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. In Houston, TX

    He hasn't done anything yet...Do I need to go back to the POLL OF POLLS thing again? Ya know, the postings that need to be read out loud in a pompous british accent in order to highlight the point that YOUR POLLS MEAN NOTHING!!!
    We have hope, But we must remain rooted in reality, our statements must be based in fact. Keep our minds in the moment while preparing for the future. And always remember, we are in this together.
    I have said this in the beginning when Hillary was fighting Obama, There is only one thing that I am concerned about, and that's the future. And believe me, the only way that we are going to get there, is together.
    Can we overcome those issues that divide us and concentrate on the things we all need and the issues that bring us together? Can we change the world?
    (The response, that will now, and forever more sum up the spirit of the American people)
    YES WE CAN!

    December 31, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Ken

    Exactly who did CNN poll for this information? Anyone who lives in Illinois? A politically corrupt state I might add. And exactly what did Obama "lead" to make him a decisive leader. Nothing that I am aware of! The results of your poll is very misleading.

    December 31, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Jeff

    The expectations are being so highly set, it is near impossible for him to reach.

    Thanks national media, you are setting him up to fail, just as you set Bush up to be everyone's fall guy.

    I am Republican but I do respect Obama as the new President and I want him to succeed. It just seems that the media is doing thier best to make sure he fails, just so they can turn around and drill him near the end of his Presidency.

    December 31, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Former Republican

    PRESIDENT-elect OBAMA'S OWN LIFE IS A GOOD INDICATION

    OF WHO HE IS AS AN INDIVIDUAL. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF

    THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO HAD A BETTER CHANCE

    AT HIS SUCCESS THAN HE DID. LOOK AT HOW HE CONDUCTED

    HIS CAMPAIGN. HE GOT TOUGH BUT NEVER DIVISIVE OR SLEAZY.

    HE SET THE RULES FOR HIS CAMPAIGN HIMSELF, NOT HIS

    MANAGERS OR HIS ADVISERS.THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE BOSS.

    EVERYONE UNDERESTIMATED HIM TO THEIR DETRIMENT &

    ANYONE THAT UNDERESTIMATES HIM AS OUR LEADER WILL

    DO SO AT THEIR OWN DETRIMENT.

    December 31, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. a southern bell

    IF ANYONE UNDERESTIMATES OUR NEW PRESIDENT

    WILL DO SO AT THEIR EXPENSE. MAN IS OUT TO WIN.

    MAN IS OUT TO HAVE HIS DAUGHTERS WIN. MAN IS OUT

    TO HAVE HIS NATION WIN. ALL OF US WITH HIS LEADERSHIP

    OUR HARD WORK & GOD'S HELP WILL DO JUST THAT, WIN.

    December 31, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Axl , Boulder, CO

    These polls were taken scientifically when Reagan, Clinton and Bush took office. George HW Bush was a sitting VP and ex-CIA director so he was a more proven quantity coming into office. There is nothing wrong with taking a similar poll of Obama and comparing the results.

    December 31, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. welches, oregon

    Well, here's one thing we all have to admit. If there is something that can get us out of the mess we're in, it's Obama's team. Yes We Can! I challenge anyone to name a better choice.

    December 31, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    Let's hope that the new president will be all that we want him to be. I wasn't all that happy with Reagan, but I think that President Obama will be up to the challange that 8 years of Bush (2001-2009) and 10 years of a Republican led Congress (1997-2007) left him.
    However, we have to give President Obama all the support we can, which means writing our representatives and senators to let them know what we think. It also means being good citizens and living as if our country depends on us...because it does.
    For all the people who are proclaiming doom and gloom before President Obama even takes office...think how some of us must feel after having lived the last 8 years with Bush in the White House. We got through it, but our country has suffered greatly. Now you can follow the same advice that you freely gave us all those years.

    December 31, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Puss for Brains

    Ugh! Now that the media has made him a golden child, they can start the tearing down and smears that will generate flurry and profits.
    and the race card always is good for ratings. what fun it will be.
    and change? He has re-cylced all of the old clinton folks.
    Also, what deal did he strike with hilary "give me back my money I invested in my campaign" clinton.?
    The dems are souless hypocrites. I am glad I voted for nader – at least I wont go to hell.

    December 31, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  10. maurice

    BUSH BEGONE AND NOW 75% OF AMERICANS AGREE, FINALLY! December 31st, 2008 4:23 pm ET

    "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."

    Some of us "Obamabots" saw it before others, but welcome aboard and the other 25% will never come around no matter what he does.

    And yet folks still wonder why 2-4 million people want to attend the inauguration............................................................i`ll get back to you in 2 years. right now all obama has done is get his cabinet together. i just hope he does a better job as the prez than he did as a senator.....as most presidents elected that are senators have high ratings, but do a poor job as a president

    December 31, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Gordon Shumway

    That 's a pretty high rating for not having to have demonstrated any kind of real leadership yet. Hope he hasn't blown the entire wad.

    December 31, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Ken

    Of course his number are so high! Because he's done.....absolutely nothing!!!

    It's so funny to hear people talk about the "25% who will never come around no matter what he does", does that mean the 100% of the Obamamaniacs will always agree with everything he does, no matter if it's wrong. Apparently so.

    Gonna be a loooooooooooooooooooong 4 years. I only hope we can repair the damage he is going to do.

    December 31, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. welches, oregon

    Hey folks – it's not just Obama who will make the difference – we all have to pitch in and do our part. And possibly for the first time in our lives, trust our leadership. There's nothing to suggest Obama will not continue on the same successful, strong and intelligent path he's be on from the start.

    December 31, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Dave in Chicago

    Becky, Midwest

    Wow... relax. Being a leader during his campaign... while senator... during the various different crisis-like situations that have gone on with our economy and everything... giving us hope and strength are all qualities of a great leader. His leadership while picking his cabinet and his inclusiveness by choosing Republicans for his cabinet. His words when he says "some of you I have yet to earn your respect" and all the things he said at his acceptance speech. He wants us to unite and get together to fix the problems.. he is being a wonderful leader right now Becky. Have some faith, cmon and be happy. It's a new year and like you said.. we don't know yet.. but there is hope.. and Yes We Can! Together! :) I could worry and be scared but I have faith in America and it's leaders. Let's do this! 2009!! YAY!

    December 31, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. allisongayle

    Although I didn't vote for Obama, I do support him simply because he is our president-elect. These positive early polling numbers clearly give Obama lots of political capital to spend. His ability to spend this political capital wisely and successfully will be the true mark of his leadership, not a poll taken before he is even sworn in.

    December 31, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. 60 year old blue collar American

    THE MOST INTERESTING TRAIT THAT PRESIDENT-elect

    BARACK OBAMA HAS IS, AS JOE THE VP SAID, IA STEEL SPINE.

    NO MATTER HOW TOUGH THINGS GOT DURING THE CAMPAIGN,

    HE NEVER WAVERED. HE CONDUCTED HIS BUSINESS WITH

    THE SAME CARE. HE MEASURES TWICE & CUTS ONCE.

    HE IS THE FIRST DEMOCRAT I VOTED FOR & NO DOUBT WILL

    VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN.

    December 31, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. JK Ashburn, VA

    Great commentary on the respondents: These folks think a few vague words and intimation by Obama about a bunch of issues are equivalent to decisive action? No wonder this country is so screwed up.

    December 31, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Andrea/ CA

    @Becky, You make me sick. Happy New year anyway. Give the man a chance.

    December 31, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Griff

    It does not matter what you think now! Your stuck with him.. So you have to tell the World this Guy is A Black Contender... But it's just Garbage to me.... I know this world... I've been around this world..
    You??? I am even suprised myself how much of this World I know today... As a young Guy? I was as wise as a 11yr old... But that last 50yrs, I have never forgotten those days... Travel?
    Rift Vally in Kenya when I was nearly killed in a Car Crash... Police Car belive it or not...Since then I know this world better than most,....

    December 31, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. Alan

    Leadership?? So far the only two things that he has stood for is killing babies and marrying queers. Yeah, I'd say he's a great leader!

    December 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Rozzie

    You will never be happy no matter what. You find something negative in here questions that is ask about our NEW PRESIDENT. Accept it and move on. Sorry, that McSane and Palin didn't win get over it!!

    Barack rocks!!!!!!

    Barack and his family will be moving in the white house soon enough and I 'mpretty sure you "haters" wil have something else stupid to type.

    December 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Linda from Minnesota

    Saw this coming in 2004 when he gave the keynote address at the DNC. I said then that I hoped to live long enough to vote for him for president.

    December 31, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. The watcher

    Bull!

    December 31, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Rozzie

    You will never be happy no matter what. You seem to find something negative in every here question that is ask about our NEW PRESIDENT. Accept it and move on. Sorry, that McSane and Palin didn't win get over it!!

    Barack rocks!!!!!!

    Barack and his family will be moving in the white house soon enough and I 'mpretty sure you "haters" wil have something else stupid to type.

    December 31, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. happy new year

    obama has brought hope back to america, we don't know what lies ahead, but we have this amazing hope that things will change for the better, God bless america.

    December 31, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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