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. Linda

    He has not done anything yet to be rated this way.–you people have lost all objectivity, if you ever had any. If you "Obamabots" know of anything that he has accomplished yet–please post it. I challenge you to this–you CAN'T. I think that when he can't do everything that he promised–a lot of you will be shocked. Your talk of what a mess he is inheriting is stupid. He BEGGED for this mess for 2 years and now he has it–let him prove what he can do for our nation, Bill Clinton has had a big hand in making the mess that we are dealing with now. George Bush made some mistakes, as all Presidents do, but at least he is a moral man.

    December 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Obama has shown more leadership before he's even President, than Bush has shown in 8 years. God bless him and his beautiful family.

    December 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Clinton Fringer

    He hasn't led anything yet............

    December 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Annna

    It is a new year eve. I am canadian, but I love your president elect.
    I would like my son go the same path like president Obama.
    I told my son work hard and some day you will be somebody.
    Like Mr. Obama said – It is not important haw many times people put you down. It is important how fast you get up. I love this smart men.
    You Americans are lackey- he is smart ,very smart.You can not buy
    the intelligence , you are born with it. Happy new year for all of you.

    December 31, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. blair

    You are joking right!! He has leadership in what? the Some of you obamabots that have had the wool pulled over your eyes will come crying to the 25% of us that see him for what he has always been. Just do not look for me to wipe your tears when he shafts you.
    If they have the inauguration Most just want to see if he puts his hand on the Bible and swears to God. and the others just want a party hardy time. Would not matter who was up there.

    December 31, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. William Wirt

    I hope he enjoys a long life and severs us all well.

    We need real leadership. Hopefulling he not sell off limited existing manufacting as the previous four adminstration have. We been completely out sourced to the poor house.

    We need to regain a strong industrial base again.

    We are becoming Barters to exists - Sad, indeed.

    December 31, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. timothy

    OK....lets not give each other hand jobs just yet. The man has accomplished nothing in office. He is, in fact, a political newbie. I hope he does well, I really do. I do hate the fact that he will not come out fighting on anything tough. He always takes the stance that there is still a sitting president......yet he makes stances on other things like the economy. he is NOT consistent.

    December 31, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Larry

    People are optimistic by nature,Obama has been "SOLD TO US" by the media,he has promised voters he will deliver whatever they have asked for,even though all we have ended up with so far is a new Clinton administration.Reality will start setting in for everybody in about 6 months,and then the Obama diehards will have to defend the fact he has NO EXPERIENCE and that will be the excuse why things aren't going well, "give him time ",they will say.We do not have that luxury,we need to CUT SPENDING IN THE GOVERNMENT NOW,Bush and the idiots in Congress have blown all our money,we are broke,our grandchildren are going to be paying the bills we have already racked up.Government is not the solution, it is the problem !!We NEED to use COMMON SINCE.

    December 31, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Change - Yeah Left!

    Says WHO? What has he done beyond get elected?

    I'd love to know how CNN manufactures these rankings.

    I sure as heck don't consider him a good leader – a great shyster – yep – a good leader – NO!!!

    December 31, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. DE

    And 70% of Obama voters think republicans control Congress. Never in the history of the U.S. have we elected such an empty suit as President. This man has accomplished zero as an elected official. The biggest question is how many joints and tokes will it take for him to make a decision?

    December 31, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    Your comment is awaiting, and awaiting, and awaiting
    Trying again**************
    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 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Patrick

    But he's not even President yet...

    December 31, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. lois

    free moey...free healthcare Old liberal trick people sucker...

    December 31, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. proudliberal-independent

    i'm sure he will be an ok president. but, if we fail it will be because he spent to much time looking for change, that aint there, in the 'center'. he should take a more progressive stand on issues ,because this may be our only chance for change. if he blows it, by trying to take the middle ground, i doubt much will change.

    December 31, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. lois

    he will fix this country just like SOUTH SIDE CHICAGO...LOL...LOL...

    December 31, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Tunstall

    I am directing my statement to Becky, Erica and John, You are RACIST
    and it is eating you up. I think you need help. I really feel sorry for you. You are the type of people racist to the core of your being. The type that would die before receiving a black man's blood if needed. May God help you. I will pray for you.

    December 31, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. Scott

    I think somebody beens eating the yellow snow. Obama doesn't know the meaning of true leadership, that's why he has the Clintons hanging around his neck.

    December 31, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    What in the world has Obama ever led to justify any conclusion that he's "a strong and decisive leader?" People are obviously voting based on hope and preconception, not facts–there are no facts.

    December 31, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Lori

    I know that Obama will be a great President. He is intelligent, wise and knows domestic and world affairs.

    With stats so high the Republicans must be fuming. People around the world celebrated when Obama won (something that has never happened before for anyother President) and that scares the Republicans. Do your job well- the world is behind you 100% and Americans will gladly vote you in again in 2012!!!

    December 31, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. Albo58

    Though I truly do hope that Obama does well for the country's sake, I strongly believe this CNN poll was conducted in a left-leaning crowd, as are all CNN polls. The FACTS (and I know how liberals hate these little road-blocks!) are that Mr. Obama has never really shown any leadership abilities other than beating an unpopular president and a nasty New York senator during an election. Furthermore, he has towed the Democrat Party line 90+% of the time in his very short career. This is the same party that has a Congressional majority with an approval rate of less than 10%! So, let's see how things go for say 6 months to a year, and then conduct your polls.

    December 31, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. Susan in NC

    Yes, we can! Yes, we did! And, Yes, we will!

    Happy, Happy New Year to All!

    December 31, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Kathy50

    I'm not surprised! It should be more like 95% approval! Better days are coming! God Bless America!

    December 31, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. aron

    hopefully he can run a country as well as a campaign but... doubtful. decisive is not the word I would use as he has already flipped on Iraq withdrawal, campaign financing, capital gains taxes, higher income taxes and offshore drilling. the Obamabots have reason to be excited because they have won total control of the country while they already have possessed a good majority during the 2nd Bush term. the Dems found out that in a country that had voted in greater numbers for American Idol than their elections, you need a pretty American idol candidate with good catch phrases like Yes, We Can. Yes We Can as Americans, not mindless robots who have made Obama an icon, not a leader.

    December 31, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Pretty easy to be popular when you haven't done squat yet. Decisive? I think not. It always takes him days or weeks to issue statements on anything, and then they are nonspecific crap.

    December 31, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. soulstar

    cnn needs to fix their blog...half of all my posts disappear when i submit them! not even the preliminary "your blog is awaiting moderation."

    back to business...first off, people need to relax. this kind of polling has been conducted for previous other president-elects!! this polling is not anything new or special – duh, obama's been compared to clinton, bush i & ii, and reagan when they were all PEs. of course the man has made decisions...his cabinet choices and his input in into current events and issues. leadership is 90% appearance and 10% substace – believe that. and believe, obama appears more of a leader in todays current chaos than bush does – even though bush is the only one who can currently do anything about it.
    god save the president (elect)!

    December 31, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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