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. Matt

    Are you insane CNN? What poll says this? I have heard nothing but complaints about Hillary Clinton from so many people that were hardcore Obama supporters that I really doubt the validity of this poll. I think this poll and article exist only to make people think they support this Clinton 2.0 because we are not getting the "Change" as advertised.

    December 3, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Greed is not good

    Brilliant idea to have Clinton as Secretary of State...instead of VP. That really consolidates his power.

    December 3, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Obama – one shrewd dude!

    December 3, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. wanda a.


    December 3, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    Agreed. So far, so good!

    December 3, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. R Wolf

    I'm thrilled with the decisions Barack Obama is making and he's not even President yet. What an amazing eight years this Country has ahead of it. I can't wait to see him, Joe Biden and the rest of the Obama cabinet make this Country whole, respected, and proporous once again. Thank you President Barack Obama!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. tess

    yes and i believe in santa, the tooth-fairy, little green men, martians, big foot, the loch ness monster, and oh yes – no. 1 on my list of truths is that the clinton's will do anything anybody wants or needs to help others – ha ha ha – merry christmas obama, your worst nightmares are about to begin!!!

    December 3, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Shawn

    Barack Obama will be a great, pragmatic President. I bet the fanatics who were screaming about Obama being a far-left radical are feeling pretty stupid about least they should be. And the "PUMA" loons must be DYING! Ha Ha!

    December 3, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. SG in SD

    What's not to like??? :~)

    December 3, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Wilson, Seattle

    Wow, only 54 percent think Bill will stay out of foreign policy? Politically, I think Obama shouldn't have offered Clinton SofS and Clinton shouldn't have accepted. Too much baggage.
    But in the bigger picture, the Clintons are enormously popular overseas. So I think she/they will do a good job of restoring the world's confidence in the US.

    December 3, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    And yes, the HIllary Clinton supporters are happy. Essentially the same types of individuals who would have been in her cabinet are in Obama's cabinet. As I've heard mentioned a lot now, it's looking more like a Clinton adminstration with Obama the figurehead.
    So it's a little silly to say HIllary won't pursue her own foreign policy, that she has to do what Obama wants. Hello?! All along, it's been said there wasn't a lot of difference between the two and there isn't. Obama has always been the party guy. HIllary's position is Obama's position and vice versa. There is no difference.

    December 3, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. CnoMoPalin n NC

    I like what I see!

    December 3, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Karen - Missouri

    I totally agree that Obama has made some very smart cabinet picks with some real heavyweights...regardless of political affiliation and/or being an "opponent" in the primaries.

    I say...fantastic, well-thought-out choices!! With our economy the way it is and with the terrorism still in existence, we need all these people.

    December 3, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Marian

    I'm surprised the approval rate isn't higher, but I'll settle for that. So far he is producing, keep up the good job President Obama (i love how that sounds).

    December 3, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Spencer/NY to VA

    Finally, a poll that actually means something. I approve of anyone(besides for GOP idiots) who he puts in his cabinet. President-elect Obama proved to me a long time ago that he has good and sound judgement.

    December 3, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. nevardo hanson

    doing a good job so far i hope he keeps it up

    December 3, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. boered1

    good job overall,

    the support for the liar hillary just proves having a that a majority does not always mean that something is right and that even Obama is going to make mistakes now and then.. but that is alright in 6 months, when she has proven herself incompetant at sos 9if it takes that long) he can always fire her and get someone competant

    December 3, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Jack

    I support him as a president. I also know that Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Ramh Emanual sure sound like change. =( just kidding

    December 3, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Dwane

    I just hope the cabinet will do what is in the best interest for us. He seems to have chosen many educated people with incredible resumes. Lets get it done and put this economy and country back on track. I support his decisions and hope he the president elect made the right right choices.

    December 3, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    He's got my approval.

    December 3, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    I approve!

    December 3, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. SLB

    Even many of his critics seem to be pleased with Obama's picks. It sure has silenced all of those "Not ready to lead, too inexperienced, he'll have to learn on the job" jabs that came at him during the campaign. In fact a lot of people are ready for him to take over NOW.

    Here's hoping all that optimism is warranted!

    December 3, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Kathy in NC

    Good Job, Mr. PE Obama. We all appreciate your thoughtfulness and intelligence.

    December 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Godluvr

    I trust you Mr. President-Elect!

    Most of those disapproving are (R) and PUMA (New Green Ticket Members-We've kicked you out of our Democratic Party)!

    Keep up the splendid display of intelligence and good will!

    Forgiveness is a great and healing thing!

    December 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I have to agree also, BUT you can bet that the anti-Obama folks aren't going to like it. No matter what this man does they are going to find fault in it somehow some way. He could have picked the 12 apostles ( sans Judas of course) and the right wingers would STILL find fault with it. I'm pulling for our new president all they way. I don't want to see him fail, yet there are some that do and to me that's just sad.

    December 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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