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. Lori In DFW, Texas

    Oh puh-leeze! After the past 8 years, it would be hard for Obama to do any worse than Bush & Company did. A frigging head of lettuce would have been better off sitting in the Oval Office than Bush and Cheney. At least Obama has a brain. I look forward to seeing him use it to try and solve this nation's current woes.

    November 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. ran

    He will be able to get this country back on the right track. We are part of the solution and need to do our part as well. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

    November 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. If I read or hear it one more time @#$%

    If I hear "yes we can" or "he will deliver" or "change has come to America one more time I think I will throw up. We are all waiting for Mr. Change to get into office and come across with his big deal promises. He is not going to do it easily and if he just does half – well that is not good enough – not after months of hype.

    Patience my foot – he said he would be ready on day 1. He said he is the "one", so we will be waiting and looking and seeing. Yes, we DO expect him to deliver -not later – sooner.

    November 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    And McCain would have faced any less? Or is the baromter set a little higher because Obama is a minority?!

    November 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Jeff from Jersey

    It has to be high because Bush had it set so low it's underground!
    Obama is going to have a heck of a time trying to undo everything that Bush screwed up which is EVERYTHING!

    November 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I remain somewhat skeptical.

    November 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Obama Yes

    Obama was the only real choice. We had a woman who really wanted to be president, but was out of touch with real Americans. We had a man who also wanted to be president but couldn't remember how many homes he owned and was out of touch with Americans. Then you had someone who recently paid off his college tuition. That's a man who knows what it means to pay bills. I think we'll be happy with Obama. Well, 75% of the country thinks so anyway.

    November 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. President For All People

    President Obama.

    I like the sound of that!!!

    November 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. 3strikes

    AWFULLY high expectations, too bad nobama's goin to disappoint the 65 million that voted for him, because the washington machine cannot be "changed"

    November 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    I read these pleas for the loyal opposition to come together and unite behind the President Elect. Yeah, right. Just like the Democrats did behing President Bush. They spent 8 years griping and complaining, moaning and groaning, calling the President of the United States of America every vile name that could be printed in the Liberal Biased Media. So much for bi-partisan unity.

    November 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. EW

    G.R.I.T. – Girl Raised in the South,
    They still need to abide by the laws regarding employment. They ARE NOT allowed to ask anything and everything. They are not allowed to ask ANY questions regarding race, religion, sex, sexual preference etc.

    Plus why should it matter if the applicant or their family has any guns? It's a Constitutionally protected Right and is totally inappropriate to ask. Why is that even on the questionaire? I sense a not-so-hidden agenda behind that question.

    To answer teh question at hand: Obama will never be able to live up to the expectations of his sheeple – er, I mean cult, er followers. THey have what is known to psycologists as 'magical thinking'. Obama will not fix anything. If picking Emanuel as CoS is his view of bi-partisan we need to be very afraid.

    November 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. OBAMA 4 President

    Sure the expectation is great because we dug ourselves into an abyss by selecting Goerge Bush for 8 years, so we want someone to fix everything in a few months!

    Obama is brilliant but not a miracle worker. Besides if people don't suffer, how will they learn (some still want Palin) not to pick another Bush in the future.

    I say suffer till you learn your lesson and don't put the blame on Obama if things don't change fast enough, Rome was not built in one day!.

    GOBAMA, God is with u!

    November 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Larry, GA

    On the job training... There is nothing inside. Hollow vessel...

    November 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Ivan Sanchez

    Of course we all have high expectations, but give it time! First he has to clean house and I don't mean just swish the feather duster around and rearrange the furniture like McCain would have done had he been elected. Obama's going to have to fumigate and exterminate some of the old fixtures that are glued in Washington and that's going to take time. Then I'd say within a few months we'll see a lot of changes! I hope you’re not expecting changes within 30 days.
    Now with the Republicans no matter what President-elect Barack Obama does in changing Washington they’ll never be happy!
    So far from what I’ve seen Barack doing he’s moving faster than what I expected!

    November 13, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. GARY


    November 13, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Irwin

    Win the war in Afghanistan? That's a hot one! More likely he'll start a revolution or another war in Pakistan. Obama will bring more intelligence and better judgement to the job, but he's still a part of this empire mentality, that's deflecting our domestic problems on to foreign 'enemies'. We ARE our own worse enemies and until we learn to solve our foreign 'problems' by peaceful means, the more grief we'll bring to the world and ourselves.

    November 13, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Susan

    I believe Obama will be the best President since FDR. He seems to be a calm and thoughtful man and he certainly has the intelligence to do the job (something sorely missing in the last 8 years).

    He's also a hard worker (his predecessor took more vacation days than any other president in historyl)

    If the Republicans would just work with Obama and the Democrats instead of spewing hate and looking for scandals, I think we might find our way out of this mess. Partisanship has never helped anyone and generally slowed down any progress that can be made.

    November 13, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Alonso Gutierrez

    Mr President, thank you for becoming the peoples' spear, to attack the many problems we are faced today. I am from Costa Rica, and eventhough I don't vote or live in your country, your decisions from now on, will affect everyone, and the world itself. The people has given you the power to do great and historic things, do not take that power lightly, use it wisely, I am sure you will. Please don't dissapoint us, the whole world is watching, we have put our faith in your hands. Like you, I was to young to acknowledge the greatness of Kennedy and King at the time, which was tragically shorten. I am now old enough to be aware, of a great leader that emerged between us, who has the potential of bigger accomplishments than those two great leaders combined ever dreamed of, do your best...for humanity! The future of mankind is in your hands!

    November 13, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Carole

    Of course he has to do good. Blacks have to work DOUBLE hard to be considered SINGLE good.

    **Rush Limbooger is already blaming the economy on President Obama who does not even reside at 1600 Pennsylvania yet.

    November 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Juan Grain

    Obama will show them how to get things done!!!
    Obama 012!

    November 13, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. S McD

    This is the silliest story I have read in a long time.

    We need realistic expectations and the Obama worship to end.

    November 13, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South

    I'm pretty sure that having been the first black student to head up the Harvard Law Review, Pres-elect Obama is no stranger to high standards. He, and we, will do fine.

    November 13, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Sue

    I love all the negative Republicans bashing Obama and those of us wise enough to dump the Republicans this time.

    Do you want to hear about the socialist state of Alaska? Of course not.
    Do you want to actually think about the state of Palin's dysfunctional family? Nope-they are cute.
    Do you care that the woman thinks God is choosing her to lead this country into her vision of America-white, no abortions ever, tax big oil and spread the wealth around, intolerance, a husband who was given access to sensitive personnel records in his wife's office (would he have access to state secrets? You betcha.) Nope, because she's hot, and evidently if you look at her junior high beauty pageant antics and don't listen to her, you could actually believe she's articulate, and that the media (and Democrats) are just big bullies.
    Do you care that her big ideas for the campaign included race baiting that has led to multiple threats on Obama's life? No, because, gosh darn it, he's black and a communist, so he deserves it.
    I think he's going to be great, and with America behind him, he will accomplish a lot.

    November 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. hometowndemocrat

    Let's face it. Obama could simultaneously create world peace, wipe out world hunger, get every American a high paying job, cure cancer....oh and in his spare time he could invent a laboratory created brain for Bay Buchanan to use since hers is so frequently on the blink...........and the republicans would still be whining and complaining about him!!!

    Get over it right wing....he's going to be sensational!

    November 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. hometowndemocrat

    I love all the republicans here snickering that Obama promised the American people the world..........................

    And I suppose John McCain wasn't making any such promises during his campaign..................

    Use your brains people!

    November 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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