December 24th, 2008
09:05 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama transition draws approval of 4 in 5 Americans

Obama is drawing the approval of 4 in 5 Americans in a new CNN/ORC poll.
Obama is drawing the approval of 4 in 5 Americans in a new CNN/ORC poll.

(CNN) – Hawaii's always been a great spot for honeymoons - and Barack Obama, who's spending the holiday season there on the beach at Kailua, is unquestionably having one of the best in modern presidential history.

Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That's up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama's handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.

The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.

"Barack Obama is having a better honeymoon with the American public than any incoming president in the past three decades. He's putting up better numbers, usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll also suggests that the public approves of the President-elect's cabinet nominees, with 56 percent of those questioned saying Obama's appointments have been outstanding or above average, with 32 percent feeling the picks have been average, and 11 percent saying Obama's choices have been below average or poor.

That 56 percent figure is 18 points higher than those who said then President-elect Bush's cabinet appointments were outstanding or above average and 26 points higher than those who felt the same way about then President-elect Clinton's nominees.

"Obama walks in with nearly twice the support on the economy that President-elect Clinton had in January, 1993, and he beats Ronald Reagan as well," adds Holland.

A third say that their impression of Obama has gotten better since the election, with only 8 percent saying their opinion has gotten worse.

Presidents usually start to lose support once they assume office and start making the tough decisions. But with eight in ten currently approving of Obama, he can give away 20 or 30 points, estimates Holland, and still have a majority of the country on his side.

The CNN/Opinion Research 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
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. rich

    What's there to disaprove? Obama has done an excellent job choosing his cabinet and handling other issues thus far. The few who have issues with him are those whom one could never please, and that's their personal issue.

    December 24, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Honeymoon

    It is still a honeymoon, American people will see if he can make any difference, better than Joe Biden in the senate for 37 years, or other old-timer Democrats. After all, can we trust any politician or lawyer form Chicago, Illinois?

    December 24, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. desari

    Do you hear the MSM talking about his record approval ratings. Nope. All they are fixated on, is finding anything to link PE O to that Gov Blago (whatever).

    I am appealing to Dems and people who love this country. Be very vigilant and don't believe everything the MSM tells you. Do your own research. We voted for this man because we believe in him. The right wing is foaming at the mouth trying to find anything to stick to him, but as we have seen time and time again, they always receive egg on their faces...LOL We are his foot soldiers and we should defend him against all false attacks. Once we falter, the right wing will move in to capitalize and divide us.

    December 24, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. naqib

    Ray Fisher

    Because someone doesn't like Obama's transition they are a member of the KKK? Great stereotype you have there... even though he didn't oppose prop 8, has Rick Warren speaking at his big day, etc. There are other reasons other than racism for 20% of America not being thrilled with his transition thus far. Although I agree... there is a fraction of this country that will always hate him simply because of his color... which I agee is sick.

    December 24, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. love obama

    Finally! America's leader has a brain!

    December 24, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Skeptic

    First of all no one asked me. Second of all, he's not done anything but false promises and look pretty on camera.

    Yeah...go Bomba go.

    December 24, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. labman57

    Some folks have an axe to grind because their guy lost. Gee, it sure sucks to be you. Well, give Obama your best shot. He's a man, he can take it. If that doesn't help, you can always try primal scream therapy.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us will be doing our part to repair the damage done by the Bush/Cheney administration during the past eight long, arduous years.

    Barack Obama has consistently has shown the character, integrity, judgement, and leadership potential necessary to restore our nation's standing in the world, resurrect our economic vitality, fix the broken health care system, and motivate industry to shift from fossil fuel to non-polluting, renewable energy technologies.

    No small feat–the bar has been set high. The American public has given Obama a vote of confidence. In one month–show time.

    December 24, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Raybear

    From out of the blazen trails of Chicago suburbs comes the Great Gatsby with all his baggage of tainted political aquaintances; and who knows what else. He has now set the bowling pins in place lets see how long it takes to bring them down, Don't wait on any strikes.

    December 24, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Larry from RI

    Hmmm – Exactly the opposite ratings of "the shrub"
    You haters had 8-years to screw this country up and over – so now you should all sit back, shut-up and watch how someone competent get things done!
    Just because GOP governance has been proven to be an abysmal failure doesn't mean it has to stay that way!

    December 24, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. AnnMM

    The neo-con nut balls that insist on referring to PE Obama as "messiah" to try and get under people's skin, crack me up. Yes, Obama is popular. Yes, he gives people hope and we're supposed to believe those are bad things? Bwahahahahaaha

    Go back to drinking the moron juice brewed by the POTUS and his crooked administration, oh and Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. TooDarkMark

    Not born in Kenya, born in Hawaii.

    The only people who call him a messiah are delusional conservatives.

    George W Bush opened the door to 16 radical muslim Saudis to fly planes into the WTC.

    So troll around you 18%, and keep delusionally attacking him. But you have an intelligent, strong, and progressive President now. Sorry if you prefer the American collapse from the last conservative administration.

    December 24, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. man of peace

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to the Obama family and all of us in this great nation. May this man bring us ALL together as one people and may WE as a nation bring the bright light of HOPE to the world. That is my Christmas prayer for us all. Amen

    December 24, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. James Lewis

    Transitions Team 100% – he's getting to be an expert at changing jobs.

    Actual accomplishments 0% – no one can yet point to one.

    December 24, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Jeff

    It is clear President-elect Obama is a man who sets goals and gets things done. He is organized and focused. He is proactive instead of reactive. This is a welcome contrast to Bush's shooting from the hip approach. It's about time we have a true leader again.

    A happy and blessed holidays to all.

    December 24, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    I hope all americans want Obama to susceed. However, his new Stimilus package is the old Pork just a new name....May God bless us all...

    December 24, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Jeff

    Hey Obama-mama...
    He's not President yet.
    Have you figured that out yet?

    December 24, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. brett

    almost every president-elect alway get HIGHEST approved before become president of United States...... wait until he get lower approve within period of time. Good luck.

    MERRY CHIRTMAS!

    December 24, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Karen, New York

    He is hititng the right note in a troubled time, indicating a respect for competence and achievement in his choices, sending a message that an adult is moving in on January 20th and showing that he is open to strong minds that might not agree with him.

    December 24, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. John

    This guy just keeps getting better, no doubt he will probably be one of the best presidents ever.

    December 24, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Linda

    Go ahead !!
    This lifelong republucan volunteered and supporter Obama.
    I am very proud of him, he is not peferct but I trust his intelligence and judgement and believe that he will be working hard for all of us.
    Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Lawrence in Denver

    Yes we can.....TOGETHER!

    I must say, it's funny how some people say he will not do great as President. They don't care to give Barack Obama a chance. These are the same negative people who are disgusting with themselves and their own lives. Some of you insist he should go back to Kenya where he was born. To run for President you must first prove your birthplace is within the United States. Um....I think this has been done a long time ago. Actually, it has been proved he was born here.

    And those who call him a false messiah...he is now your messiah and if you have ideas to get the US and the world going again then run for office. Until then just shut up and watch the rest of America unite to fix this mess!

    ~Lawrence in Denver

    December 24, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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