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. Luigi ina California

    Because of the horrible mess he's inheriting, I think anything he can accomplish will be an improvement. The country is in terrible shape. Expecting one administration to be able to fix eight years of lies, deficit spending, and fiscal mismanagement is indeed unrealistic. I support Obama no matter, though. I am so sick of the current corruption. Thank God for ANY change.

    November 13, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Benz

    The negatives cannot wait to jump into conclution. The fear mongers still did not learn anything from this landslide victory. Obama will make a change the whole world will emulate.
    The Republicans will keep loosing if they do not work positively with Obama because the whole world is watching. If Obama does not make good changes Republicans will be blamed so the smart thing will be to coperate and be part of the good change Obama is bringing.

    November 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Vet in Texas

    hometowndemocrat, To hear your dems talk, I thought he already did do that and walked on water.

    November 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Allison V.

    I do not have high expectations for Mr. Obama. Simply because he can't do EVERYTHING, he isn't a god. The main thing is here, is that he trys to live up to his word in being a good president. Like he said the economy is not going to be up to par in one year, possibly not when he is still in office even. This is going to take some time and very hard work to clean up Bush's mess. One of the things that concerns me with Obama being president is that he speaks the word's and has intentions of Martin Luther King and look what happened to Mr. King. I only hope that Mr Obama will take great lengths to protect himself so he will be able to follow through and help the economy because let me say...the economy is horrifying. I never thought I would experience a depression. History ...repeats itself.
    – Good Luck Mr. Obama.

    November 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Bill

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! He'll change the less than a year!!!

    World hunger, poverty, racism, war, disease!! The Obamessiah will fix it all!!!! Oh, thank goodness for His Holiness' being revealed to us and our infinite wisdom to crown Him with endless crowns!!!

    Let us worship the Obamessiah!!! Let us praise His Holy name!!! He is perfection incarnate. He will solve ALL the world's problems!!! Let the personality cult IDIOTS kneel before their Lord & Master!!!!

    November 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. Dave

    After 8 years of presidential performance way below expectations, even regular expectations would seem high. Really, there's no where to go but up!

    November 13, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. linda from South Dakota

    if anyone can barack obama can,, he has a lot on the platter, but in time,, he will take care of it,,,, my faith is in him,,, its been so messed up for so many years,, its time to let someone like him take care of it,,,,, go barack ,go!!!!!!!

    November 13, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. linda from South Dakota

    in regards to garys comment,, wow,, you are a angry person,,, and obviously predijuce too,,,, so no-one can chg your mind,, but ,, in time,, you will see a better world,, and happier people around the world,,,, as far as blaming democrats??,lol,, arent you lucky you hav another party to blame???? republicans have had it for so long and ,, its time to let democrats do it( the right way),,, goo!!! barabk!!! go!!!!( show em,, and prove em wrong!!!!)

    November 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    S McD November 13th, 2008 6:24 pm ET

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

    We need realistic expectations and the Obama worship to end.
    I agree 100%. We shouldn't worship the guy. After all, he can't exactly walk on water.

    He did, however, give Stevie Wonder his eyesight back, during the Democratic National Convention! 🙂

    November 13, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Angie-OHIO

    Don't worry, he will deliver. Give him time. America gave that stupid bush 4 yrs and when they didnt have enough they gave him 4 more. President-elect Obama hasn't even taken office. God bless President Obama and Vice President Biden. And God bless America!!!!!!

    November 13, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. jim

    so so happy to see bush gone! Obama, start the investigations. There's time and it's worth it. If they can go after Clinton for a silly thing like an affair, then by God we need to find out what bush did to screw up our country so bad. He is a disgrace. How can we let this man ride off into the sunset after all the damage he has done to us?

    It's beyond me if they don't investigate bush. Nasty inhuman creature!!

    November 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Peter (CA)


    As you apparently are all knowing, tell us about this disaster Obama has us headed towards. Is it anything like the disasters this administration has put on this country?
    Or do you just foam at the mouth like a good right winger?

    November 13, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  13. janet, ohio

    I will give NObambi all the respect and support you moron lefties have always given President Bush

    November 13, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. a brighter day

    i believe president obama will go down in history as one of our best presidents ever, if not the best.

    November 13, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. KLEE

    Obama was the best possible choice at this critical point in our countries situation. At least we know that he has a stable and "thinking" mind – we are holding our breath and look forward to January 20th 2009!

    PS I like what G.R.I.T. Girl Raised in The South has to say – watch for her blogs! 😉

    November 13, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Bob (NC)

    Obama can never measure up to the expectations. He won the short term victory but will lose when history writes this story.

    November 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. 58tbird

    Yes, the expectations are high. The new administration will be responsible for many of the changes, President Obama will be able to
    move us in the right direction. Remember, it is the responsibility of the people of the country to help make these changes a reality. We have to do our part; conserve energy, control debt and start saving money, live within our means, talk to our neighbors, reach out to those who are different from us. We have to educate ourselves to understand where and why our prejudices exist. Help make our neighborhoods safe, everyone has to do their part. Without the involvement of the people in this new administration we will be no better off in 4 years than we are right now. Barack On!!!

    terri from texas

    November 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. KLEE

    PS all you Bushmaniacs and Palin en Tologists! We won – its the Dems turn – we don't need another President or VP for the Comedy Machine – let them find someone else – we need a President to run the country and try to get us out of the ditch and back toward the Interstate!

    November 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Obamalady

    Vet – people like you wil crucify Jesus over and over-- again.
    The whole world is happy for this guy and you are still negative.
    The republicans have actually succeded in brain watching their so called base who will never see anything good in others even if the whole world approves.
    Obama won landslide get over it. By the way 25% of Rep. voted for him and now 45% expects he will be a good president.

    November 13, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Ronald Schwartz

    i don't know what they think Obama's plans will do to help the country,He will give good hard earned money to the poor to buy votes.
    Try to destroy the second amendment. And cause retired seniors to live with a lot less money, They voted a whim,not to strengthen America.

    November 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Sandra

    What is with everyone saying how terrible the past 8 year were?? In reality they were pretty good, our business hired more people, paid them well and provided health insurance. We had the best years we have ever had. The economy was booming. Now we are heading into a recession that will likely become a depression. I am willing to bet that many on this board are under 30 and have never lived through a recession or any hard times. We are looking ahead and wondering if our business can survive under Obama, I am doubtful. Too bad Obama doesn't understand how a business operates.

    November 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Tim

    But the MSM press is doing it's best to lower those expectations.

    November 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Hilary

    I think Obama will definitely be successful, but big changes don't happen over night. He's not just going to slap a Band-Aid on things. It's going to take some time to make sure it's done right. I think most Americans realize that.

    November 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. Snake eyes


    November 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Lilarose in Bandon-by-the-Sea, Oregon


    And if the media, such as CNN, will be fair–more than they have been since the November 4 election, then maybe.......

    Just maybe....

    Obama, and thus America, will have a chance.

    November 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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