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. VOTED! OBAMA!!! VOTED! OBAMA!! VOTED!

    Let me guess the public is split just like we were on election night, this is a story but the media is making to much of it. I would be suprised if there were no contact between the two and it's been proven nothing inappropriate took place. LET IT GO!!!

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

    Blago story = shiny object.

    CNN, why did you close off the Cheney f-word ticker to opinion....you're showing your cards CNN....who's really in charge?

    December 22, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. No News CNN

    Listen CNN,

    This man is on a holiday and he had nothing to do with Blagofetch. Leave Barack alone and go report on the corruption in the Illinois Governor's office and Wall Street or something. Barack is trying to help, leave him alone.

    December 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Franky

    "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."

    That is such an odd poll. 12%??? So, if its 10 then 1 should think so, and 36% believe they didn't do nothing illegally but something unethically?? That's like saying you didn't know you had to fill up gas and figure out the hard way so if its 36%, then out of 10, that should be out close to 4 people but since people can't tell the difference between doing something unethical and illegal, that number is higher(I can't believe were stupid).

    This poll is like saying you stole the last cookie but you don't admit it!! In that case that makes us all guilty of this poll...(mmmm, cookies).

    December 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. LUISA FROM NYC NOW IN MD

    PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE..LET OUR PRESIDENT ELECT SCREW UP FIRST (HE WON'T!), THEN NAIL HIM TO THE WALL. FOR PETES' SAKE! WHAT'S WITH ALL THIS "RE-INVENTING" OF THE NEWS, AND
    HALF-BAKED POLLS?!

    December 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Nell, TN

    I'm not split. Barack is an honest and decent man. He's the one I voted for not Blagoboy. So leave Barack out of this mess and allow him to enjoy his holiday.

    Don't start no stuff, won't be no stuff.

    December 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Ron of Baltimore

    Have to agree with those posters who question what the hell good a poll does at this point--of people's half-baked, media- and partisan-hyped expectations? What have we come to? WHY are you folks wasting your money, and the ad-driven dollars we spend to support you all, on something so ephemeral? Just not enough news to report on? Really?

    December 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Empty suit, empty promises

    The media has been and mainly still is in love with this empty suit whose FIRST inclination was to say THAT HE NOR ANY OF HIS STAFF HAD ANY contact with the good Governor, and when Axelrod was on tape (the only way too pin these people down) saying THEY HAVE, he got thrown under the bus and has gone into hiding.

    OF COURSE there were discussions and there SHOULD BE, but Obambi LIED about ANY contact, PERIOD.

    This has NOTHING to do with Fox news or white people or Conservatives or Hillary supporters, this has to do WITH FACTS and this BS mantra of change, it is a fallacy and you 52 percent of the sheep were fooled.

    Baaaa.

    December 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Chicagoan feed up with this garbage

    Obviously somebody from the Obama camp talked to G-Rod but since when is that a crime to talk to someone? Next thing you know they’ll push for impeachment of every politician from Illinois and outside of Illinois that's ever spoken to or met with the governor. After that they can go after every private citizen that’s dealt with him in the past as well as anyone who’s attended any of his speeches and shook his hand. Will this madness never end?

    I’m not saying G-Rod is innocent, he’s been under investigation for years but I do think the Obama haters over exaggerated the whole Senate Seat part of the case to make Obama and the Dems look bad in preparation for 2010 & 2012.

    As an Independent Illinoisan I’m extremely proud to have to say that I never voted for Blagojevich

    December 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Jeff in Illinois

    Kristi...impeach Obama on what grounds? I guess someone with as much mind as you would probably be looking for an impeachment on grounds of skin color, since there is nothing here, that anyone knows of, which shows any sort of wrongdoing by President-Elect Obama.

    Go crawl back into your anti-American Neoconservative Fascist hole. The days of Fundamentalist, Fascist Theocracy in America are coming to an end. Iran is now the safe-haven for Anti-American wackos like you.

    December 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Philadelphian trapped in Texas

    Pretty hard, with a subject as amorphous as this one, to construct a poll that accurately reflects the shadings of people's opinions. Just speculation, of course, but I don't doubt Blagoyevich solicited "pay for play" from Rahm Emmanuel. I also suspect, however, that Blago is experienced enough that the request was subtle and ambiguous, and he could have denied it if Emmanuel had attempted to turn him over to the FBI. That would address two points: first, that Blagoyevich knew his squeeze had been rejected; second, why Emmanuel didn't immediately react by calling in the FBI.

    December 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Dan, FL

    Obama is definitely involved in this episode. He is trying to wash his hands. It shows his in-experience.

    December 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Ron - Saint Louis

    I don't believe anyone on Obama's team did anything illegal. Living in the Saint Louis area, Gov, Blagojevich has been under investigation even before he got into office. Obama was always distance to him as well as Gov. Ryan (the previous Ill governor). Blagojevich wasn't even given a speaking role at the DNC and didn't get a photo op with Obama either.

    As a Senator and Presidential candidate, Obama's team had to have some contact but I think it was limited to professional conversations only. I think Obama's name gave the Governor a "preferred list or a name" of someone but that was about it. Even the wiretap suggests that Obama's team was unwilling to do anything more than be appreciative.

    The story we need to focus on is getting Blagojevich out of office as soon as possible.

    December 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    This is just silly. Of course a lot of people will say he did something wrong, because those are the same people who don't like Obama and voted for McCain.

    As for communication between Obama's team and the Blagojevich, that goes without saying. When a person quits their job, especially a job of Obama's importance, they usually have a conversation or two with their boss about it.

    December 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Joslyn, SC

    Blago LIghtning Rod is a misfit. His mother should have beat his behind when he told lies as a kid. And don't tell me he didn't lie because he's still lying.

    Send him up a creek to the Big House, and leave the rest of us including Barack, alone.

    December 22, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. WHO CARES

    YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE ABOUT THIS COUNTRY THERE ARE SO MANY STUPID PEOPLE WITH NO BRAIN IN IT. SOME STUPID REPUBLICANS, RACISTS, STUPID CONSERVATIVES, DUMB EVANGELICALS

    December 22, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Fringe groups suck

    Poll finds CNN needs a new hobby

    December 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Janice, NY

    @Kristi,

    Instead of impeaching Barack, why don't you leave the country so we can be done with YOU.

    While we would greatly miss Barack, no one would miss you–ever.

    Buh-bye.

    December 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Mineko

    Gosh, it's so enjoyable to watch dems scrambling to Obama's defense. I can't wait for the president-elect actually becomes the president. You go Blago!
    Oh, and while I'm at it, I've started counting the days till the media finally start holding Obama accountable.

    December 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Eric

    What is the matter with you people (CNN)? Why the heck would you poll people on this when all they have to go on is conjecture? Why don't you go report on some real news and stop trying to create it before it even happens. Shame on you.

    December 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Empty Head

    Kristi December 22nd, 2008 1:37 pm ET
    impeach obama and let's get it over with and be done with him!
    To Kristi Strange you didn't call for IMPEACHMENT Of Bush and Cheney .........Stop the BS

    December 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Womack Boston, MA

    So am I to understand that the public perception of wrong-doing is what is important, as opposed to whether or not there is any actual wrong-doing? I would prefer to look at the situation rather than rely on what everyone else thinks.

    December 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Dan

    I can honestly say that this article is really unhelpful. How can american's be split on something we know nothing about. I think a better headline would be "American's split on whether Obama really had a connection" or something to that affect. Besides, Obama is gonna be president, why would he bother co-horting with a man known to be under investigation for corruption. He's smarter than that, and smarter than blago. next Cnn will be realeasing dna results on a snot sample taken from a kleenex used by obama. Gee wiz.

    December 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Joyous

    CNN the National Enquirer of News.

    December 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. IndyVoter

    This crap is beyond annoying. Please just let the man do his job. CNN, take a break with the misleading headlines and trying to sensationalize this situation. This is Blagojevih's problem; not Obama's.

    December 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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