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. Simply The Best .... Better Than All The Rest

    Again this man has to outperform his predecessors .... he has to be twice as good .... and he is....

    May his best days be ahead of him....

    December 3, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Marva, MI

    Well if McCain and Palin had won, the country would be on meds right now. But all is well, and we're happy as clams.

    Barack/Biden 08, 12

    December 3, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Presley, MN

    It's like we've been sick for 8 years and we're feeling hopeful because the medication is about to kick in.

    December 3, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. P

    Why would Hillary talk trash about Obama then go to work for him. She is a sell out, because Obama is a sell out. He has no back bone.

    December 3, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. LA33ROSS

    Good job Obama. We are on our way.

    December 3, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Red, White And Blue-tiful

    I love my new president and I love this country.

    Oh yes, oh yes, I do.

    December 3, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Kim

    Is anyone surprised that he is doing exactly what he said he would do? He has always appeared to be an honest, smart and very caring man. I'm not surprised at all! He is unifying people like no president before him and even Republicans like him...WOW!

    December 3, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Red, White And Blue-tiful

    Barack is wonderful, his team is great, and his family is gorgeous. It's beginning to look a lot like the America I love.

    December 3, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Rachel, MO

    Of course the country is pleased. We're sending the idiots back to Texas, and we're taking the Constitution out and dusting it off. It's been a long 8 years.

    December 3, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Fred the moderate

    Obama is an intellegent man. He has enough good sense to pick highly qualified people who get things done. They won't sit around saying -yes, yes yes, yes yes! They will be from both parties and a tapistry of who we are as a country. We have real problems to solve. Bush has us in a real fix. It comforting to know Obama's on it. He's a doer not a talker.

    His calm and steady damenor helps me sleep at night. You see I'm a small business owner with people to pay, mountains and valleys to transverse, a future to chart. I can do it now knowing a real leader is finally in office!

    December 3, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. bona


    December 3, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. mary


    December 3, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. SA in OO

    But the really important question here is will Obama be able to stay "true to his values." As we heard in the hard hitting interview with his sister, "W" takes great pride in the fact that he never lost his values. Truth is he had little else to take pride in.

    What we are seeing here is a transition away from the first American Theocracy, where believing was seen as an substitue for thinking, and intellegence was something you made up. It wasn't considered a particularly high priority in executive branch appointments.

    December 3, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Nija

    Yes we can

    December 3, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. CHAD

    I'm very pleased! Go Obama 🙂

    December 3, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Steph

    Good job.

    December 3, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Leo

    I think his choices are fairly good. He is surrounding himself with people that know what they are doing. Unfortunately, everyone said the same thing about Bush....hopefully this wont turn out the same way.

    Good Luck!

    December 3, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. George

    Just goes to show you how blind Obama's followers are, because he is not appointing the types of people he said he would appoint, yet people are still happy with him. Maybe it's an extreme case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. It's really a shame his followers are the ones who decided the election because in their eyes, he can do no wrong. Much like in the presses eyes. I think we are in for some scary times.

    But don't worry Kook-Aid drinkers, I'm sure he'll do something for you sooner or later.

    December 3, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Amber

    I agree so far so good!

    December 3, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. Georgia is going blue 2!

    I put my complete trust in Obama's decision making. I will once again trust my Government to be for the people. I feel like I left a lover that cheated on me after 8 years and I am learning to trust a new better mate. LOL!

    December 3, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Lauren

    Barrack " Clinton " Obama is doing a fine job.

    His cabinet picks sure have a 1992-2000 flavor to them, dont they?

    December 3, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. michael

    I agree with the poll.............his choices have been excellent. And Hillary is going to be a stellar Secy. of State. Even many Republicans have said how smart and capable she is. I'm still a little annoyed that she's not President, but this post will highlight her strengths and probably make her more of a logical choice for President down the road.

    December 3, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Steve

    Look at the intelligence base of those who voted for the democratic puppet Obama – they have no clue who most of these people are, and they are all Washington trash. Where is the "change" for Washington?

    December 3, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Milhouse van Houten

    Fifty-two percent of republicans approve of his Cabinet choices,I would
    say that the new adminstration is setting up quite well.Mr.Obama is showing a real intelligent and pragmatic approach to his new position,
    and that is a welcome"change"to the past eight years.

    December 3, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. Marvin

    I always hear the media saying what horrible things Hillary will do. Yet they can never give anything specific. Her history has so far shown that the she is the opposite of whatever they say. With the people approving of her, it seems that most of us are now looking beyond the bias of some in the media

    December 3, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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