February 13th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Trouble signs for Obama over Cabinet picks?

Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.
Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Four weeks into his administration, President Barack Obama is still searching for secretaries of Commerce and Health and Human Services.

But six out of 10 Americans think Obama is doing a good job choosing members of his Cabinet, according to a national poll. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released this week suggests that 61 percent of those questioned give the president a thumbs-up when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 38 percent saying Obama is doing a poor job selecting the top officials in his administration.

While 61 percent is a solid majority, it's far lower than the 80 percent of respondents who say Obama is providing strong leadership for the country, the 76 percent who feel he's doing a good job handling foreign policy, the 72 percent who indicate Obama's doing a good job dealing with the economy and the 68 percent who give the President a thumbs-up when it comes to handling policies on terrorism.

It's also 15 points lower than the president's overall approval rating of 76 percent.

"His approval rating on choosing his Cabinet is a good number, but it's his biggest weakness," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 7-8, before Senator Judd Gregg stepped down Thursday from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, but after former Senator Tom Daschle dropped out earlier this month as Health and Human Services nominee. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico also stepped down at the beginning of the year from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, bringing the number of formal Obama Cabinet nominees to drop out to three.

When former President George W. Bush was moving into the White House in 2001, only one of his Cabinet designates stepped down after being nominated; the same with Bill Clinton when he was taking over the presidency back in 1993.

When broken down by party, the poll suggests that 88 percent of Democratic respondents say Obama is doing a good job when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 11 percent saying he's doing a poor job. It's a different story among Republicans, with 36 percent giving Obama the thumbs-up and 64 percent feeling the President's doing a poor job when it comes to choosing the top members of his administration.

"Democrats are standing by him. Republicans aren't, even though he used some of his Cabinet picks to reach out to the GOP," adds Holland.

Gregg would have joined Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet.

The poll questioned 806 adult Americans by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (729 Responses)
  1. Milton

    Mark my words! Nothing will stick to this Teflon President; besides these current problems in choosing his cabinet, some of whom are tax-challenged, there is the Second Amendment Constitutional problem that nobody seems to know or care

    February 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Sami

    All Republicans seem to have lost their minds – frantic over losing power! And mean about it, as well.

    February 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. tina

    why dont some of you try to turn a greedy , selfish nation around in 30 days. I didnt think so!!!

    February 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. country first

    1. Judd Gregg accepted nomination before White House pulled the Census Bureau from the Commerce Dept to the direct power of the White House and Rohm Emmanuel. First they want to appease the general public to say that they have bipartisanship in the cabinet, then they take away a critical responsibility from you. Same old political trick. It was a mistake for Gregg to think that he could serve impartially without political agenda from the top (WH), from the left, and from the right. It was a mistake for Obama and his advisors to think that the disguise would work. Those who love to pile on personal attacks without any substance of knowlege about the political significance, read and learn before you speak as authority.
    2. No man is perfect. I dont want to exagerate a bad gamble on Obama's part to discredit his good intentions in other matters. But the public should not be snowed.

    February 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Bridgette

    I think that was done on purpose. I think Obama tried with the bipartisan stuff and now it is time to move on. Now he must use his power to get all the Republicans out. Because they are just there to cause disruption. They have no ideas except tax cut anything outside of that and they don't know what to do. Get over it.

    February 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Dale

    THESE OLD DECREPTED (WHITE) REPUBLICAN MEN NEED TO SET DOWN SOMEWHERE..THEY ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT THEIR GRANDKIDS FUTURE HECK THEY ARE READY TAKEN CARE OF. HOW SOON WE FORGET IT WAS THE REPUBLICANS THAT GOT US INTO A WAR THAT HAS COST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVER 1 TRILLION DOLLARS AND STILL GROWING AND FOR WHAT??? ANYONE!!!! JUST AS I THOUGHT...THEY LIKE MOST JUST HATE THE FACT THAT "THEIR"PRESIDENT IS NOW A BLACK MAN AND IT'S KILLING THEM SO THEY REVOLT...BUT HOPEFULLY THEY WILL BE VOTED OUT AFTER CAUSING ALL THIS MESS...IT'S REALLY SAD SOME THE THINGS YOU HEAR THEM SAY LIKE THEY ARE REALLY SURPRISED BUT THEY WANT TO HELP BUT ALL THEY ARE DOING IS HURTING...JOHN MCCAIN SHOULD NOT BE REELECTED THIS NEXT TERM AND GOOD CHANCE HE WONT...AS WONT OTHER REPUBS.....

    February 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. liz

    Obama tried to be bipartisan, to hear different views, the Republicans refuse to do the same. It is a shame really.

    February 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Steve

    Just goes to show you that you can't depend on Republicans to help out or solve a problem.

    February 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. dittohead with forty names

    I believe in fast talking drug abusers that are selling rightwing politics rather than used cars.Wish I could find one that sells cars too,oh thats right he does have car sponsors.

    February 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. jaye

    President O is giving the republican party a chance to try and right the wrongs of the past 8 years....but, nooooooooooo, they want no part of it.
    They are not going to help recover our country from the horrible mess they created, and they are not going to let President O make the needed changes.
    They are now officially obstructionist.
    And as far as all the naysayers of the stimulus package – how many of you have lost your jobs your homes and have no means to support your family? My guess is NONE.

    February 13, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. mj

    "It would seem the Republicans don't give a hoot about the country, all they care about is being in control"

    TO BLUES BROTHER – THIS COULD ALSO BE APPLIED TO DEMOCRAPS -WHOOPS, DEMOCRATS. THEYARE THE ONE IN CONGRESS THAT ARE BEING DEVISIVE AND CONDESCENDING.

    February 13, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Ryan-TX

    Jackie,

    If you quit spending then the economy quits growing. The economy is contracting and when spending stops, business closes, jobs are lost, even less is spent, we can't support our population. Will children be worse off with an economy that cannot support our standard of living or will they be worse off paying off the debt? Remember that we already have debt and it can't be paid off if everyone stops spending and there is no tax revenue.

    Also I had to respond to your post specifically because the amount if $789 billion or $789,000,000,000. You wrote $789 trillion or $789,000,000,000,000. I know they're unfathomly large numbers but your number was not the real number.

    February 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Dave

    Please don't refer to him as being wishy washy or having some ploy. You and I would not stand for this admistration taking away a task (census) that you are responsible for and answer only to the President for. They are skirting the Constitution just like the previous admistration did with the Patriot Act. People should be livid over this blatant act but looks like the media is ignoring the fact it's unconstitutional.

    February 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Death of America by Obama

    obama is a fake and has no idea what he's doing. That's why he's a puppet.
    he is on a power trip and really does believe that he can walk on water. Good God America, what have you done.

    February 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Kevin Hemp - Phillips, Wi.

    This whole thing smell with the odor of Republican vengence.
    First – all Republicans vote against his (the President) stimilus pkg. in both the House and Senate. Next this cute timing on the part of Gregg to withdraw. Just a quirk of fate? I don't think so.
    They are out to get even and satisfy the extreme right of West Texas. Right little George?

    February 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Eileen

    Obama is a clown and his administration is a circus. Why should the Repubs back what they know is wrong? Just because the Obamabots can't think for themselves. This country is now a joke.

    February 13, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Darko

    Wouldn't you quit if someone offered you a high level position and then subsequently stripped you of all your responsibilities and left you with little more than an office and a name plate?

    February 13, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. Jeff E.

    Obama's support is so strong, one has to wonder what on Earth the republicans hope to accomplish by playing spoilers. The economy is too precarious for business as usual, and yet these scheming right-wing nut jobs continue to play their partisan, ideological games. Grover Norquist stated that they are already running for 2010 and they're going to run against the stimulus package. Isn't that sweet? The ecomony's going down the tubes, people are losing their jobs and their homes and their health insurance, and Grover and the GOP are looking to score political points instead of offering solutions. And no, the same old tax cuts for the rich are not a solution.

    I sincerely hope these jerks get trounced again in 2010. Maybe then, they'll finally learn that the country is no longer falling for their elitist economics and tired old politics of "I've got mine. To hell with the rest of you."

    February 13, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Don

    Jim you are as insane as the rest of the people who think like you. Your ready to annoint this man as the great savior who will fly in and save us all. Man, get off the crack. How can you prfoess to be an American when you tear apart one of the greatest Presidents in Jefferson who was not only one of our founding fathers but a deeply principled and devoted man. To think that this country was not founded with God in mind is ridiculous. To tear down Lincoln is also a shame. Man you Liberals should pull your heads out of your nether regions and wake up. Your so called tax and spend Democratic party is going to ruin this great country. Commander in Chief he is not, he is going to do the the Military the same thing that Clinton did, tear it apart. You guys refuse to remember 9/11 but if your going to blame someone for weakining this country lets start with him. Obama is no savior and time will only prove what type off President he will be, but with what he and the rest of the liberals are forcing down our throats it won't be long before we all choke. Then lets see who you guys blame for this fiasco.

    February 13, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Rachel

    I feel so sorry for the people on this board who are so blinded by their beliefs that they cannot be open minded and read from a variety of things to make up their own minds – Mike in Houston, TCM, Ken,Connor and others who are biased by the GOP. Please stop being so narrow minded!! What are you even basing your statements on? Why don't you listen to the economists and history before making such irresponsible, statements that are not backed up by fact. Thank God your party did not win. The GOP is turning into a far right group made up of not so brights who do not value education, intelligence or the professionals who know more about the economy then we do!

    February 13, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Clova

    I wish instead of posting some of these negative comments about the new President who only took office a few weeks ago we would try TO SUPPORT HIM AND HELP TO GET THE COUNTRY OUT OF THIS MESS THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS PLACE US IN.

    February 13, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Dan

    CNN are you kidding me with this article. You are saying he is in trouble with high approval ratings for EVERYTHING he is doing. Just because the 61% approval isn't as unbelievably high as his other numbers you call this a bad thing? He is so popular and doing such a good job your only dig at him is his 61% approval rating for selecting his cabinet?!?! LOL That is still a very good number. Give me a break!!

    February 13, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. TCM

    @Jim February 13th, 2009 2:40 pm ET

    THE GREASTEST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!! Hands down. Makes Jefferson look like a dim wit, Lincoln couldn't complete a sentence compared to our magical POTUS, FDR doesn't know the meaning of hope compared to BO. He's also the greatest war time leader ever. Makes George Washington and Ike look like amateurs. Thank God we have him for 7 years and 49 weeks more. Or should I say Thank Obama
    ____________________________________________
    Either you're very sarcastic, which would be funny....or you're a very troubled individual.....If you base "GREATNESS," solely on one's inability to lead, make effective decisions...and be knee deep in corruption, racism, and all things unAmerican...then, Obama would be the best, hands down.

    February 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. base

    cnn why do you always make up these questions? well i can make up questions like is cnn losing its ratings,or is cnn in financial problems?or is cnn filing for chapter 11? then conduct phony polls to back that up.

    February 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. Z

    Once Gregg found out that the Sec. of Commerce position would not longer be allowed to re-district, he stepped down. Typical repug that will do anything at all costs to rig and steal an election. Who cares, anyway? President Obama is the best person (Saviour ;-)) for our country right now.

    February 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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