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. Karl

    Kristi, is it that time again?

    December 22, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Karl

    Charlie in Maine: Be aware that Campbell Brown has already charged PE Obama for the Spanish Inquisition, the fall of the Roman Empire and the various beached whales around the world. CNN support that mess. Fox revel in it. Soon she'll blame PE Obama for destroying Chrismas.

    "Tonight, FOX on CNN with Campbell Brown. The show where you can't tell the difference!"

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

    Given that we have absolutely no facts to go on at this moment, who cares what people think and why is CNN even posing the question?

    December 22, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. JJ from Arizona

    Guys – CNN had an article about Obama endorsing Valarie Jarret for his seat. Then a week later she was named a senior adviser working in the white house? It's very possible Blagojevich was trying to sell that seat and the Obama people didn't want anything to do with it. For that article to come out and us not to think that SOMEONE on Obama's team talked to SOMEONE on the governor's team at some point would be stupid. But it's not anything illegal. People in Congress try to choose their successor all the time.

    December 22, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Darko

    The issue is not whether they had contact with Blago...it's only natural that they would. The big issue with whether they and/or Obama knew anything of Blago's 'Terms' and neglected to expose him in order to protect the Chicago machine that helped his rise to power.

    Turning a blind eye is just as bad as participating...

    I find it highly unlikely that no one on BO's team had no idea what was going on.

    December 22, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. JimZ

    Now that Obama will be President, at least we'll have leaders who can add 2 + 2 and come up with 4. Unfortunately, this survey clearly indicates that we have a long way to go before counteracting the poisonous effects that Neo-cons have had on the electorate. I would suggest syrup of ipecac, but it would way too dangerous to throw Bill O'Reilly back up once ingested. We'll just have to let it work through the system, and with patience, everything will come out in the end.

    December 22, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Mark C

    It just goes to show you that a significant portion of the U.S. electorate is mentally retarded, given that Blagojevich himself said on the tapes that Obama's people weren't willing to give him anything. These must be the "low-information voters" the press was talking about during the fall. The new euphemism for "moron."

    December 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Balony. Blago would have already disclosed any information regarding Obama's aides. Remember Blago is trying to save his you know what, why would he not speak up. He's not interested in saving anyone but himself and he's buying time. Balony.

    December 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. E

    Who here thinks that Americans, all Americans are innocent until proven guilty?!?!

    Noone? That sounds about right.

    December 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Lynn

    "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."
    -----------------------------

    Just goes to show that conservative haters will always be foaming at the mouth over Obama, no mater what he does or doesn't do. The right wing haters are completely stressed out simply because Obama had the audacity to WIN! Poor things, take your meds.

    December 22, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. E

    So Obama is automatically involved because he lived in the same city, a city of what, 5 million?

    So by that logic Palin was involved in the criminal activities of Stevens, right? I mean that whole state has a far smaller population and smaller community of politicians.

    December 22, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Toby in Illinois

    Those who support Obama will find compelling and rational arguments to show that no one on his team was involved. Those who oppose Obama will find compelling and rational arguments to show that someone (perhaps Obama himself) was involved. This page is getting to be typical of CNN's approach to the news: two sides screaming at each other so CNN doesn't have to out and cover important events.

    December 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. mk

    what about the percentage that just don't care.
    This is the biggest waste of time EVER.

    December 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Tony

    CNN is demonstrating that it is really no different from any other network. They are selling a product. They have to feed the beast. What they do is not a public service. It is a business. (I have watched that darned commercial for the commemorative Obama plate one time too many!) They manufacture controversy/news stories to serve their purposes. Lou Dobbs bothers me more than the guys on Fox News because he is so self-righteous. When people come on his show and he asks them a question, he can't shut his piehole long enough to let the person speak. I have resolved to watch WAY less news in 2009. It just gives me a headache and depresses me.

    December 22, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    The Democratic party is talking to the Democratic Governor of Illinois about the appointment of a Democrat to fill the Senate seat left empty by a Democrat was elected President?

    So? The GOP talks to itself all the time: they talk to Ted Stevens, they talked to Larry Craig, they talked to Mark Foley ..Republicans even talked to Abramoff and Tom DeLay!

    Talking to some isn't a crime: its what you talked about that gets you in trouble.

    As for Campbell Brown? Just put on a big "I want John McCain" button because she lost her journalistic neutrality a long time ago: she'd rather create the news than report it.

    December 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. SK

    How can you ask such a question when there is no way for the respondent to know the answer??? Great journalism. Pathetic.

    December 22, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Former Republican

    There is nothing unethical about suggesting a successor when you leave an office. The govenor is the creep and frankly I'm tired of hearing about this, because republican govenors do the same crap but don't get caught. appoint someone and let's move on.

    December 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. design

    Obama is calculating in his every response because he knows he can get caught. When this story broke a week ago, Obama was on TV and quoted saying "we, er, I did not have contact with Blogojevich, at no time did we, er, I have contact"

    Why the calculating response? because he knew and knows that his team had contact. And why not just say it. "YEAH, I HAD CONTACT and I told the gov to go to H3LL.!" or whatever. It just scares me that he would be so evasive. on something as ethically clear cut as this. He HAD to have had contact with him, one was a Senator and one was a Governor who is tasked with replacing the Senator...there's absolutely no way they didn't have contact.

    December 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Elariia

    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."

    Of course, CNN could have led with "43 percent say no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong." It looks like CNN turned itself inside out to combine two categories to make it appear as though Obama was losing the PR war. Sigh.

    Why not investigate Blago? It looks like the prosecutor could use the MSM's help...

    December 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    I am a republican. I don't think any one on Obama's staff did anything illegal but I do think someone did something unethical. Blago was sure he could not get anything from Obama. That fact is in the recordings made of blago's phone conversations. Blago must have spoken to someone or he would not know what he could get from Obama. I am just glad that Blago was told that Obama would not have any part in the sale of his seat. It dose tell me that someone was going to turn the other cheek and let this happen. That is unethical. I don't think Obama had any idea what was happening. I also don't think that if Obama did know he would be stupid enough to not say anything.

    December 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Ann

    Let me get this straight. People are expressing a view regarding whether Obama's people did anything illegal or unethical, but, to my knowledge, no information is available as yet describing what if any contact there was between Obama's people and Blagojevich's people. That report is due out tomorrow.

    December 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Free America

    Obama is guilty. It is going to be fun watching the dominoes fall into place. The question is how far does this go – Obama, Daley, Axelrod, Emanuel, Pelosi, Reid, JJJ, . . . .

    The whole Chicago political team is crooked. There are a lot of very nervous people in Chicago. Who's talking, what have they said, what are on the tapes, who's name has been mentioned, etc.

    I have my popcorn ready and will be sitting back to watch all the Dems squirm.

    December 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    Have to agree with those folks here who feel that CNN (and other MSM) are CREATING news, not reporting it. I watched enough cable news throughout the campaigns to last a lifetime and the overdose showed me clearly that the news really has become nothing more than another big, bottom-line business. I'm so tired of the same "talking heads" and their same tired analysis – tired of Wolf and Kieth and Chris and Bill – all blabbering about speculative tidbits – they're more gossip mongers than journalists!
    I still log on to CNN.com and resort to getting my news through the most unbiased websites I can find – adios to cable news, they're all more interested in controversy and ratings than they are anything else. Could we ALL just stop the spin and speculation? Surely this investigation will unfold in short order – and then we'll know!

    December 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Cheryl

    This poll points out what is wrong with the American public...rather than wait for evidence or even a full report, they jump to conclusions based on their gut instinct. What Stephen Colbert calls truthiness. Something doesn't have to be true it just has to "feel" true.

    People are just choosing teams here. Choosing to believe the best or the worst of the individuals involved based on whether they belong to their political party. That's a pitiful backward way to go through life and it leaves you open to having your emotions manipulated by political spindoctors.

    Let Fitzgerald to do his job and make up your minds once the facts are in.

    December 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Ernie in LA

    I luv the Gov. He rocks

    December 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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