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. Jeanne from AZ

    As we all approach 2009 at this Christmas and High Holidays season, can we not all take a breath and look hopefully to a better tomorrow. You who are not Obama supporters need to reflect on where this country has been for the last eight years. We have all suffered whether we want to admit it or not from an Administration who has not put Americans and this country first..

    December 24, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Tim

    As Obama said last week, it's extremely frustrating that he can't address the Blago scandal. So frustrating in fact, that once he has the opportunity to address the scandal, he goes off to Hawaii and attends his grandmothers services and Rahm goes off to Africa for a Christmas trip. Neither has the time to address the report that was released. It is so frustrating when you can't address the scandal, isn't it?

    Change you can laugh at.

    December 24, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. BS not Maverick

    tHE HOLD OUT IS jOE THE NON TAX PAYING WANNA BE A REAL PLUMBER SOME DAY!

    December 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. Nestor, Austin, TX

    So 4 out of 5 Americans approve of Il Duce? What about the 57 million people who begrudgingly voted for John McCain?

    December 24, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. chuck

    AMERICA IS IN GOOD HANDS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA.HE WILL DELIVER HER OUT OF BONDAGE AND THE TERROR OF THE MORON GEORGE W BUSH WHO SHOULD BE TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES WITH HIS BUDDIES.MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.

    December 24, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Don

    God rest your grandmother. God rest you and your family.

    December 24, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. susie

    Glad he found time to think of his grandmother while in Hawaii.

    December 24, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Cindy

    He's been handling the job we elected him for, with seriousness and dignity. What's not to like?

    Sure, the minute he stops doing that, the polls will change, but right now... he's been doing everything right.

    For those who are against him... the skeptics... he's been too good too good to be true. There's no such thing as a good polititian; a president with intelligence and integrity. They wait for that other shoe to fall. Oh well... it's their perogative to remain skeptical. Cause no matter what, Obama said he's going to be their president, too.

    December 24, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. OBAMA GIRL

    Love this guy!

    December 24, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. obama-mama

    THE OLD TIMER December 24th, 2008 11:01 am ET

    transition teams SEND OBAMA BACK TO KENYA WHERE HE WAS BORN
    ___________________________________________________
    Will someone please change The Old Timer's depends...

    December 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Amber

    The other 1 in 5 apparently come here to complain at the top of their lungs...

    December 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Ravi in MO

    I absolutely love this guy, and I can see that I'm not alone! I think he's the best thing that has happened to our great republic in a long time.

    I just hope and pray that God keeps Barack and his family safe and out of harms way. I know I'm just being a bit paranoid, but with all the similarities between PE Obama and President Lincoln (add the inaugural Bible to the list), I just can't help but be a little on edge.

    December 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Amber

    Don't tread on me
    December 24th, 2008 11:40 am ET
    Please be advised: all participants in the economic recovery will be required to speak "HAH-vard"

    ********

    And thank the LORD for it, Don't tread on me!!
    It's about time we had people who spoke 'HAH-vard' instead of 'Deliverance'.

    December 24, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Remy

    Not only Obama created a history but also created a NEW POLITICS in American History! A Hindu friend told me that Obama is the RE-INCARNATION of Abraham Lincoln!

    December 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. democratic super majority

    obama has built up a super magority for him self as leader of the democratic party . in the senate they will have 59 seats , and in the house a majority of just over 80 seats over the gop . now it wont be hard to top bush as president , this means in two years time at the midterms i beleave the democrats will increase their numbers even more . thus a democratic super majority.

    December 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Sanity has Returned

    Even the 700 Club must be taking a hit in this economy.

    December 24, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Jesus

    He's not my messiah.

    December 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Texas Teacher

    Can't wait until Jan. 20th! :)

    Let this era of depravity end... let the era of the People's President for the People begin!

    December 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Obama disapproval to remain steady so long as

    he has the Bush Administration to blame and obstructionist republicans....all to blame for those rising foeclosure rates and unemployment

    December 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. julie

    I just think God send us the perfect guy at the perfect time, thanks Lord.

    December 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Ernie

    Most of this transition has been him "revising" his campaign promises and acknowledging that they will be "delayed".. Approving of his transition means nil. I seriously doubt that 4 of 5 americans will approve of his actions a year from now. There is no end in sight for the recession, at least until 2012.

    December 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Ryan from Canada

    Goodbye knuckle draggin' Americans, hello intelligent leadership.

    The world needs it.

    Thanks America!

    December 24, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. David Goldman

    THE OTHER 17% WILL COME AROUND.

    A HEALTHY & HAPPY HOLIDAY TO OUR

    PRESIDENT OBAMA & FAMILY & TO ALL AMERICANS.

    December 24, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. carlo

    Some of you people are so stupid on here, you should be poster children for why "No Child Left Behind" was a colossal failure. The man isn't office yet! Some of you are just going to disapprove of anything he does or says to salve your own guilty consciences, which are hopelessly racist and incurably bigoted. Some of you should call your valedictorian Sarah Palin and see if Sylvan Learning Center is taking group rates.

    December 24, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Ex-Republican since Election 2008

    Oh yeah..Good going PEBO! you got my vote of approval too..even though I was not asked!

    To PEBO:
    Kepp plodding, you and the O-Team will make it. Just stay on the path and keep your eyes on the goal. Forget the back stabbers, whiners, naysayers and all other negatives that will come your way. Oh wait..you already know what I am talking about..

    Just continue doing what you are doing. I may not agree with everything you say or do ( you are human afterall), but you have the country's best interest at heart and THAT I hope will not change..

    December 24, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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