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. Steve

    I am a Republican who did not vote for Obama.

    He soon will be sworn in as the President of the United States, therefore
    he will be my President.

    I will give him support, I will pray for wisdom and a clear mind for Mr. Obama.

    Of course I have plenty of concerns on his pending policies and decisions. But as on now he has done no wrong.
    We need to support our president and if he is successful we should all prosper.

    Now stop the hate, stop the name calling and lets pull together.

    November 13, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Lakergirl

    BJ from Texas- He did NOT promise the world. Did you not follow his campaign? Read his books? Listen to his speeches? I find it funny that people like you somehow think that he's going to be our SAVIOR when he's merely stating the goals he has and that WE have as Americans. A MAJORITY of America embraces him so much because he shares the thirst of CHANGE that we've been needing as a country. But of course...that's a bad thing.

    November 13, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Peter (CA)

    Hey MD, Jdd, Griff, and Worried,

    How does it feel to be a part of the 9%?

    Obama is not perfect. He will hit on many, if not all, of the areas he campaigned on. But, he will need help. A Congress that will work with him and not just worry about getting re-elected. And he will need a nation of voters who will confront their members of Congress if they do not provide help to get out of this mess.

    November 13, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Rob

    Barry and 'Chelle really should meet with Clintons. Bill can tell Barry the best places to fool around with interns, and Hillary can show Michelle where to hide law records.

    November 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Linda pa

    I am ready to take a chance. All I know is when ever a Bush is in office my family loses a job. When Bush Sr was in office i lost my job the first time. During Clinton it was great large pay raises etc. Well along come Bush Jr I lost my job again, and just today my husband lost his job. So right now we are a household without a paycheck. I just pray that Jeb never runs my pocketbook just can't take it. I think we need to at least give Obama a chance. I guess the republicans don't realize that if he fails we all fail, including them. Let us not forget that we are one.

    November 13, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Setys

    It is definitely true that President elect Obama will accomplish all these goals.

    I know that in six months time US economy will be changing for the better, the economy will do so well.

    All his agenda will be successful during his ruling, the world will love US, nations all over the world will extend their hands in helping US out, Israel and Palestine will move towards peace process in President elect Obama's time, he will improve race relations, he will bring stability to the financial markets, he will 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.

    In addition, countries like North Korea, Iran, Russia will listen to US and move towards peace process, Norh Korea and Iran will abandon their nuclear weapon' program. They will never resume these programs again. Americans will be safe again. Terrorist’s acts will be reducing all over the world during President elect Obama and in the future of the next US presidents.

    President elect Obama will be in power for the next eight years, and Americans will experience the best years of presidency in the history of US.

    November 13, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. MLH

    Bar set high? After eight years of George Bush? Please. While I believe that President Elect Obama will deliver, I also believe that the American electorate, by virtue of electing George Bush to two terms, has set the bar absurdly low for the person that follows in his footsteps.

    November 13, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. sunoverla

    and where's my tax cut?

    November 13, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    And what is it with the right wing haters still foaming at the mouth?

    Obama has accomplished more in a week than Bush has done in the last six months. He is still the President but notice how he is already missing in action.
    Why should he care? He knows he can't do anything to fix the mess. Let the next guy do it.

    November 13, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Francesco from Ontario

    You need an intelligent person to be the president of USA. This will be a big change. We are relieved, the world is relieved. Congratulations, Obama!

    November 13, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. ron

    I am behind you 100% President Obama. Here are my expectations

    * point the ship back in the right direction
    * Be the intelligent leader you have shown you are to reestablish the US on the world stage
    * listen to the right only to understand there concerns then use your own judgment to decide weather there concerns will keep the country moving in a positive direction

    Being first is never easy you will have to achieve twice as much to be considered equal to those that came before you.

    Thank you for having the guts to lead the way.

    November 13, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. CanIcallyouJoe

    I voted for Barack Obama and will support his presidency as the lesser evil running for office this year.

    As long as he stops getting kids killed in Iraq for no reason and repeals the Bush Doctrine and the Enabling Ac- oh, sorry, I mean The Patriot Act, I will be behind him.

    Politicians are all liars out for their own good in one way or another – but gradual change can be made by electing the people into office who think the correct things and are less and less in it for themselves.

    I want to see Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and Guiliani brought up on war crimes.

    November 13, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. independent now


    November 13, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Charlotte

    I did not vote for President-Elect Obama, but it's time to put away the campaign and get on with actual governing in Washington. I can't say that I'll vote for him in 2012, either, but as an American, I hope we are all so successful in the next four years that I have to give an Obama vote some serious thought.

    It's clear that PEBO recognizes that this is more than just another administration, so add me to the two-thirds that thinks he will govern from the middle and allow the citizens of this country to make this a better place in four years. This is a government of, for, and by the people. He can't do it by himself.

    I ask my few remaining fellow conservatives to take the high road for the next four years as the loyal opposition. We don't have much to model ourselves after in the last six years, but we can avoid demonizing Obama for his policy decisions and work to find the right answers without making it personal. Maybe we can even oppose the administration's policies without using words like "idiot", "moron", and the like.

    Leave the demonizing to the media. They will get bored with Governor Palin momentarily, and just like they did with the Clintons, they will be full-on into looking for dirt in the Obama Administration. Journalists have to eat, too, right?

    November 13, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Lakergirl

    Al- Care to explain the meaning behind Obama's statement of, "spreading the wealth"? It's ridiculous that Obama-haters take this 3 worded phrase and put whatever meaning they want behind it. It was CLEARLY taken out of context. Like Colin Powell said, with ALL taxes, the idea IS spreading the wealth... Now, unless we see government programs being shoved down our throats w/no alternatives, then that's where "Socialism" should be appropriate.

    November 13, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. JL

    Of course there are high expectations. Our society is crumbling and he is our last and greatest hope. I hope he can deliver.

    November 13, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South

    What is the deal with everyone freaking out about the in-depth questionnaire for a job in the Obama-Biden Administration? So what, they can ask any and all questions of potential applicants. Working inside an adminstration is a privilege, not a right. Financial, sexual, political issues are all relevant to deciding who will best serve in the administration. The administration cannot hire employees who can easily be blackmailed or bribed by opponents, foreign interests or the media.

    As for an earlier comment about how most Americans don't want change regarding abortion – see every state that has defeated anti-choice measures. More than 50% of this country believes that a woman's right to choose should not be removed by the federal or state government. Men, in particular, need to stay out of these discussions as they will NEVER have to make the choice or live with the emotional consequences. When the pro-lifers come up with a way to keep the baby alive outside of the mother's body and make the father of the baby solely responsible for it's protection, then maybe I'll change my mind.

    November 13, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. HouseDiva

    he cant do any worse than bush.

    bush put us in a much worse can we expect obama to do?

    November 13, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Lori

    You've got to give President-elect Obama time–after all, it's been "Mission Accomplished" for over FIVE YEARS now on Bush's watch, hasn't it?!

    November 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. notafan

    For those of you who kepp repeating the lines of "He will get us out of this mess" and the like, clearly none of you have ever really listened to him. He has never said the HE will get US out of the mess!! The only thing he's been touting, is that WE should get US out of this mess! There are far too many of YOU that read way too much into his words without listening to the things HE really did or did NOT say.

    It's just too sad, that now all the excuses are starting as to why expectations are already too high.

    So those of you sitting around just waiting to be rescued, are going to be waiting a very, very long time and the disppointment will be a sour pill to swallow.

    Nothing worth having is ever easy, and to think Obama will make it easy for you is quite disillusioned.

    And no, I didn't vote for Bush either.

    November 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. curious in the UK


    November 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Stu-Florida

    It's not just PE Obama that's facing high expectations... it's the entire country. We ALL have to step up and meet the expectations as the UNITED States we are. We can't just lay this mess on his shoulders.
    I'm confident he'll do a great job guiding us. Let him guide...

    Let's all get with the program...

    November 13, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. laura

    high expectations? after bush if he does a complete sentence it is good enough for me jajaaaa

    November 13, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Scott Tucson

    Well Obama only has himself to blame for setting the bar of expected accomplishments sky-high with his talk of CHANGE and no explaination whatsoever of just what that change is to the people other than being able to pick him out of a photo line-up of all 44 US Presidents.

    November 13, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. MD

    I think its important to not get too comfortable with any politician. As a DIEHARD Obama supporter since the beginning of this long campaign, I still feel the need to be critical of the establishment. It is our democratic right to hold our politicians accountable, let's not forget that!!!!

    Make sure to do that, even if you are a fellow Democrat. We can't get too comfortable and our country can ALWAYS improve! I think that President-elect Obama (wow that still sounds like music in my ears) would want it this way, also.

    Here's to an 8 year nightmare finally ending on January 20

    November 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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