December 3rd, 2008
04:06 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll shows public approves of Obama's Cabinet picks

Americans are happy with Obama's Cabinet choices so far.

Americans are happy with Obama's Cabinet choices so far.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that Americans think President-elect Barack Obama's getting it right when it comes to his Cabinet picks, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.

Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey approve of Obama's Cabinet choices, with 22 percent disapproving. That's 16 points higher than those in favor of then President-elect George W. Bush's Cabinet picks eight years ago.

The poll indicates that 71 percent approve of Obama's nomination of Clinton, the senator from New York, as his secretary of state. Democrats overwhelming approve of the choice, with two-thirds of independents agreeing and Republicans split on the pick.

Clinton and Obama were rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination during the very long and bitter primary season and the two didn't see eye to eye on some major international issues.

But the poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, suggests that when Clinton and Obama disagree, Clinton won't go rogue.

"Will Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton try to push their own foreign policy agenda? Americans say no,"states CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Fifty-seven percent say that Clinton will follow Obama's policies rather than her own when she disagrees with the president and 54 percent think that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will stay out of U.S. foreign policy.

Holland adds that the "favorable ratings for both Clintons have risen dramatically since the election."

Americans also seem to like Obama's move to keep current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was appointed two years ago by President Bush, at the Pentagon for at least the next year. Eighty-three percent of those polled approve of the move, with just 15 percent disapproving.

Many of Obama's choices for his Cabinet, his White House staff, and other high level positions in his incoming administration, are people who have ties to Washington and to the Clinton administration. But nearly three quarters of those questioned think that an Obama administration made up of such Washington insiders can bring about change. A similar amount feel that that the Obama Cabinet should be made up mostly of people who have served in the federal government in Washington.

And 88 percent feel that an Obama Cabinet made up of former rivals and opponents of the president-elect will be able to work together.

"Obama is so popular that 52 percent of Republicans approve of his Cabinet choices," Holland adds.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey was conducted by telephone with 1,096 adult Americans questioned. The surveys' sampling error is plur or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. David

    I dislike Hillary. She shouldn't have been given anything because of what she did during the primaries. Sec of State should've gone to someone who has experience in diplomacy, like Richardson. I am not sure why Obama didn't pick him for that position. I was disappointed.

    December 3, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Since the Cabinet members serve at the President's behest, most understand he can also ask for their resignation. Hillary will certainly follow Obama's agenda.

    December 3, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Fima Traylor

    That 22 percent who disapprove must be the same ones who still support George W. Bush, the ones who probably wouldn't like Obama's choices no matter what.

    December 3, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Carlos

    I think we are on the right track...Finally

    December 3, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. ch

    As the poll results reflect, Hillary Clinton was a great choice. But as good as she will be as Sec. of State, she still should have been elected as President.

    Nobody knows more or works harder than Hillary Clinton.

    December 3, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Angie

    Way to go Mr President elect Obama.

    December 3, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. aynes54

    Why shouldn't Obama be popular now...He hasn't done anything but appoint his cabinet which are mostly ex- Clintonites???? Go figure after he ran on change.Let's see where he is a year from now.

    December 3, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Ian

    God help us all.

    December 3, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. KG

    So far so good on the picks. Keep them moderate and keep the ultra-liberal, leftists at bay. Next, figure out a way to get rid of Pelosi and Reid!!

    December 3, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Lynne

    Exactly. 75% approval, 22% disapproval...the opposite of Bush's current rating.

    December 3, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Pepou

    Which is exactly why I voted with enthusiasm for Obama. I have high hopes for his presidency but will wait for concrete results.

    December 3, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Matt

    HAHAHAHAHA...neener neener neener all you GOP rabblerousers. I know it's tough for fishies to understand there's a world outside the fishbowl, but you better start.

    December 3, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Gene

    I personally like all of Obama's picks except for Nopalitano... that glove just doesn't have the proper fit for some reason. But, until she takes the post and starts working.. I can't say anything good or bad about that.

    So... I'll be one the 75% that likes his picks... but we need a new poll. What percentage of people are ready to punch the next pollster we see 🙂 I'll bet you that would be around 90% or higher.

    December 3, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. karen raleigh

    I'm sure Barack can handle just about anything in a quiet dignified way.

    December 3, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. FJ from Atlanta


    December 3, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. bernj II

    I would have thought, given it was a CNN poll, more like 100%?

    December 3, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Peter (CA)

    Headline should add......"except the right wing nut jobs on the blogs who will complain about something new every day until Obama leaves office in 2017."

    When even the Republican ideologues approve, why won't the minions of Rush and Hannity accept it?

    December 3, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Mari

    Of course! Last poll was 70% approve and 20% did not..... well, that 20% are the people who still approve of Bush. They are in total denial.

    WOW.........52% of Republicans approve of Obama's Cabinet choices?! Maybe this will silence the hate-lies-and-fear-mongers like Hannity and Limbaugh! And..........Faux News!

    December 3, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Lisa

    LOL.....Like most Americans even have a clue who these people are or what their track records are.

    December 3, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. H-ROD


    December 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. DebM, Allentown, PA

    His choices have been outstanding, for the most part. He has collected a group of people who will test him, who will present him with all possible alternatives, and who will let him know when he's wrong. He will not be surrounded by cronyist yes-men, as Bush had been. I'm encouraged so far by our PE's actions and choices. I shudder to think at what the alternative (McCain/Palin) would have been presented to us.

    December 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. T

    I concur.

    December 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Rick

    The article states "That's 16 points higher than those in favor of then President-elect George W. Bush's Cabinet picks eight years ago."
    And the reason for that is because conservatives are willing to give Obama a chance, which is a far cry from how democrats react when they lose an election.

    December 3, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Myrna Ulrich

    I am Deeply Disapointed with His Selections, Especially Hillary Clinton and Gates.. I will NOT be Spporting them Or thier Agenda.. This is Not Change... This is the same Bush Agenda !!!! 4 years is Not that long for another "Change in this Country '!!

    December 3, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Obama the great!!!

    He is so great!
    I wonder if he ever did anything that was ordinary.
    Even the minor details he does as if preordained to greatness.
    I love this man!!
    I am surpirsed 100% of the public doesn't approve.
    Every choice he made is perfect.
    Every word out of his mouth is perfect.
    He is the greatest PE ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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