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. carlo

    So much for the 20 loons who post on here bashing Obama every time they mention his name.

    December 24, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. vicki

    This is beginning only. Obama will be THE best president ever.

    December 24, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Christy

    The news media loves to make news where there is none. It would be insane to think that anyone would want to go home for the holidays. It would be REALLY insane to think that anyone would go to a beloved Grandmothers memorial. Americans love him because he's thoughtful, intelligent, socialized, seasonable, reasonable... all the things George Bush is not.

    December 24, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Maggie from Virginia

    Way to go, BO!! America is behind you.

    December 24, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. carol

    Of course the approval is high this is a very smart and open minded young man who is going to make a great President for this country.
    We just need to give him a chance to get sworn in and start the business of getting this country back on track.....he has been working behind the scenes to get cracking straight away and I feel he will do wonders for this country in the years to come.

    December 24, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. STEVE R

    Sounds like some type of ACORN polling if you ask me.

    I cant wait until jan. 20 '09....I'm looking forward to BO sending me my check......

    any pay for my fuel, home, school......our hero has arrived

    he's still a chump

    December 24, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  7. Toni

    First, congrats to Obama, as he'll certainly need this once the honeymoon is over and the media attempts to look for anything to throw at him for the sake of news, even if it's a non-issue.

    Also, can we please let go of Ronald Reagan? The man was only a hero to the greedy, money-grubbing, heartless cretins on the right. Ask anyone poor or black in the 80s, and RR was hardly the hero in their eyes that he's made out to be. Reaganomics is overrated, and his presidency SEVERELY overrated.

    Let's hope that Obama forges his own legacy, and that it's one that's beneficial to the American people.

    December 24, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  8. richard

    I just ask 10 people if they like President-elect's cabinet nominees, only 2 even knew some. You can spin your poll all you want but it does not make it fact.

    December 24, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  9. Jerry

    He hasn't done anything and already is being called a "Lincoln."
    No common sense in this country anymore? No wonder we're in such trouble!

    December 24, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  10. Paul Rohrer

    Obama is not polling that well in our area. I fact, we are scared to death here...

    December 24, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. Ernie in LA

    Change your light bulbs and air up your tires and everything will be just fine. That's some change.

    December 24, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  12. Jim from CT

    I find it hard to believe that GWB had that kind of approval rating when he was selected as President 8 years ago.

    I'm happy to see that President-Elect Obama is doing quite well.

    Can't wait until he and Joe Biden take office on 1/20/09!!!!

    December 24, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Jan

    What a farce this poll is. And stop posting planted photos of Obama in bathing suits and shorts. It is not attractive to everyone He has the most security of anyone in history-the photo was probably taken by his adoring wife and sent to the media.

    December 24, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. Andre

    This is only the beginning of a great presidency.

    December 24, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. Funny

    That just shows how many people have drank the media kool aid about Obama.

    Just look at the rah rah attitude of the article. Have the media EVER worked this hard for anything?

    December 24, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    It's simple. He's coming in with a plan. He's picking good people that can provide solid input and run the political spectrum so that no one can accuse him of playing favorites. He's a centrist that inspires even the most hardened curmudgeon to action.

    December 24, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are some high hope for this president elect. If he fails to live up to the ideals and goals that people have set for him, he could go down in history as a great disappointment. I just hope that he understands all the problems that have crept up during the campaign and now. His cabinet must be able to direct everyone to do what needs to get done as well as Obama's directives.

    December 24, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. Bosworth

    Four out of Five? I cannot believe in an election where BHO won only slightly more than 50% of the vote, that 82% approve of him having done absolutely nothing as president. I suppose that if the poll means 82% of the people who voted for Obama approve, I would be slightly more inclined to believe the statistic.

    December 24, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. Pat Omaha, NE

    Merry Christmas to the USA and Happy New Year!!
    Let's pull together and get this country running again!!
    We will soon have a new President and a new beginning!!

    December 24, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. JL

    WO ye of little faith. PROOF people-of-color ROCK!

    December 24, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. Biob Semler

    Obama does seem to be making a lot of good appointments to his cabinet. But, lets not lose sight of the fact that he is still hiding something via his birth certificate. This is not just a minor issue. It could actually cost his the Presidency. Hopefully the Supreme Court will force the issue and he will come clean.

    December 24, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. Ray

    "OBAMA MANIA" still in the air. Regardless what Obama do, most Americans with the Obama fever will see nothing wrong. Obama is still enjoys the blindness and deafness of his followers. The question now is ...for how long or will it ever fade?

    December 24, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. Jenny

    I feel that President-Elect Obama is doing a great job selecting competent people for his cabinet positions. I approve of the way
    Mr. Obama is handling his presidential transition.

    December 24, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Adam

    Bah Humbug!!! The Brainwashing of this once great country continues as a fraud named Barack Hussein Obama will be president on 1/20. Congrats America you got played by the Chicago machine

    December 24, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. p alfonso

    I have to admit that 82% approval for having done nothing is excellent.
    All thanks to the news media specially CNN. Let's give him a couple of months until the honeymoon is over and reality settles in.
    Right now Bush is the White House dog to kick around, when Obama becomes the dog he will be kick around and his approval rating will lie next to Titanic.
    I would like to see the approval rating in July after he had the opportunity to deal with the mess that has progressively being created since the end of WWII.

    December 24, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
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