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. abdul S

    Thanks God, America has finally found a president that they can trust to move the country forward to fix the financial mess and improve the economy to creat jobs. The President -elect has handled both his campaign and Presidential Transition well. Now, Mr Obama must meet or exceed the expectation of the American people who are struggling on a daily basis .

    December 24, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. RealityKing

    No one is surprised becuase this is whats to be expected from progressive media coverage. Great job CNN!!

    December 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Robin

    I do believe that both the Bush administration and the Obama administration have handled themselves well in the transition phase.

    I did not vote for Obama, I only hope he really turns out to be the savior everyone is painting him to be.

    December 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. mike

    Lets just hope he understands that this means he has political capitol to pursue a progressive agenda, and that he doesn't have to sell out to special interests in Washington.

    December 24, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. SA in OO

    I really don't have a clue how "O" will do as a president, after all he first has to clean up the mess that "W" left. But he's making a hell of a great national HR director.

    And this is the part of the job that "W" never understood. In the appointments the last administration made, loyalty was the most important qualification. Things like intelligence, prior experience and the diversity of perspectives that advisors bring aren't really that important when you are running a theocracy. The questions may vary but the answers are always the same – yes sir.

    December 24, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Ry

    Seriously, how is this news?

    Did Palin not step in front of a microphone or camera today?

    December 24, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Ian

    It's just a matter of time. The numbers will drop.

    December 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. Iceman

    Hey, nobody asked me....I think he's an idiot as do 53 million other people. Wake up and stop drinking the kool aid!

    December 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Scott

    Sounds to me that CNN is having a Chris Matthew moment, they must be having that funny tingling feeling running up their legs too.

    December 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Dave, Illinois

    I hate to be a party pooper but, with the press fawning all over him, how could his numbers not be this high? If the press would do it's job and ask some non-softball questions, his poll numbers would be more in-line with other president-elects.

    December 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Independent Thinker

    Ummm, who are they asking? In case people haven't noticed, this economy is sinking fast.

    December 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. Venia

    Obama has shown a brilliance and an openess we have not seen before. He will be an excellent president. And to all the haters out there, if you didn't find fault in Bush it is impossible for you to find fault with Obama so stop trying!

    December 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Richard

    Only 4 years and 27 days until this moron is out of office! Unless the American people continue their moronic ways and elect him to another term. In that case, only 8 years and 27 days until this moron is out of office. That is until Democrats nominate and elect another moron.

    December 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Tom St Paul

    4 out of 5 huh? Pretty impressive. I'm guessing the 1 out of 5 who don't approve are those negative nabobs who constantly post here about their dislike for all things reasonable.

    December 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Marie banderas

    As my husband says often, when his company changes top officials, a "boss" doesnt have to know exactly what he is doing, BUT, he "does" need to know how to manage people, and get the best "thinking" heads around him..Sooo..I have full confidence in Obama, that he sure knows how to get people who DO know what they are doing, and he DOES know how to organize and manage people..that gives me a lot of hope that we have finally elected the right person to "clean up " the mess from the last 8 years, and just maybe restore our standing with the rest of the world...and if any of you nagging, complaining, haters out there think you can do a better job, why, why dont YOU apply for jobs in the Obama cabinet, better yet, why didnt YOU run for president yourself ????? Its time to unite, work together..restore and remake our United States into something workable that we can all be proud of again...
    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BEST WISHES ( FINALEY) FOR A HAPPY, NEW YEAR !!!!!!!

    December 24, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. beevee

    I hope that the public realizes that Obama cannot fulfill all his campaign promises all at once on January 20. We have to give him time to tackle one after another setting up priorities and public should be prident not to jump into media bandwagon of critcism. I also hope that the GOP and some in his own party not try to subvert his plans.

    December 24, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. RinFL

    Well, Why would people not approve? The man said what he would do and has done so. This man wants to be a real leader and God knows we need one.

    December 24, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    Anyone who doesn't approve of the P.E.'s transition is either delusional or supports Bush (i.e., neo-con theocrats). Oops, I think delusional and Bush supporter may be one and the same!

    Good job Obama and Biden! Keep us moving forward to hope and prosperity and world-wide respect.

    December 24, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Jackie

    Obama pays respects to dead grandmother? His racist grandmother who raised him and he threw under the bus for political gain? The racist comments she would make used to make him cringe. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

    December 24, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Matt

    HAHAHAHAHA!!! Suck on that instead of a candy cane GOP whinerbots!!!!

    Merry retarded American Chrismukkaramakwanzadingdong everyone.

    December 24, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. APRIL CHOYCE

    BARACK IS DOING A GREAT JOB WITH THE TRANSITION!!...HE IS BEING VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC...THE PUBLIC REALIZES THERE IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT BUT WANT TO SEE THAT SOMEONE IS CONCERNED AND DISCUSSING A GAMEPLAN. GREAT JOB!

    December 24, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Joyce Becker

    I know I will break down and cry when President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath on Lincoln's bible on Jan. 20, it will be a glorious day for the whole country after the terrible eight years we all just went through. That day can't come soon enough for all of us.

    December 24, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. AB

    and just where are the other 1 in 5? Why there here posting whiney comments thats where. Obama this Obama that boo hoo hoo

    December 24, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Ramesh from Canada

    Am I surprised? Nope. I think he will go down in American history as one of the best President ever.

    December 24, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Fred

    Whether the decisions are good or bad, whether the people in the positions are effective or not, it doesn't take a genius to realize that Obama is a very smart man in the way he's choosing his appointees. He's finding intelligent people who can do the job, not putting his buddies in the positions like Bush did. Obama is not populating his cabinet with "yes" people the way Bush did.

    Obama is trying to form a working, cohesive group to put this country back on the track that Bush shoved us off of.

    Wow. A working government not populated with patsies and yes men. Talk about having something different after 8 years!

    December 24, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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