December 22nd, 2008
01:00 PM ET
10 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. TangoDancer

    Once all of this is done, the only person who will be guilty of anything is the governor of IL. There will be no others that can be legitimately accused of wrong-doing. Since no money changed hands, there really isn't even a crime – so not even Blagojevich will be going to jail.

    These "12%" that are convinced of illegal activity by BHO are the hard-core conservative ideologues. These are also the people insinuating that Obama is a Muslim and doesn't have a legit birth certificate, and all sorts of other internet urban legends. Nothing, not even clear facts and evidence will vindicate Obama. For these people, their radical beliefs are firmly in control of their minds. Any and all proof that BHO and his staff are not guilty will simply be dismissed as MSM cover up for the Messiah. There is not point in trying to reason or have rational discussion with radical extremists that are blinded by their own hateful propaganda.

    December 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. MD

    You know just because George Bush and his cronies stole the 2000 election and proceeded to reck the country doesn't automatically mean the next President is a crook too.

    Too bad we can't just give the PE a chance to get worn in before the witch/warlock hunt starts.

    December 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. earle,provinctown

    P-E Obama's chief of staff Mr. Emanuel was definitely within his rights to speak to Gov. Blagojevich about his selection as the interim "Senator of Illinois". Let us not forget U.S. (Dem.) Rep. Emanuel is a "Chicago'ian" thru and thru? Perhaps we should," all not forget" that Mayor Daily, and Emanuel were on Presidents Clintons "Team", and we (lest we've ?) know how ethical his (Clinton) administration was? Heck, that's why Obama's "Team" is jammed packed full of them,...

    December 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Matt in CT

    "Stop the presses. The Republicans think Obama did something wrong. I expect Fox news to lead with this but I expect more from CNN. Frankly I am dissapointed."

    Sorry Charlie, but this is no better than every single Obama supporter who calls it a stroke of genius practically every time Obama sneezes or scratches his head. Take a page from your own book and start heaping praise on this guy only after he's gotten into office. If you people don't want anyone criticizing him until he's President – do us a favor and also shut up until your man is inaugurated.

    December 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Nevada Independant

    Oh, come on.

    Of course the President-elect's office would have contact with the person who is charged with replacing Obama's old position.
    Of course Obama has a preference regarding who will fill his shoes.
    And, of course, there was conversation expressing those preferences.

    What is the big deal here?

    Let the report come out. Let everyone see the absence of any Obama connection to the attempts to sell the seat.

    December 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. barvbara

    You can take the pols out of Chicago but you can't take Chicago out of the pols...

    December 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Joe Public

    With the situation being what it is in Illinois and all the involvement both Blago and Obama had with people like Rezko I find it very hard to believe that Obama is not also involved deeply in this scandal. No way would Obama or his designate have had only one conversation about filling the vacancy. Sounds like the beginning of a Fairy Tale to me.

    December 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. john

    So, now what the public is guessing makes up for the lack of news material right?

    December 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Carrie Goodeagle Hayden, Idaho

    You don't always know who the criminals are. All you right wing nut cases that voted for Bush and (war criminal Cheney) didn't know or did you? Hmmmmmm. Says a lot for the right wing neocons.

    December 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Tired of the's draining...

    I am confused. These people polled knew about this report before the rest of us? Who are these people? I watch the news daily and hadn't heard anything yet. Maybe they are psychic or something! URGH! I am sick of people jumping to conclusions before they hear all the details. By the way, any Republican that didn't vote for Obama will be glad to cry out something is corrupt or unethical without knowing the truth...that's how their campaign was run...on lies and half-truths.

    December 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. mama d

    Why would anybody feel qualified to give an opinion before they know the facts and why would you ask people to give an opinion before they know the facts?!

    December 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. Keep an Eye on Obama

    Obama and his staff are not above the law or above telling the truth. They must be held accountable. With their arrogance, they shouldn't think they can lie to the public and get away with it.

    December 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Jeff

    Yes, I agree with Charlie in Maine, Seth, hello, and " Coral Gables". There is no news, there is no nothing. There is only CNN "news"-mongering for its own benefit.

    How about this....."CNN reports that 17% of those polled believe CNN is blatantly abusing its communications license by prematurely stipulating hypotheses yet to be tested, purely for its own interest"?

    That might make a good headline.

    December 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. tee

    This is gargage. CNN is trying to sell a story inspite of their facts being wrong. The haters cling on to a false alligation that comes out, like its the gospel truth. Obama is not the blame for every politician that does wrong, because he has met them or spoken to them in the past. His office had every right to speak to the governor's office about the vacant seat. People like Cambell Brown makes this non-issue an issue until the facts slap them in the face. Then they will justify their ignorance by saying 'the public has a right to know" all the while mis-leading the public with bad reporting and lack of morals. The media is the reason why this country is divided.

    December 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Rob

    The MSM becomes more and more irrelevant and ridiculous.
    The next sector that will need a bailout will be the media because the ratings are down like hell and newspapers circulations are vanishing. One doesn't even understand what Campbell Brown is talking about when she's trying to make news out of nothing.
    Guys, you better change your business model and philosophy because the line between the National Enquirer and CNN is getting finer and finer.
    Just 8 posts today.

    Keep on polling! Lol

    December 22, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. kayla


    December 22, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Brooks

    "SOMETHING ILLEGAL"???? What the he** kind of survey question is that? More importantly, CNN why are you reporting on "something" so vague? It has already been reported that Blago said on tape that he would get nothing more than the "appreciation" from the Obama administration. Here's a novel idea; "HOW ABOUT WAITING FOR THE REPORT TO COME OUT" aka the "FACTS" anybody care about that F-word anymore?

    December 22, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. latina for Obama

    CNN SUCKSSS!!!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. ralph

    You forgot to mention Seth, that 43% are guessing that Obama's aides did nothing wrong.

    December 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. jaye

    I think it is telling that people are giving an opinion on whether something illegal was done by Obama's staff without knowing what anyone of them did or said. The Prosecutor who is known to be a hard one AND bi-partisan has said they didn't do ANYTHING illegal, but here people are being asked to give THEIR opinions. Either they think Obama's staff did something wrong WITHOUT proof or they don't believe the prosecutor. if anyone should know what's on those tapes, it's him. People are acting like lap dogs that follow wherever the media leads them.

    December 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. maggiemae

    A Poll has been done?
    Ummmm....and where did the poll takers get their information?
    Was there a press release that I missed?
    Was there more information released from the investigation team?
    Was there a hearing, that gave a transcript of the phone calls?
    I can't believe that this is the most important poll that can be taken!!
    Who was it that thought up...Let's take a poll...of a topic that the story isn't told yet...there is an ongoing investigation...Hey let's ask if Obama is involved in some way in the this Blago mess!! Yeah! That makes total sense, and it will intellectually and scientificially mean the middle of an economic crisis...and better yet during the HOLIDAYS!! It will take the poor Americans minds off everything they are worrying about!
    Who was the person?
    They should be FIRED!
    Here is a NOTE to the press....THe American people DUMBED themselves down for 8 LONG YEARS! We have since woken up and grown BRAINS! Could you try to do the SAME??????

    December 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Rob

    By the way, you just can decide to not posting my comments because I really don't care since you're going to lose your job very soon.

    December 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Dave in Illinois

    For those of you who live where all politicians are honest statesmen, let me explain Chicago/Illinois politics.

    Obama's people talked to Balgo's people, period. That's a given in Chicago/Illinois Democratic politics.

    The only question is what was discussed and if Obama's people failed to report an outright attempt to extort a quid pro quo for the Senate nomination because that would be standard operating procedure in Chicago.

    Good thing Obama is either deaf and blind or so removed from reality that he missed all these nasty points about how Chicago politics operates while he served in the Illinois Senate with the crooked politicians.

    December 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. eyeswideshut

    Did CNN just replace investigative reporting with polls from people with no knowledge??

    December 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Judy

    I'm sure once Obama takes office you guys will be on to bigger and better things, or so I hope. I realize things are a little slow this time of year, but please don't try to invent a story where there is none.

    December 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9