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. Scott NYC Independent

    It actually should have been 100% approval because to date there has not been as an effective transition team in American history.

    December 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. 27 Days to Go!!

    Let's hope that the press is wrong again (as they have mostly been about PE Obama) and this isn't a "honeymoon" but a chance to get something done in Washington to solve problems and get out of the mess we are in.

    December 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. norman reece

    as a lifelong republican and supportor of mccain i wasn't tothrilled about the outcome of the election.i was raised a republican[my grand father would tell you to leave his house if you said something good about F.D.R> and his brother was a long time rep. crongressman from e. tenn.] but what i'm seeing so far from Obama is giving me hope that things are going to get better.george w . was enough .Biden worries me, the only thing bigger thn Obamas approv. ratings so far is joes EGO. I just hope Obama dosn't let the system break him down.Start cutting corners and compromising. we have to have a strong leader to get us out of this mess we are in. Obama can do it joe biden can't.

    December 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Lauren

    Gotta love polls.

    Lets see, if we call 1000 people out of how many million. Multiply it by several mathmatic factors that could only be explained by a rocket scientist, add in demographics, type in some numbers dictating race, religon and sexual preferences.

    Minus a few numbers of people who will say anything even when they know nothing, subtract those ignorant comments, ( wait, leave those in, that seems to be a majority anymore )

    Ok, lets toss in some factors including weather, how much the people taking the poll are getting paid, and by whom.

    Ok, we have a poll,,,, that we can make say ANYTHING we want it to say.

    Of course any poll concenring Obama will be favorable,,, after all, he is the next coming.

    I hope this country does well under Obama, this coming from soneone who did not vote for him,,,,,,,but please, can we at least give the man two years or three before we call him a god????????????

    December 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Joe Fox

    It's good to see that most people approve of the wheels that are being put on the train to responsible and intelligent government. I only hope that bitter and backward thinking Republicans can get over their bitternes and contribute in a positve way and not try to derail the train in an attempt to regain the White House and revert back to their old ways of thinking.
    Joe form Georgia

    December 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. NY republican

    to the PE – Enjoy your vacation, you will be starting the toughest job in the world in a few weeks. Your supporters have built an almost impossible dream and placed it on your doorstep to fill. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor and you have my complete support (for what that's worth). But remember recause of the historic nature of this job "the whole world is watching" as they said so profoundly in Chicago in 1968.

    December 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. gt

    As long as he stays in the 40 -60 - not left or right he will do great ,all americans want him to do well

    December 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. 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 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Dayahka

    Well, we still do not know what Obama will be like as a leader and executive, but he is one great organizer. He's thoughtful, deliberate, and calm, quite major differences from the last two presidents.

    December 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Franky

    Ohhh yeah, we're definitely gonna become a dynasty, LOL!!

    December 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Jack in Florida

    Obama will turn out to be one of the BEST presidents in our history. He is open minded, inclusive, thoughtful and respectful. Traits the Bush Administration have no clue what they mean.

    Go Barack...................you have our support and we need your guidance! Help us out of this mess!

    December 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Wanderer

    Those who still hate Obama, still think he is not experienced to lead the nation, or still think he is dangerous, please give him sometimes to do his job before jumping to the conclusion. So far, he has shown he is the man for ‘change’. Any new path is better than the same path on which we have been for 8 years. A new path is ‘hope’.

    December 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Don't tread on me

    Please be advised: all participants in the economic recovery will be required to speak "HAH-vard"

    December 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. SAM OBI

    We have not seen nothing yet. I am highly impressed with Obama's
    cabinet members selection. This shows that we elect a highly intelligent and educated man to run the affairs of this great country the
    prople will rejoice and the whole will be the better for it. Remember that President George Bush stole the election in 2000. We are still
    paying the price of re-electing him in 2004. A C-Average student who
    is ruling this greatest country on earth!

    I am a Real Estate Broker, whose last commission check was on 17th
    August, 2007. I am very hopeful that President Obama will turn the economy around within 2 years or sooner. Obama is God sent. I would like to thank the people of Iowa and New Hampshire, who made the initial choice that catapulted him to the White House.

    May God bless all those who volunteered their time for the campaign
    and all those who contributed the whopping $700 million dollars to see that the best man finally won the American Presidency. God bless America. The best days of America are ahead.

    December 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. mec

    He seems to be trying for some continuity on the international front. America has become an untrustworthy partner due to the potential regime changes every election cycle. He seems to want to maintain an American presence and credibility in World affairs. The domestic appointments are another matter. The influx of hard left apparatchiks will probably accelerate the growing internal instability on the cultural front as well as the general colapse of the economy..
    In the long run, there's not much he can do about the economic colapse or the superiorty of Russia and China in military and economic spheres.

    December 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. Ray Fisher

    Unfortunately, there is still 1 out of 5 who either are still drinking the Bush Baby juice or are adamantly opposed to having a black President and to those folks we must say, get over the Georgie Bullstuff and see the light that he is a traitor who ruined America and find a KKK or League of the South meeting and talk about how supreme we White Folks are by allowing our nation to be ruined by greed, malice, and an out-of-control adminstration!!! We must realize once and for all that our government belongs to us and that racism has no place in an intelligent society.

    December 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Frank

    Gee CNN must not be able to find anything negative to write about Obama today. I'm quite sure the neonuts will be here to weigh in about how Obama will open the doors to the terrorists, radical Muslims, etc. I love the fact that the knuckle- draggers have been so totally wrong.

    December 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. flyer

    No one asked me about it.

    December 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. obama-mama

    Obama disapproval to rise....... December 24th, 2008 10:56 am ET

    right along with the unemployment and foreclosure rates. It's one term and out for the false Messiah.

    _______________________________________________
    He is now your Messiah too...Rejoice....

    December 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. samuel

    America our time for change has come. I hope President elect Obama will continue to humble himself and work deligently for the people who elected him...THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. God bless America.

    December 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Leena

    82% is great but with a number that high it can only go down and then the old Repub. racists will come out of the woodwork in a sad way. Opps they already are on this board....lol.

    Happy Holidays all. I'm getting my present on the 20th. ;-)

    December 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. white female

    Good Luck, Mr. President Obama,
    Happy Holidays, and I know that you and your team will make us very proud of you and this country again.
    (I am glad you got closer with your Granny this week, relax enjoy your vacation with your families.)
    Don't even think about the naysayers, the haters, and the racist people that still don't want to change, we know you will help and protect all mankind.
    Be Bless you Son we're all praying for you and our new faith in this country to prosper and come back with great respect from others
    Obam/Biden 2009-2016

    December 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. MikeH

    Someone take OLD TIMER's hearing aid away from him.

    December 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Lisa Lee

    Obama has shown us so far – he's very serious about making some great fundamental changes – which are so needed. I believe in him and his administration. I'm glad that I voted for him. He will be one of the Presidents' in which will make history. I would love to see him running this country for second term!

    December 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Geeque - Chicago,IL

    Mr. President Elect, majority of Americans are approving the way you are handling your transition team and cabinet picks. I can't wait for the January 20th, 2009 when you take office.

    CONGRATULATIONS or as we say in SWAHILI, HONGERA SANA.

    December 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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