December 22nd, 2008
01:00 PM ET
9 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. Question-guy

    If this is CNN's 'Trusted News' I am going to MSNBC. This is garbage reporting, worthy of FoxNews. Just where did all these questions come from anyway.

    I do not know what it was, but the media dropped the ball on the Bush Administration. Whether it was the Dubai Ports deal, the handling of Katrina, appointment of Rubes, the build-up to the war, Condoleezza Rice’s complete and utter incompetence prior to 9-11 or Donald Rumsfeld complete and utter incompetence after 9-11, the media, including CNN, has been useless.

    For eight years, President Bush made various statements, never answered questions and left it up to the Whitehouse spokes-person to come out and take questions, not answering questions, just merely take them. Then the administration’s spoke-person would blatantly lie and/or tell the Whitehouse press corps and America that they don’t have the answer.

    That said, now the very same media wants President-ELECT Obama to answer questions on EVERYTHING. They even want President-ELECT Obama (not a spokes-person) to answer questions about OTHER folk’s conversations, statements and situations. They want
    answers to everything and he’s not even the President yet, and at the same time, last week they again let President Bush make a statement about the bailout and leave it up to Dana Perina to explain it. Why does the media hate America?

    December 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. RJN

    Why would anybody think Obama's aide did anything wrong?
    They are politians and know the laws in and out!!!!

    Even if they did do something wrong you are not going to hear about it because the new administration hasn't been sworn in so it doesn't count.

    December 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Anton

    Mark C wrote " 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."

    mark if you stop insulting people for a moment and read carefully you will figure out that the only way you can refuse to give anything is via process of communication. and thats exactly the point – there was a communication between those two, direct or indirect and that's in itself an issue

    December 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Dschoen

    “Americans are split aides to President-elect Barack Obama did something inappropriate contacts with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich”

    Where dose CNN get the notion of a
    “split on whether aides to President-elect Barack Obama did something inappropriate”.

    Is basic math not required to work at CNN?

    12% Obama aides did something illegal
    36% aides didn't act illegally but did do something unethical
    43% no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong. (Note: seriously wrong, that means yes they did wrong but it not important.)

    Uhm that’s 91%,

    leaving only 9% who either had no opinion or thought Obama/Team Obama did nothing wrong in any way, shape or form.

    December 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Jackie in Dallas

    I would find it a lot more difficult to swallow if someone on President Elect Obama's staff had NOT contacted the Governor's office about the controlled shift of obiligations and jobs by Obama from being a Senator from Illinois to President Elect of the US. And it is common courtesy on the part of many in power, both in corporate American and in politics, to ask for suggestions of who should fill an empty spot caused by a "promotion". None of that even approaches the ethics boundaries much less stretches them.

    What WOULD be uneithical is if anyone on Obama's staff put any type of pressure on Blagojevich to select someone specifically, or suggested a "selling" price, or if Blagojevich had suggested anything that was unethical. From what I read in the federal charge and the transcripts from the wiretaps, Blagojevich doesn't care much for President Elect Obama OR his staff, so I see him involving them in his "dealings."

    December 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Laverne

    It is amazing how the right wing thought it was nothing wrong or unethical about Sarah Palin abusing her power to fire someone for not firing her brother in-law and yet Obama has done nothing wrong and did not make any deals with Blagojevich and he he did something unethical. There is something seriously wrong with some of your reasoning. It is called being a "HYPOCRITE"!

    December 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    obviously, I meant [so I CANNOT see him involving them in his "dealings."]

    December 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. anonymous in Big D

    The inauguration dinner going to serve collard greens and turnips? Fatback and hominy?

    December 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Matt

    Wow, this is pretty bad CNN. Usually you at least skirt close to having something to report, but this is 100% fabricated pretend "news." Go get some facts instead of being lazy and using fantasy-land controversy to sell more advertising. If I wanted "Brangelina Goes to Washington" style news, I'd be watchign FOX or reading the National Enquirer, not frequenting your website, which usually isn't this bad.

    December 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Bobby Burns

    OBAMA right in the middle of CHICAGO politics, thats where he came from... dont be nieive.. He is guilty as sin

    December 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. newfrickinname

    If there is nothing wrong with Obama having a say in who gets his senate seat, then answer one simple question: Why did he lie about it?

    December 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Joe Fattal

    You will not find any politician in the State of Illinois, to include Chicago that they will tell you they have done something illegal maybe unethical, unappropriate, unfounded but not illegal. And that to include Obama himself. Personnaly I believe Mr. Blago maybe made the wrong decision. That seat wasn't worth the money, or the trouble to get into.

    December 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Bob

    So much for change we can believe in. This just proves that Obama is a retread of the same old garbage that always come from D.C. There is no shame in this man or the people he surrounds himself with.

    December 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Sensible Cape Coral FL December 22nd, 2008 1:40 pm ET

    How can half the country be split on whether or not Obama's aides had anything to do with the Senatorial appointment when the FACTS HAVE NOT COME OUT YET?


    Cape Floral,

    Since when do people require FACTS before they start throwing stones?!?!?!?

    December 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Skip, a black man

    OBAMA is a CROOK!

    December 22, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Diana

    I would have been shocked if Obama had not made clear to Blagojevich who he thought merited the appointment.He is the titular head of the Democratic Party and it is his unfinished term that is at issue.More to the point, its reasonably clear that he did, in fact, make his wishes known.That said, the Obama team made a mistake in not openly saying so.It does not appear, from the evidence to date, that any wrong doing was involved and I don't think anyone would have held it against him.I certainly wouldn't have and I am a registered Republican who voted McCain-Palin

    December 22, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Lauren the Designer

    Stupidest. Poll. Ever.

    December 22, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Marcia

    This is not news; nor is it journalism. The title of the article and the beginning of the story suggest evidence has appeared that Obama or his team have done something wrong. Then it goes on to say no one really knows, which confuses everyone. The end effect is that the writer appears biased towards the right and bordering on libelous.

    All this article shows is that media companies are more interested in appearing to be on the ball than actually doing their jobs.

    December 22, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. Anne

    I am so sick of these idiotic polls. We don't have enough information to give any kind of serious answer. I saw a poll recently asking local viewers if they thought astronauts should go out on a spacewalk and repair damaged tiles on the space shuttle. WHAT???? How the hell would I know? I don't work for NASA. This stuff is ridiculous. Please would you people in the media stop asking questions that make us look stupid no matter how we answer. Give us the facts, then let us decide.

    December 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Becky, KS

    Of course Obama is in bed with this guy! That's how they operate in Chicago. In fact, it's how Obama has always operated. The only thing the man has ever done is network with people who propel his career. LOL! Idiots. Empty suit salesman! You all bought it, hook, line and sinker!!!

    December 22, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Empty suit, empty promises

    Stop the presses, Obama and his own investigation turned up nothing so it is time to move on with the greatest Presidency of our lifetimes.

    Seriously folks, I ask ONE of you Obamabots to explain the chosen one coming out DAY ONE and stating that he NOR NONE of his staff had ANY CONTACT with the beloved Governor of Illinois?

    I am not stating that he did anything wrong here, as I, LIKE ANYONE else with a brain stem expects the or his staff TO talked to him, so then Obamabots, why LIE about it?

    Real simple even for you guys.

    December 22, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. EW

    Obama originally stated that none of his team had any contact with Blago or his aides.

    So, the FBI put "President-elect adviser #1" in the report for giggles? The FBI and Fitzgerald have information that they will not release to the public so they do not taint the jury pool. That's just the way it works.

    Nobody in the media or in the public will know any facts until the trial and Blago starts spilling his guts to save himself.

    December 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Hey Lynn, if 59% of Democrats think Obama did nothing wrong, that means 41% think he did. That's 30 million plus registered DEMOCRATS who think the messiah did wrong. Are they all 'haters' too, or are you just a typical Democratic hypocrite?

    December 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. Dschoen

    "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.”

    “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”

    Uhm Lynn, if ya do the math on their own survey only 9% replied that “Obama aides did nothing wrong” or had no opinion.

    12% Obama aides did something illegal
    36% aides didn't act illegally but did do something unethical
    43% no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong. (Note: seriously wrong, that means yes they did wrong, but it not important.)

    Lynn, that’s 91%

    December 22, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. jason

    Wow, lots of people here really upset the Messiah might have already been caught doing something that is normal in the cesspool of Chicago politics where he came from. If anything, this shows that this whole "holier than thou" mantra Obama sold to the American people was snake oil. Cold cash Jefferson, Blago, Rangel, Spitzer the Ohio AG, etc. show that the Democrats don't have anything to crow about when it comes to ethics. And if Obama wants to pretend he is above the fray, he better be ready to pull the plug on Rahm and any other aides that engaged in trading favors for a senate seat.

    December 22, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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