December 31st, 2008
04:00 PM ET
9 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.

Full story

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

    What leadership? Obama is not yet the president, no longer a candidate, and is simply staffing.

    CNN and the American public have decided to stay in Never-Never land.

    I wonder how his "leadership' will be once he realized that Hezzebulah, Hamas, Iran, N. Korea, Venezuela, China and Russia never bought into his campaign and will test him like they did JFK.

    December 31, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. Greg, NH

    Why should you rate this guy now? He has done nothing so far. Sorry.

    December 31, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Susan

    Where is our current President?

    December 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Irritated in Fl

    The man couldn't lead a pack of rats to a block of cheese. Shortly, all those misguided fools who were tricked into blindly following him will see the light and it will just be too late. This country is in big trouble unless someone, somewhere...does something about it.

    December 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Marie R

    Richard Rohde are you still here because I thought you had crawled back under that rock.You speak of dignity and respect?Where were the republicans dignity during the bail out and while most of their high salary THUGS and I say THUGS becuase that seems to be a prominent word you use these days as part of your vocabulary.So just where was your dignity whlie those Thugs on Wall Street and Fannie May were stealing to stay wealthy while milions of americans were losing their homes,stocks,401 k's and jobs you ignorant fool...just how do you sleep at night only worrying about Richard Rohde

    December 31, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Proud American

    richard rohde you and Beckey are both Idiots. Sit back and watch real leadership.

    December 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. TheTruthHurts

    If we have a financial system when this is over and we are not at war, he's a success. With all the craziness going on that will be my bar for victory. Everything else is GRAVY.

    December 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. pk49

    Leadership????? He has not even been sworn in yet!!! Polls are premature.

    December 31, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. TheTruthHurts

    No, Obama is not the messiah, he's just much better than the alternative and leaps and bounds above our currrent leadership (or lack thereof).

    Haters will have plenty of ammunition as all presidents make mistakes. However, his leadership style will be a refreshing change for most Americans and certainly for almost everyone in the rest of thw world.

    Nobody's perfect as Obama has already told us. He is not a savior - he's a man. He will do his best. His most important feature - in my opinion - is he's asked for our help in ways we've never experienced. Success or failiure is in OUR hands, not his.

    December 31, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Matthew

    Bush NEVER deserved the same respect that Obama deserves.

    Bush – literally stole the election in 2000 (a COMPLETE recount in 2001 by two conservative Florida newspapers showed Gore won Florida) and 2004 (the Ohio irregularities).

    Obama – actually won the popular vote and had an electoral landslide.

    Bush – promised bi-partisanship and then practiced excessively divisive actions with the complicity of the Republican controlled Congress.

    Obama – during his 6 years of EXPERIENCE in the Illinois State Legislature actually practiced bi-partisan politics and went against the Democratic leadership more than once.

    Bush – lied about . . . well . . . everything! His military service, err, non-service, uhh, partial service? The need to go into Iraq because of their participation in 9/11. Iraqi al Queda support, WMDs in Iraq, won't lessen mercury pollution when he gets in office, etc., etc., etc. . . . (I could go on but you get the idea)

    Obama – hasn't lied to us yet (misquoting or misrepresenting what he said and then saying he lied does NOT count)

    Oh yeah, you shrubbies really know how to chose the people to respect. Disrespect for Obama for things you think he might do or did not do but think he did despite the facts is real mature and deserved. Bush actually DID and DOES deserve disrespect. I have NO respect for Bush for things he actually did but still respect the Office of President of the United States of America, not the current idiot who is there by thievery.

    December 31, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Yes, he has displayed many qualities which go to make one a good, even great leader. However I am disturbed that so many are surprised that the"honeymoon" is holding up so long. Let us have the "marriage" before the "honeymoon". We cannot allow those right wingers to accuse us of supporting the consummation before the knot is tied.

    December 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. MK

    I never approved of Bush, even after 9/11, at least after 9/11 I tried to respect the office more but the "man" I still have no respect for.

    December 31, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Linda32

    It's so funny to read some of the comment that are upset that President-elect has such high rating. What they need to realize is that these polls were conducted for previous Presidents including Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Bush. Get over it, we are pleased with the way the President -elect is handling business.

    December 31, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. Marie R

    No Hillary =No Obama ,Welcome To Th Obama Show and Richrard Rohde ....All three of you equal nothing but sore losers .Since it's New Years Eve at the stroke of midnight I'll have a toast to you and all the Obama haters and thank God that we only have 19 more days left and will continue not to care what you think..Good night and good riddance

    December 31, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. $trugglespokesman


    whoever you have been speaking with obviously has a biased opinion based on prejudgement and stereotypical thoughts. Obama should be supported being that he is the president-elect. His accomplishment of becoming the president alone will go down in history. In a time of RECESSION being able to raise MULTI-MILLIONS, and create a big enough following to win by LANDSLIDE!! the man obviously is blessed with intelligence enough to lead a nation, some people are naturally made for there occupations of choice they don't NEED experience. Obama has accelerated learning abilities....ALL THIS EXPERIENCE EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT....THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN GOING DOWNHILL UNDER THESE SO CALLED "EXPERIENCED LEADERS" since you don't know anybody who likes or respects obama, who would you put into office? Did you vote for the experienced idiot Mcain?, who played a big part in leading our country in a financial DITCH...some people should think before they talk most people on these bloqs probably voted for bush twice and now they justify how dumb they was by being more dumb and hating OBAMA. THINK BEFORE YOU TALK, WRITE, MOVE, OR ANYTHING...DUMMIES

    December 31, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Meka





    December 31, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    Becky, I tend to agree with you. Though I am an Obama supporter, and would be no matter, as he will be my President, he hasn't been able to lead yet. However, if he runs his administration the way of his his campaign and the transition, I think he just may be able to get us out of this mess.

    The rest is up to us. We need to replace every spineless DC politician afraid to do the right thing for fear of losing their next election. How about it my fellow Americans. Can we handle it?

    December 31, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. floridajack

    for all of the whiner obama-haters out there –

    first, pe obama has shown more leadership qualities than pres bush has. (as the article noted, bush squandered his preception of being a leader.)

    second, some times, you don't have to be in a leadership position to show "leadership." pe obama has ignited hope and has provided the vision of a new direction for our country.

    third, we are a long eay from a "third world country." pe obama will restore us to our place of honor in the world.

    finally, you haters just can't get past the fact that "one of them" has been elected president. GET OVER IT (or leave – delta is ready when you are.)

    December 31, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. TrueIndependent

    Amazing how the Republicans on this blog attack Obama on what he has not 'done', but keep quiet on all the devastation that Bush has 'done'.

    These are the same people who voted Bush in for a train-wreck-second- term.

    You have no credibility!

    December 31, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Andy

    Obama Will be the POTUS. His success or failure will hurt or help everyone of us.

    December 31, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Godluvr

    PE Obama has already proven himself to be a superb leader by his successful work as a community organizer, a stalwart candidate for president, and his ability to exercise sound judgment. He will only get better as his administration evolves. Hate if you will, the man has got the big G on his side. He can not and will not fail! Power to the President!
    To Lauren the designer in VA

    Exactly what do you design? I'll wager it's port-a-potties. Keep your rudeness to yourself. Anyone who voted for President-Elect Obama is smart, savvy, and possesses the capacity to separate ideology from qualifications. The fact that you let Obamacrats in your home says more about you than them. They just needed a convenient place to stay. When they leave, you'll be forgotten. You, ontheotherhand, have to continue to wallow in your anger for eight whole years. WOW! I feel for you. Go Dems!

    December 31, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Carl Justus

    lets us hope that we do not expect too much from Obama and be disappointed when he cannot walk on water.

    He has been dealt the worst hand that any incoming president has been dealt since FDR.

    It took FDR more time than we will give Obama to get the country moving so do not expect miracles. Expect some rocky bumps in the road and we all should do our share to help the economy to right itself.

    December 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. Johnny the Boy

    When is SNL gonna do their version of "Obama the Magic Negro"?

    December 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  24. Gary

    I agree. What are these leadership qualities these poll speak of?

    Seems like more biased figures to me.

    December 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. Ernie in LA

    If Obama is so intellegent and great why, by his age, has he not been more than a community organizer and a new Senator? For someone who knows so many powerful people he surely has not done much. You would think he would have wanted to do more than vote "present".

    December 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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