December 22nd, 2008
01:00 PM ET
6 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. Ron in NC

    The Messiah and his disciples can do no wrong .... they could have videotape of Obama & Co. setting fire to an orphanage and 59% of Democrats would say they've done nothing "seriously wrong"

    December 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Until we know exactly what was said and their intent, we can't know exactly what was going on. I hope to hear the governor change his tune. That will mostly likely happen when the trial starts. Then he'll either being singing like a song bird as to who tried to bribe him or it'll be the blues when he hears how much time he'll be spending behind bars and the money he needs to pay in fines.

    December 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. frodo

    Siemens recently just paid the biggest fine ($1.5B) in corporate history for bribes. Petters and Madoff made off with billions in investors money. And yet we will continue to hire (elect) politicians who do the same things. And worse, they are bribing the voters by using pork. They know that to stay elected they must get ever so much more pork for their constituency. This is why the country is spiraling into economic chaos so fast.

    Now Obama's team is talking another $700B bailout after the $700 Billion Bush bailout.

    THe democrats and republicans are destroying whatever was left of a free America. We are all now debtors.

    December 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Mari

    Of course, the hate-mongers on AM Radio and Faux News, especially Limbaugh the comedian, Hannity-the-hater, and all the rest will judge and condemn! However they NEVER apologize when they are wrong time and time again!

    CNN and other media needs viewers so they stoop into the gutter and offer innuendo, insinuation and guesses! What else is new?

    SADLY, the vast majority of Americans are too busy to do their OWN research and THINK for themselves!

    WHY NOT WAIT TILL THE ..... FACTS.... ARE KNOWN BEFORE JUDGING AND CONDEMNING?

    December 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. canadian pov

    Perhaps communicating by ESP would still not satisfy some people.

    Hey, where is the outrage that the United States of America is a country that tortures.

    So much for any moral high ground being spewed from south of the 49th to the rest of the world.

    December 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Dumb

    Before knowing who did what, let's be a little bit more patient. This poll is completely nonsense.

    December 22, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. John in Ohio

    It's pretty clear on the tapes. Obama's team talked to Blago, but they wouldn't pay to play, they wouldn't participate in his corruption, and so Blago was screaming obscenities about them. He saw himself as king and sovereign of his own little kingdom, and Obama's people wouldn't play ball. Good for them, and bad for Blago.

    Hopefully George Ryan (R) and Blago (D) eventually share a cell. I bet the Republicans are overjoyed that they can rant and rave about this, and I think it's hilarious that they've got blinders on and are latching onto this nothing story when there's a much bigger story in the Clinton donor list recently released.

    December 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. obama-mama

    @Kristi

    You wish....Hateful Heffer.

    December 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Marc

    Why the hell would you do a poll asking people to make a judgement before ANY details relating to his aides are released? On what were they supposed to base their opions? Of course your results will reflect partisan lines – there's nothing else to go on!

    Geez, quit wasting everyone's time on such nonesense!

    December 22, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. aware

    So...don't expect change from PEBO. He made his way up through the same cesspool as Blago! :(

    Also, there is no difference between the far left and the far right. they are all wingnuts!

    December 22, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Jenn

    When you say your staff had no contact about it and it comes to light that they did ,whether it was "legal" or "illegal" it doesn't sound right no matter who's camp it is comming out of

    December 22, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Marco

    This poll is meaningless. There are not enough facts for anyone to make an informed opinion, so of course it falls down partisan lines. They were covering this poll on CNN on TV also. I can't imagine why this is news.

    December 22, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. worriedmom

    Why is it the Democrats/Leftist cannot accept that Obama and his team would do any wrong? Personally to me this story is the same ole thing and excuses that we heard all along the campaign. Always an excuse that he never knew the person or situation. Come on if you are gonna be President know what is going on. there are a lot of crooked people in Washington Republicans and Democrats and you guys better get a grip on reality that your party is just as crooked! How about time that the American people speak up and stop putting up with all of this. Of course this will blow over like the rest of the stories!

    December 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Jerry

    If the "Gov." goes to jail and suddenly decides to hang himself, we will know we have returned to the Clinton years.

    December 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Moonbeam

    I am afraid that Emmanuel is a lose cannon. He might be unsuitable for the job. We don't need another Stephanopolis in a White House!

    December 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. john

    My god, how much does one have to want this to be true to claim that something illegal took place between Obama's people and Blago. What, do you really think that Obama never had any contact with the guy when they are from the same state? And just because he did he is guilty of something? Come on, pull your head out. If you want some real meat, we have 8 years of lying, deception, and war profiteering by our current administration for you to sink your teeth into. Oh, yeah, I forgot – those are the guys you DON'T want to talk about...
    Get a life.

    December 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. David

    Obama and his staff did nothing wrong. In fact, the complaint said just that. Yet, that didn't stop CNN from spinning and creating a controversy where none existed. As a result, now, almost half of the public thinks Obama's staff did something wrong. Great job CNN, for misleading the public!

    December 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. tired of corporate politics

    Obama may be seeing now that using the media as he did is a coin with two sides. The media turns when it smells blood.

    The media got to sell its news and those expensive color booklets about Obama's rise to power. Now they are ready to move on to scandal mode.

    Love this quote from a vacant-stare follower "Obama did no wrong. And never will." Dude – he doesn't walk on water like he said- get over it.

    I don't think he is evil like the right wingers say – he is just a man – and that is all – sorry to break it to you. Grow up.

    December 22, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. ToddonCapeCod

    I just love the knee-jerk defenders of Obama here.
    Folks, wake up. Obama is from Cook County, one of the most corrupt political forces in American history, if not the most.
    If you honestly think Obama's internal investigation is going to get to the bottom of this, you're so sadly mistaken, and that would be tragic for you.
    He's not the messiah. He's not a new politician. He's neck-deep in the corruption, and so far, all his Cabinet and transition picks have proven his is going to be an awful administration!

    December 22, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. blaising

    Even CNN is drinking the Kool-Aid...makin' stuff up and calling it "news".

    This is a "Sienfeld" story...about nothing!!

    December 22, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Patriot

    Tempest in a teacup and GOSSIP are the obsessions of the main stream media morons and media BUSINESS. That is the downside of the Constitutional guarantee of a 'free press', even to those who aren't that interested in informing the people but in it to make money.

    The grandstanding of the Attorney General savaged Blago politically over mere POLITICAL HORSE TRADING, and cause nothing but AVOIDABLE disruption and dissension within the population.

    Hopefully Blago will be vindicated when he finally HAS DUE PROCESS, instead of the present verdict in the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION!

    December 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Donna

    This is amazing result conidering that media has not reported much that the Obama team has not okayed....

    December 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Fred NH

    The election is over.
    No more polls, please.
    Just the facts, please

    December 22, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. optnote

    Sometimes it's hard to wait for the outcome on this kind of situation. But patience is what we need right now.

    December 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Karl

    Majority Rules!

    December 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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