January 18th, 2009
01:27 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama more popular than ever, despite speed bumps

a New poll suggests Americans overwhelmingly approve of Obama's transition performance.
a New poll suggests Americans overwhelmingly approve of Obama's transition performance.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that Barack Obama is more popular than ever, regardless of recent speed bumps on the road to transition.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning also indicates that most Americans see Obama's inauguration as a chance for the nation to come together.

Eighty-four percent of those questioned in the survey say they approve of how Barack Obama is handling his presidential transition. That is up two points from the middle of December and up five points from the beginning of December.

The rise in approval also comes after a series of missteps in the Obama transition the past few weeks - situations that have included New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announcing that he was withdrawing his nomination as commerce secretary, calling a federal grand jury investigation in his home state a distraction; the disclosure of Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's failure to pay $34,000 in taxes, and some initial pushback by Republicans and even some Democrats to the naming of Leon Panetta as CIA director.

"If the public is blaming Obama for those missteps, it isn't registering in his approval rating," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"You know the country is in the middle of a honeymoon when six in 10 Republicans have a positive view of Obama."

The poll also indicates that six in 10 Americans think Obama's inauguration will be a celebration in democracy. Four in 10 Americans felt that way when George W. Bush was inaugurated eight years ago.

Thirty-nine percent of those questioned said they feel that Obama's inauguration is a celebration by supporters of the winning candidate, 33 percent lower than the percentage who felt the same way about Bush's 2001 inauguration.

"Unlike the ceremonies of the Bush years, this inauguration is being seen as a chance for the country to come together rather than [as] a political celebration. The public saw both of Bush's inaugurations as celebrations just for his supporters," said Holland.

The poll also suggests that 68 percent of those questioned say they are personally thrilled or happy that Obama will soon be inaugurated as president, 18 points higher than the way people felt in the days before President Bush's second inauguration four years ago.

Expectations for Obama's speech on Tuesday appear to be quite high, with 85 percent saying they expect his speech will be excellent or good. That's 24 points higher than the 61 percent who felt the same way about Bush's first inauguration speech in 2001.

Nine of out 10 African-Americans questioned in the poll say that Obama's election is a dream come true. Also, nine out of 10 African-Americans questioned say they are thrilled or happy by Obama's impending inauguration. Only a quarter of white respondents say they are thrilled.

Virtually every African-American in the survey says that it is likely they will watch Tuesday's ceremonies on TV.

Fifty-seven percent of whites say they are likely to do the same. Virtually every African-American interviewed approves of how Obama has handled the transition so far.

"But there is a note of caution that tempers blacks' enthusiasm about an Obama presidency. Most of them say that the American public will hold Obama to a higher standard than past presidents because he is black," Holland said. "Most whites say that Obama's race will not matter in how he will be judged as president."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 12-15, with 1,245 adult Americans, including 798 white and 332 African-Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall responses and plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for the questions broken down by race.


Filed under: President-elect Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Boy there are some ignorant people in this great country. The man has done nothing... hasn't even taken office. Let's give him a couple of years before we make him a saint.

    January 18, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. dentri

    Of course because your liberal media go after republicans even in toilet and ignore this minded comunism Obama ,who wants let our kids in debt forever.When you media will keep republicans and Democrats in the smae Standard.PErfect example.Karoline kennedy,Sarah PAlin! But i agree with some in your comentary .OBama will make Bush shine in few years.Pelosi and Reid will destroy this country.CNN never mentioned about all Democrats vote for iraq war and let htose to borow against their power to pay back for their homes.Put people in homes can't afford.IF sarah palin was Stupid enough to say she see Russia from her BAckyard under these Democrats liberal will See Russia in our life stile.Goverment control,Viva Canada,Viva France ,Can't believe how stupid we are to let this govermnet to spend Billions of our money for their social purpouse. Remember those words US will shien again only if we don't let those Democrats to sepnd our wealth.Obama will be a good president but need BAlance .

    January 18, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. IMO - Michigan

    Anybody wishing him failure does not love this country. Wanting a president to fail simply because he wasn't your candidate shows that you would rather be able to say, I was right than have our country change and improve.

    January 18, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Marion

    To "Curious dude" and "Change-Yeah Left!", do you even know how polling works? Hint: It isn't like the "polls" you see where you get to call in or vote online. In a real poll, a random sample of people are asked the polling questions. With a sufficiently large random sample, you can get results that are very close to what you would get if you asked the entire population the questions. The difference between the poll results and the answers the population as a whole would have given is the sampling error. The larger the sample size, the smaller the sampling error. So, "Curious dude", it doesn't much matter whether you personally were polled, since, if the polling was done properly, the results wouldn't have changed. And, as for "Change-Yeah Left!'s" statement, please tell me where the sample was broken down by political affiliation. I'm reading the article, and I just don't see it. But maybe you have a link to the raw polling data. If so, please post it.

    January 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. reggie

    This will all change once he actually has to lead the nation. Talk is cheap, folks.

    January 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. mrsb

    After 8 long, tragic years, our country will have a competent leader. May we learn from our mistakes and may the religious "right" take note – but I do believe many of them already have and helped elect Obama. Where would we be if Tennessee had supported Gore 8 years ago?

    January 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Ron in NC

    Hilter's popularity went up after his election too - it even continued to rise until the last year of WWII, I was a teenager in Germany during the WWII. Every time I see the way people act towards Obama, I remember those times. I'm waiting until he starts an "Obama youth", just like the HJ (Hitlerjugend – Hilter Youth) that I was forced to join. American will soon have the problems we had back in the 1940s.

    January 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. What manner of man is this?

    This is the most amazing time in my life. I have lived such a great life, yet nothing compares to this moment. I am Missionary in West Africa and I know the excitement is global. This is the forst time in my life that I actually feel that my vote counted and my views matter. I am so proud that this son of Africa is now my President. What a week! I have taken off my job to witness this great momoent in History. I know that God will protect him, give him the wisdom he needs and asks for, and continue to lead and guide him as he leads us to world prominence once again. God bless America, God bless President Obama.

    January 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Got HBO? Then no Obama for you Sunday

    The poll ratings for HBO should go up after today. Why? Because HBO is telecasting the national pre innaugural celebration at the Lincoln Monument tonight when entertainers such as Beyonce, Bono, James Talylor, Stevie Wonder, U2, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, and others will give a free concert, and will have Tiger Woods and Obama address the card. BUT more than 50% of the country, including the BULK of Obama supporters, will NOT be able to see it becasuse only HBO is carrying the "closed" event after paying Obama a big fee. So much for change and so much for having a transparent administration..amd so much for sharing this event with America. This is a pay for view celebration - the problem is that the event takes places on federal property and it is actually unlawful to close the event off to the national TV stattions -- OOPS !

    January 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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