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. Jim

    Obama is doing more damage to America, just differently than Bush. The net result will be the same. Other shoes are yet to fall. Americans have abdicated ownership of America and will have more difficulty regaining it the longer they wait and fiddle.

    February 13, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Alicia

    Who is getting polled? It has not even been ONE month. ALL administrations have issues with cabinet picks.

    Judd was a Republican Trojan Horse, that is why Rush or none of the other sour grapes brats did not whine about him.

    Judd asked to be picked!!!

    February 13, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Jaime

    Obama is doing fine, the people who have the problem are the GOP members who think declaring War on President Obama is really going to help them regain power in 2012. Obama remains 2 steps ahead of them and they are too blinded by rage and frustration to see it.

    THE GOP doesn't seem to understand that negative politics aren't well received in this country, and just "playing to your base" isn't going to get it done, especially when your base is shrinking daily.

    Obama knows what he is doing and he also knows that every time he offers his hand in bi-partisanship and the GOP slaps it away, it's not him looking like a failure, it's them looking like a bunch of obstructive jerks who don't care about this country and want to see it fail.

    February 13, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. American people...

    Why dont all these republicans just shut the hell up and let the new government handle the problem. We majority voted this president coz we believe he can handle the job well. We had 8 yrs of republican running the show and now all you republicans are voicing oout to people showing all of you are working very hard. I say all you republicans are just show off born loser's and wont accept the reality having a black president. I say all republicans should be the one in Guantanamo bay for torturing the American people. Repect the americans decision and be part of the real american dream and stop acting like kids.

    February 13, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Tim, Seattle

    He s been in office 3 weeks and he has accomplished quite a bit. Being successful menas that all the GOPers will be negative and drag their knuckles in the dirt. . philosophies no longe fit the world we live in.
    Cornered animals and boxers fight vigourously when they know they are finished. A few last swings before they hit the floor. The GOP is on the ropes. Their Bravado is shallow and their ideas are dead:

    Tax Cuts as the panacea to the ecomony- FAILED

    Trickle Down economics- FAILED

    Neo-Con 'democratize the world' – FAILED

    Unilateral wAR – FAILED

    Deregulation of banks (and in general) – FAILED

    Ability to respond to national emergencies- FAILED

    Fiscal restraint- FAILED

    Party of Family VAlues (Craig and the rest of the pervs) – FAILED

    The GOP is finished, soon to be a fossil display in the museum of politics

    February 13, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Ron San Bruno, Ca

    As far as poor choices go , President Obama ask Gregg to join his administration , when he excepted he had a great chance of becoming part of a team that would hopefully represent change for this countries future . Unfortunately for him he shows the lack of fortitude needed to accomplish such a task . You see if the feels your a threat , you better get ready to be Tarred and Feathered , or you become an Ice Sculpture at a summer gop fund raiser . When The Presedent of the United States askes you to become a member of his administration you don't insult the country by Grandstanding your exit .It just made you look weak Gregg , and unworthy .

    February 13, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. naqib

    C W February 13th, 2009 12:57 pm ET

    "One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result."

    In our country's unfortunate case, the "same thing" has been what the Democrats always propose: Tax the working for the non-working, divisive politics and cowtowing to special interests.

    February 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. llabesab

    The problem with the Annointed One's Cabinet picks is that they did (or did not), appear on his teleprompter.

    Ever watch the Annointed One speak? His head moves constantly from left to right; from right to left; from left to right, etc. It's almost like watching the crowd during a tennis match at Ashe Stadium. He never looks the camera in the eye. Why? Hint1 Hint! The teleprompters are directly to his left and to his right. He must have "aced" reading at Columbia.

    February 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I am so sad, that BO is such a big disappointment. He is floundering, and doesn't have a clue as to what he is doing to this country.

    Dems are out of control.
    My vote wa s wasted on BO.....

    February 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Belle2

    Obama's cabinet picks are also the only actions that are have results transparent to the American people. Wonder what will happen when the results of his other actions (foreign policy, leadership, etc) also become apparent to the American people. Will his followers (and the media) still demand that we all bow to his every whim and worship at his feet?

    February 13, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Media Skeptic

    Why is it that Obama has such a high approval ratings, but CNN picks on the lowest, still a respectable 61%, and headlines it as "weakness." Why is the corporate media so intent on destroying Obama's presidency before it begins? Are you people worried about your taxes increasing after Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy expire?

    February 13, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Common Sense 09

    What's the problem with the stimulus package that Obama is proposing...S.Wiley??? Heck remember the bail out package Bush pushed through office in favor of his friends b4 leaving office!!! How fast we forget and what did they do with the $$$.....Please help me out someone/

    Why not try the new stimulus package, what you're afraid it might work or something like that???

    February 13, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. thanks, but no thanks

    To S.Willey,

    Obama is trying to revive the economy. He is willing to talk to his opponent as well as have them in his cabinet. As for socialism, l do think the Republicans are closer to the Socialism than you think. Remember we can not do wrong and if you are against us you are against America. That is exactly what the communists propaganda is. l wish people go back and read the history books of how communism and fascism came to power. It was exactly the oppression of the free thinkers and intelligent people. l do not see any of that going on. It is amazing that so called conservative are much closer to the commies than the liberals are. What would Jesus be today???? l bet you bigots like you will call him a commie.

    February 13, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. not now

    Let's see – 38% say President Obama is doing a bad job, 38% vote repub no matter what, 38% only care about some one cutting their taxes at all costs, 38% are selfish, arrogant, and ignorrant partly because they watch Fox media and/or listen to the Limpball/insHanity shows,but mostly because they choose to be.
    Maybe they should move to Iraq where they would have their prefered type of government – ruled minions by religious fascisist regime.

    February 13, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. llabesab

    To all Liberal Looney's out there. Write down on a sheet of paper "Our country is out of the recession." Put it in an envelope and seal the envelope. On the face of the envelope write, "..To be opened in 12 months–providing I still have a job."

    When you open it, you will be on your way to being a Conservative and will fit that definition just like the Liberal who was mugged.

    February 13, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Brianne

    With several 24-hour cable news shows with a million and one pundits giving their opinions and a billion bloggers on the internet giving their opinions and throwing numbers, guesses, & random thoughts at people from sun up to sun down we feel that we know everything now because we listened to the 8 nobodies on whatever channel last night giving their opinions. It has been a few weeks for Obama and I have never seen a President judged so harshly on every move when he has been handed the most tangled web of crap and no one knows how to untangle this mess. Christ give the guy more than a few weeks to improve our imploding economy and bring peace to the 3,000 different cultures on this planet.

    Opinions are like a@*h@#!$, everyone has one!

    February 13, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Malbert

    Actually, I think the Republicans are underestimating Obama on their response to his agenda during his first 30 days. Obama can play the rope a dope as well as any politician.

    Based on the polls, the public wants to see this work - that is, they want to see Obama succeed. Those who are obstructing are destroying the little political capital they have left and continue to marginalize the withering GOP.

    February 13, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. Bill

    Obama should stop trying to govern from the center and stop appointing Republicans just to appear to be answer the misplaced calls of 'bi-partisanship'. What a crock of a word. Ignore the GOP, they ran it into the ground. Never invite a friendly fox. Govern from the no-nonsense stand displayed on your campaign platform.

    February 13, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Malbert

    From S. Willey

    Obama 's stimulas package is the most outrageous thing we have ever seen.
    =================================================

    Actually the 700 billion giveaway to Wall Street is the most outrageous thing we have seen.

    February 13, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Nola

    Senator Gregg, withdrawing his name for Commerce Sect -stinks – their is more to this story than we are being told. I just read that he might be involved with Abrahamoff. Could this be the real reason that he withdrew his name? CNN needs to check this out

    February 13, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. boered1

    K. Parks
    WELL SAID AND WELL DONE!

    February 13, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. We have been SKUNK

    It is sad, that many of us that voted for BO, wish we could pul our votes back. Sorry that he is floundering so bad and has not clue as to what he is doing, because he listening to the House Dem's who are liars, and greedy, not to mention they speak out of both sides of their mouth.

    Bring MFG. back to this country, lower the taxes on income. And for those companies looking for a hand out, give them the BOOT.

    Its that simple, not a 600 page plus way of putting this country in dept for pet projects.

    February 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. WI Cheesehead

    And Obama shouldn't expect much help from the GOP in resolving the country's economic crisis. Not as long as they're listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

    February 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Dave

    Obama is doing great! His main problem is that he has to deal with all of those rat fink fascist republicans.

    February 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Capital Insider

    I am happy that Gregg stepped down now, as opposed to fight it out with Obama over the next few years. This shows integrity to back out of a position and allow someone who is more in line with what Obama wants.

    I am getting tired of the hate my fellow Democrats are spewing against the Republicans. The only obstructionists here were the Pelosi bunch that started to whine about their spending being removed. This Stimulus bill is going to cost our Children in 25 years. Maybe we need to go slow and stop trying to ram this bill down each others throats, saying it is "unamerican to oppose it" or calling people obstructionists for voicing their concerns on the rampant spending of the bill.

    February 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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