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. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    When the rubber meets the road, Senator-–it is all about you first-–and some people you gave your word too--and the American people second--you are a coward, sir--and I'm being very nice with my language.

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit

    Why is Barack trying to steal the Census?

    Dems please tell me why this makes sense to you. Be honest.

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. boered1

    no Mike in Houston Republicans are not standing by Obama because he represennts the people not the money and republicans have three mantras, big oil, big religion and rush anything that falls outside this is considered leftist.. well the facts are we are a left of center country and it is time for those who represent us to learn that.

    As for Gregg, he admitted yesterday that he changed his mind after talks with the RNC.. so basically the RNC (who get their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh) told Gregg to drop out or else they would attack him like they are doing Spectre and the representatives of Maine

    idiots

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Greg Hodges

    Why on earth is it Barack Obama`s fault that men he expressed faith in hid vital information from his administration. The fault lies with men who should have been honest and forthcoming about their ability to accept these positions in the first place.

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. rich

    Obamas plans are disasterous for this country.A little late repupublicans you beat to to it. Saying Obama plan will fail is like telling a broke man thats lying in the gutter,that if he gets up and tries to help himself he might fail.

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. 911willie

    We thought we were electing FDR, but more and more it is looking like we got Jimmy Carter

    February 13, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. venue

    you'd think all Americans should want the president to succeed, If president fails the nation fails Just like the war and 8 years of disasterous policies be careful what you ask for.

    February 13, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Jan in CA

    It never ceases to amaze me how the media wants to judge Obama in every step he takes. Let the man do his job and stop this insanity of micro-managing his performance. We need the media to contribute to comsumer confidence not keep it shattered by making everything into an issue.

    February 13, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. K. Owe

    President Obama ... please stop trying to make nice with the Republicans ... they clearly are using a strategy to make you look back since they lost the election .... go forward with Democrats who will support your agenda and are more aligned with working to get this country back on track under your leadership.

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

    Mike in Houston – Are you serious? Fringe left!!! The only problem with Obama is he is too pleasant. Maybe he should take a cue from Cheney and be an *ss**le and everyone will be too afraid to say no to him. So Judd Gregg is going back to the Dark Side. Good, let him enjoy his next two years with that bunch of losers.

    February 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. arithmetic is liberal

    RJ @ 12:46, that was AWESOME!!

    I am a liberal, somewhat fiscally moderate, and I agree about the "welfare" state concept. I believe that there should be regulation and that government needs to step in in time of crisis, but I don't want us to rely solely on government to fix our ills because that kills people's natural creative survival spirit.

    When it comes down to it, people on the left and right have a lot more in common that they would admit. And not just centerleft center-right.

    People who are conservative should have honest conversations with liberals and vice versa. Seriously. And NOT ONLINE either because both wings act like they're 13 when they're anonymous.

    February 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. rena

    Where were all these native views when Bush was spending billions in war, wall street, and bailout packages? It just amazes how many of you have forgotten just last year you received those nice little checks and no one was complaining.

    I hate to say it, but this is a WHITE Man world and Obama need to wake up!! He will never get these racist fools to agree with him and Steele of course is a token for their party.

    It's sad that these men would rather see this country down then to see them stand with a black who is trying to get this country back on its feet after your own kind ran it to pieces. Oh, but I forgot he was the right color and it doesn't matter what they do, you will still stand behind him. Sad but true.

    February 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. james smithington

    The Republicans in the House of Representatives are an obstructionist, do nothing, irresponsible bunch of losers!

    February 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Rob

    An overall rating of 48% approval-his lowest rating is on dealing with terrosit;the closing of the prison in Cuba.That rating has slipped to 25%However,thumbs up he is definitely dealing with our major problems

    February 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Beah

    This shows how narrow minded REPUBLICANS ARE. They are only interested in their own individual agenda. Like I said in yesterday's post they are truly MESOGENIST AND NARCISIST!

    February 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. sg

    But six out of 10 Americans think Obama is doing a good job choosing members of his Cabinet, according to a national poll. More like 6 out of 10 crackheads thinks Obama is doing a good job! Obamadrone = Crackhead.

    February 13, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Robin, Tampa FL

    Unlike Clinton and Bush, Obama doesn't have the luxury of having a lengthy time vet his cabinet picks. He's under pressure to get his cabinet formed quickly so he can begin fixing alot of the problems handed to us by the previous administration. Considering he's been in office less than a month, I think he is doing a much better job of handling this crisis than the last president.

    February 13, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Jim

    Wow, I ventured over to CNN to see what the Left had to say and all I see is blind sheep still refusing to see the truth about their Party and their President. Let us put aside the Democrats and the Republican rhetoric; can't you people see all the BS in the stimulus package? Good Lord people wake up. Are you so blinded by liberalism that you can't see the threats to your rights? Sheez!

    February 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Dan Phoenix,AZ

    The Republicans only serve them self and the American people will not forget their selfiness. President Obama tried his best to work with them.

    February 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Andrew A

    I'm sorry to say that the difference in the poll numbers highlight the fact that President Obama's team has let him down in the time period from thirty days before inauguration until now. I have confidence, however, since he ran such a well functioning campaign that his team will again rise to the required standards.

    February 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Wendie

    Barack Obama = BO. He really, really stinks. He clearly does not know what he is doing and is too arrogant to care. God help us all!

    February 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. sg

    Joan – Good idea. All we need is 1 – 2 million like minded people to head to DC and clean house. These fools wouldn't even make good compost.

    February 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Ridgeway

    I told you Obama fans and rabid supporters he's an idiot. No experience. Shuffle your little free cheese eatin' butts out and get jobs.

    February 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Patty in the CA mountains

    He's got 2 vacancies out of how many?

    February 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    You were part of the problem Senator--and when you decline to be part of the solution-–then you are the problem--Obama will do it without you-God forbid that you should be part of fixing what the Republicans created--that OK--God will forgive you--don't know if anyone else will.

    February 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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