rabid dog....now its time for everyone to just be one happy family and get along and support the president unconditionally. Fat chance.

    November 13, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Scott NYC Independent: Help me with your fact. What is the measurement of a competent president? I'm no scholar, but I'm confident that reasonable people can disagree on the margins of what is competent.

    For example, I do not believe that you are a competent debator because you declare your opinions to be facts. Others may disagree.

    November 13, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. kelvin j.

    He is just as human as you and i. But am confident he will deliver and even more than he promised. Time is all we need to give him. Uncle George has messed up the whole world that we are all afraid to look out or hope.

    November 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Lakergirl

    Neuroperson- Wow, Obama the Savior- kinda exteme there. Also, why the attacks since the man hasn't even been in office yet? Also, check your knowledge on Socialism..obviously, you think that's where this country is headed, but you're so far from the truth....

    November 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Al

    Personally, I have a problem with Obama dictating that teen girls can get abortions without parental notification (or tax dollars paying for abortions in Mexico) Add to that his ridiculous gun bans, (the Clinton gun bans did zero to reduce crime. The only answer is to build the prisons needed to keep criminals off the streets permanently) the desire to "reform" career criminals so when they leave prison they can get a job (career criminals never change their ways), and of course, his idea of "spreading the wealth." No thanks.

    November 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. IowaMom

    Neuroperson:

    What exactly is your source saying he will take away the right to bear arms? He wants more gun "control" which as long as you aren't a criminal, shouldn't really be a problem for people wanting guns for good reasons.

    November 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Proud wife, mom and nurse Alexandria, La

    To all of you ignorant people who don't like it so what. We had to deal with your idiotic choice of Bush for eight years and you though we were going to sit by quietly and let you put to more uneducated Liars in the White House....wrong!!! Get over it snf shut up!! We love Mr. Obama and we support him 200%. All you guys want to do is spread fear and hate. Well it didn't work this time. Guess what...it won't work next time either...I wish Mr. Obama could have 5 terms as President!!!!

    November 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Max L

    "I feel confident that Obama will fulfill those expectations if the country will band behind him. Enough of the naysayer republicans that are still licking their wounds…they should be helping all they can – after all, it was them that got us into this mess."

    I think we all learned after the Pelosi speech about the original bail out bill that pointing fingers at people never works, and if you do some research you might find a better analysis to what got us into this mess.

    November 13, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Sandra

    Yeah, there are alot of expectations. He made alot of promises to get elected. Can't wait until those who voted for him figure out it was said just to get elected, I just hope he doesn't destroy this country in the process. He is in way over his head.

    November 13, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. seah

    Obama and The Family

    Will Keep making excuses as to why he can not do anything he promised.

    They will start with the economy

    Then move on to a new excuse as time progresses.

    They will work the minds of Americans and talk them into all kind of Stupid things.

    The Power of Suggestion, persuasion and mind manipulation He has that down pat. So he is banking on The American People being stupid enough to believe all he says.

    November 13, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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