December 22nd, 2008
01:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll finds public split on Obama aides' contacts with Blagojevich

The public is split on whether or not Obama's team acted improperly in the Blagojevich scandal.
The public is split on whether or not Obama's team acted improperly in the Blagojevich scandal.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates Americans are split on whether aides to President-elect Barack Obama did something inappropriate in their contacts with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Twelve percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday say Obama aides did something illegal, with another 36 percent feeling Obama aides didn't act illegally but did do something unethical. Forty-three percent say no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong.

Blagojevich was arrested December 9 by the FBI on charges of corruption. Among the allegations is that the Illinois governor tried to sell or trade the Senate seat Obama vacated after he won the presidential election. It is the sole authority of the Illinois governor to name a successor who would serve the remaining two years of Obama's term.

Two transition aides told CNN that the Obama team will release a report Tuesday detailing contact between the president-elect's staff and Blagojevich and his advisers. The results of the internal investigation will list one
conversation between Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, and Blagojevich, news reports say. Sources have told CNN that Emanuel has not been implicated in the case. The U.S. attorney in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has said that Obama was not a target of the investigation.

"Obviously, those figures reflect the views of Americans before they have heard the report from the Obama camp on this topic. It is likely that those numbers may change once that report has been released and digested by the public," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The 76-page criminal complaint released on December 9, the day Blagojevich was arrested, includes snippets of intercepted phone calls involving the governor alleged efforts to benefit from the Senate vacancy. On
Friday, Blagojevich said he is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and has no plans to resign.

"Not surprisingly, there is a big partisan difference on this question," Holland said. "Fifty-nine percent of Democrats think that Obama aides did nothing wrong. Three-quarters of Republicans think that Obama officials did something illegal or unethical."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • Obama transition • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    Public schmublic. Who cares what people think. This is a non-story.

    December 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. That Other Jerry

    If you ignore the yapping chihuahuas and look at the facts, so far it looks like Rahm Emanuel did nothing more than talk to Blago. Let's face it, if the phone rings and it's a state governor, someone has to answer it. If there's more to the story, then the Obama team needs to cut Emanuel loose, and fast. No ifs, ands, or buts. Either way, Obama needs to learn a quick lesson here: if you're serious about being a reformer, get far, far away from anything that even smells like trouble. Borrow the Grinch's 39-and-a-half-foot pole and keep people like Blago at the far end of it.

    December 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. bill

    COME ON CNN TWELVE PERCENT said obama did something wrong.GET OVER IT.bush is history thank god.80 percent think bush did something wrong.give president obama a chance.before you jump all over him.

    December 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Williams, Eddie

    I think the people should sit back and wait for all the information to come out before we jump in with our comments. Once we hear what the transistion team has to say. Then, at that time. Is when we should make our decisions.

    Thanks for listen.
    E. williams

    December 22, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. creighton

    CNN, why run a poll prior to the release of the report that has been promised but withheld at the request of the Prosecutor? This strikes me as a new style of yellow journalism. Don't you folks have anything better to do than to drum up this kind of BS, it's blatant pandering.
    It's expected of Fox News, are you so concerned with ratings you will follow them down a path of sound bite, sensationlism, instead of solid reporting? If you are going down this road, run a poll and ask the public, do you think polls of this nature are of any value, or are relevant to the real facts of the story or issue. Come on maybe some feedback would illustrate your BS polls are thought of as just that BS.

    December 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Toni

    Golly – ya mean those that voted against Obama think "there's something rotten...?" and those who voted for him think his team is "innocent?" I can't figure decide if this story or the Caroline Kennedy nonsense is the most pathetic media story of the year. Whatsa matter media, not enough Sarah Palin storues?

    December 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Yvonne

    I too am disgusted that people have already been tried and sentenced before any facts of the investigation come out. This is America folks and we have laws that guarantee due process. Give all involved their day in court before we hand down a sentence. I expect this from the conservative networks but I expect a lot more from CNN.

    December 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    The way the media (including CNN) is skewing this story, I can see how people would feel that the Obama team did something either illegal or unethically. There have been more unwarranted conclusions drawn by so-called "objective" pundits and analysts, that it is no wonder why more people don't believe that Obama and his team did something illegal.

    December 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Kit

    Could it be because the media keeps linking Obama and the scandle? There is no there there. but you guys keep inferring there is. I'm sure that the report will keep you guys talking about Obama and Blagojevich right through 2009.

    December 22, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    and why are they having this poll BEFORE we know anything about the contacts?

    TALK ABOUT STUPID

    December 22, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Bridgette-PA

    We don't care CNN. Let's discuss something worthy!

    December 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. karen

    What a waste of time!!!!

    December 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. al in memphis

    Let the facts come out, then let discuss.

    On to more important items - WHAT DID THE BANKS DO WITH THAT BAILOUT MONEY? If the public trust means anything, this should be one of the more intensely investigated and reported ISSUE. All this talk relating Obama to marxism or socialism is nothing but noise to cover the fact that the public just gave billions of dollars to rich banks so they could pay off their foreign debts.

    We should be getting DAILY tracking reports about how this money is going back into OUR economy instead of overseas to pay inflated debts.

    December 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Sweet Pea

    Kristi – I bet you are related to Sarah Palin....you have that nitwit mentality!

    December 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Greg

    Why can't angry liberals spell?

    December 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Grace from MN

    Please the 12% who are uncomfortable with what is going on in the Blago case and know something; I beg of you, please by all means speak up and give any and all pertinent information needed to solve this so the MSM can enjoy their x-mas holiday with their family and friends....LMAO

    December 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Ben

    what a joke of a story. that is not a split. CNN is becoming FOX News.

    December 22, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Reality Check richmond virginia

    its nice to see that 100% of those questioned know what happened before they have even heard the evidence of anything.

    December 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Marty in PA

    Clearly, it's a slow news week! Please, CNN and other media, stop trying to MAKE news where the facts are still unknown. Is this "media sweeps week" or something??

    December 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Greg

    I agree with you Judith. Problem is, Obama hasn't said that. He's denying contact. Why?

    December 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Kathy

    Whether Obama is involved or not, it really doesn't matter. Any wrongdoing will be swept under the rug. Wake me in 4 years.

    December 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Truth Hurts

    You never polled me!!

    And of course this would be a split poll. You have the conservatives who would love to see Obama sink. And then you have the democrats who use good sense and get facts!!

    December 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. roy

    I hold this story on a par with "Brittany has inappropriate contact with K-Fed after divorce!"
    CNN...get OUT of the National Enquirer arena...where are we supposed to get REAL news these days???? Evidently not HERE!

    December 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. GA Independent

    Must be a slow news day... Shouldn't the media be focusing on the fact that the state of Illinois has an egotistical snake for a governor and apparently a whole lot of other corrupt and/or foolish pols that can't take action to sort the mess out? Did Obama's staff do something bad? Who knows, who cares? Can't someone clean house in Illinois? Can't the media focus on that?

    December 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Mike in Ca

    CNN creating news again.

    December 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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