December 31st, 2008
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama leadership rates high as Bush's after 9/11

A new poll shows that President-elect Barack Obama is viewed as a strong, confident leader.
A new poll shows that President-elect Barack Obama is viewed as a strong, confident leader.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A national poll suggests that three-quarters of the public thinks President-elect Barack Obama is a strong and decisive leader, the highest marks for a president-elect on that characteristic in nearly three decades.

Seventy-six percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday said Obama is a strong and decisive leader.

"That's the best number an incoming president has gotten on that dimension since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The public's rating of his leadership skills is already as high as George W. Bush's was after 9/11 and easily beats the numbers that both Bush and Bill Clinton got at the start of their first terms in office."

Watch: See how President Bush fared in the latest CNN/ORC poll

Just six in 10 felt that Bush was a strong leader when he took office in 2001. After the attacks of September 11, that number rose to three in four. Sixty-seven percent thought Bill Clinton was a strong leader when he took office in January 1993.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN poll
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. MikeH

    Becky, of the midwest, you are right, he has not yet done anything except select a very competent staff for his cabinet. But, by this action, and others leading up to his swearing in, like avoided taking cheap shots at moron Bush has, I believe, kept his approval ratings high, even in the face of the Blago disaster. But I suspect you are a bitter gun-hugging bible-thumper who is hasn't accepted that the Republicans and their moneybag enablers who drove America right into the ground, lost the election. Anything Obama does will be harshly criticized by you because you won't accept. We can't help you, so go live your miserable bitter life and cry in your vodka.

    Crackhorn, you are aptly named. I think your tin foil hat is out of alignment, and is focusing too much negative waves into your mind.

    Now, I hope people realize it's going to take over a year to stop the economic hemoraging, and there are going to be some hard economic choices to be made, to re-build the manufacturing economy. It's like WWII, so buck up America and lets all work on this together.

    December 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. redneck

    He ain't really led anything yet so how can CNN judge?

    December 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. JOHN WHITE

    DUH CNN YOUR ON THE LATE SHOW OBAMA WILL BE THE BEST PRESIDENT SINCE ABRAHAM LINCOLN mark my words!

    December 31, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. gregg45

    wow,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, wow,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, wow,,,,,,,,,,,,,, if i dont die b4 i faint,,,,,,,,,, it was my goal when i was born,,, to see this happen,,, i mean,, i cant say it,,, its , more than , space travel,, the industrial revolution,, omg,,, the american revolution,, this man,, oh no,, did i say man,, i am so sorry,,,,, forgive me,, this deity, the chosen,, and i was a democrat... i hope you all get what you deserve,,,,,,,,,,,,, no to the obama god

    December 31, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. MK, Miramar, FL

    We are in such a bad shape today that Obama is our only hope. The unemployment is high, consumer confidence is low, national debt is ever increasing and future of Social Security and other government programs is in jeopardy. Not to mention the war in Iraq as the state of economy has taken the spotlight.

    In these difficult times, Obama is our only hope and we hope that he will turn things around magically and rather quickly. But make no mistake. This guy has no magic wand or a secret mantra to fix the economy. It's going to take time and if people do not see the results they are expecting from Obama, his ratings will dive.

    December 31, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Salt & Pepper

    I am S-O-O-O-O happy for the NEW America. It's about time we voted someone into the WH who understands what the average American is dealing with/going through, I just want to P my pants! So much for the "you're either with us or against us" crap. I'm glad the end is near for the "It's all about me" administration!

    December 31, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Ken

    To those who voted for the current disaster-in-charge TWICE: we told you so, TWICE! There is really nothing we know now that we already didn't know about this failure-on-legs back in 2000 - when, by the way, all you 'smart' [R]s chose him over McCain to be your candidate....when you chose to be rightwing instead of conservative. The guy was a disaster-waiting-to-happen in 2000, and the disasters came on, one after the other, right through 2008.

    Now, failures like Bush and his cronies are always going to be in the political forum. In a democracy, it is up to the people to ferret out these failed people and policies and keep them from power. In this case (2000,2004), the American people failed horribly. Whatever we may think of Bush, it ultimately comes down to the moronic choices made by the American public in 2000, and 2004....a stunning sign of low intelligence that leaves me and many others in fear for the longterm political health of this country. And that nearly 60,000,000 American lunkheads voted [R] this past election to continue the unquestionable abject failure of the past 8 years is beyond comprehension to sentient beings. There must be a genetic disorder involved, to be able to ignore so many of the facts, to unquestioningly accept party dogma, to flee reality and be so delusional as to actually choose to destroy your country in this way. There are way too many totally brainwashed neo-tards out there clamoring for the return to power of the rightwing underbelly of this nation. The situation is equivalent to the late 1920s/early 1930's in Germany.... after 8 years of sinking into that kind of national abyss, we Americans just took a giant step away from the abyss this past Nov., I just hope we can keep on the right track.

    December 31, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Barack Obama

    Just think how high it would be if they actually knew me.

    December 31, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. JoeBrown

    After the past 8 years, people are desperate for a change of directions. I hope President Obama has the resolve to lead the way.

    December 31, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Al, California

    That reminds me first that Bush is still not in prison, and second is that January 20 is soon and with Obama we have good chance to save the country after 8 years of destruction.

    December 31, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. John G

    Can we please wait until he actually does something before we conduct these polls?

    December 31, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. carol

    Most of us thought that from day one, he has a long hard road to travel with the mess this country is in, but I have great faith in our new President and he will turn this country around.
    Those who did not vote for him will be glad that he was the one that got elected once they see what a great President he will be for all the people of this country and not just the favoured few!!

    December 31, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Cristine C.

    Hi People – Hey, let's all try to remember that Barack's future successes are good for ALL of America. So whether you like him or not, let's all root for him since it's best for our country as a whole! Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Nino

    Why were Bush's so high after 911. If you look at history, he fooled us all!

    December 31, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Larry from Boston

    HIgh marks for what? He hasn't done anything yet except appoint a bunch of long time Washington beauracrats. Let's all take a deep breath and revist the question in six months.

    December 31, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Terry

    Obama was not my first or even fourth choice among the Democratic primary candidates. I saw him as tied with Chris Dodd after Richardson, Clinton, Biden, and Edwards. However, I have been pleasantly surprised at his performance so far. I have hopes for a great presidency.

    As a native Texan who had suffered through two Bush gubernatorial terms (and having voted against him twice), I knew his presidency would be a disaster. I misunderestimated him. He was worse than I thought.

    Every American should hope for a successful presidency. Whether you voted for him or not, you owe it to the country to give him a chance. It is not the duty of the opposition party to undermine citizen confidence in their new president, nor is it their duty to try to make him fail. Hard core Republicans are doing just that, to the detriment of the nation.

    December 31, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Dee

    The good news: this is a great indicator of the strong hope that is ever-present in the American spirit.
    The bad news: hope is not a method. No amount of "thinking" Obama is a strong and decisive leader actually makes him one. He ran a great campaign, for sure; I think history shows that "runs a great campaign" does not equal "makes a great president."

    I do "hope" Obama becomes an effective president; but don't count me among those who already are convinced it's a done deal.

    December 31, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. god bless america

    it would appear as if Obama has become the new Reagan replacing the former Bush the 2 term Carter.

    one thing is for sure, obama has more pressure on him being the first black president to make sure that history doesn't jot down him as not only being the first black president but also a mediocre president.

    December 31, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. ea_iii

    to Becky, Midwest... this was a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey. to you and the other 24%, remember, ReadingIsFundamental....

    December 31, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Stanley in NJ

    At this point, it's just wishful thinking.

    December 31, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Mikey

    Hey Bush-Begone:

    Stop drinking the cool-aid. The man hasn't done a frieking thing yet. He hasn't done anything in the Senate – the dude hasn't even led a boyscout troop. I don't see any leadership...we'll see what happens.

    December 31, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Proud Military Wife

    According to the article: "The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey was conducted December 19-21, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
    and
    The December 26 poll was conducted December 19-21, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. "

    It seems that the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation cannot determine which standard deviation to use for their statistical data. If this is suspect, one wonders if this poll is valid and reliable?

    December 31, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Denise

    It is nice his raings are so high, but bare in mind, he is PE. So far, Obama has not had to forge policies. Lets wait til he is in office. I do think that the GOP don't know who they are messing with.

    December 31, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Get Real

    HE HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING YET????? THIS POLL IS MORONIC!!!!! I am waiting before I rate him. I can't wait to see all these peoples reactions if he does not deliver what he has promised.

    December 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. J.L.

    I'm sure Obama's leadership rating also is a testament to just how bad of a leader George Walker Bush has been for the past 8 years.

    20 more days and the failed Presidency that is Bush and his flunkies will be finally over... then we can finally be the United States of America again, not the United States of Conservative Right-Wing Religious Science-Fearing Nutjobs...

    December 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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