February 13th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
6 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. Jonny

    MIke do you really think George Bush would do better who cares if his policies are left wing. I would rather have someone be left one thing line there pockets with cash like Dick Cheney and all of his buddies did.

    February 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    @ Suzanne Schecker

    Controversy sells. The ONLY thing the media is concerned with is ratings, viewrship, subscriptions and click-counters so they can justify higher and higher prices for the advertising. Truth and objectivity have nothing to do with it anymore. Journalism is dead.

    February 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. disillusioned already

    Obama has single-handedly exposed more tax cheats than any President in history. Now, if only he would stop throwing away billions of our kids money.........

    February 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Face reader

    Must be the same 38% that think the Earth is flat.

    February 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. jaye

    This is a bad relections against the republican party and not against President Obama.
    Gregg wanted the job, then bowed to the republicans demands that he remove himself.
    It's the republicans that are at fault – they are fighting President Obama at every turn, trying to destroy his popularity and his presidency. BUT, they will fail.
    They look like obstructonist instead of representatives of the people.
    So, keep giving the republicans all the airtime to spew their hate and filth and lies, and the viewing public will turn away from your news shows.

    February 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. tony

    Since when did CNN begin supporting Republicans? Campbell appears to be the counterpart of Fox's Hannity. Looks like CNN is confused with its views. It is better to watch and read ABCNews. At least, they are original.

    February 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Bill in Dallas

    Hey you can't have everything. You have to leave 60% thumbs up to criticize some is grasping at straws. Can any give us the Republican approval rating? Problably in the 30% range.

    February 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Smalto

    Gregg knew what he was doing, he was just there to play the Rep game that put the country in crisis we have never seen in our lifetime ( war, economy, discrimantion, lies, difamation). But he met the brightest politician in the world ( Barack Obama),who is technically, tactically stronger that him, so he bowed out.

    Shame on you Gregg

    February 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Mike Dallas

    Only you talking heads want hour by hour reporting and criticizing, as you can see from the polls, America thinks he is doing fine.

    February 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. joy

    The GOP=Greedy Obstructionist Party , that is their new name. give me a break with this your ridiculous polls. Gregg is a Jerk... how do u beg for a job and want to tell your Boss what to do. Gregg have identity issures. Gregg can kiss my fat behind if u know what i mean. John King is a disgrace for trying to defend the GOP yesterday on AC360. Gregg is to blame not the President.

    February 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Ken

    Gregg was very smart to pull out of what will be a bad administration that will take us into a deep depression and with the largest debt in US history!

    The stimulus bill will NOT get us out of the mess that Bush got us into, and now Obama getting us even deeper!

    February 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. change in America

    Obama need to stick with demoncrates in his cabinet instead of the republican they fool of old crows......vote republicans out in 2010

    February 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Rory O Shea

    I'm an Obama supporter all the way, but I try to keep a balanced perspective. I admit to being disappointed with his vetting process.

    But that is no reason for Republicans to start baying for his blood....after all look at the mistakes YOUR man made.... there's not even room for comparison

    February 13, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. jan

    The media needs to give the president a break and speak the truth.

    Stop the hype

    Anyone watching the TV before the treasury secretary spoke would have seen that the down was down over 200, yet they report that the DOW crashed after he spoke. Give ua s break

    It is a pity that we cant trust the banks, the media or the politicians.

    Were they all asleep to what was happening in the country before Nov 4, 2007.

    You can trust the smart black man lead the country out of this crisis . After allit was black labour and brain that have contributed much to what America is today.

    February 13, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    @ LIP

    Yeah, we believe you "did your own poll" with a "diverse" group of people and used scientific methods and a proper statistical analysis. Where do you people come up with this tripe?

    February 13, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Peachy Keen

    Mike in Houston........fringe left? Disasterous for the nation? Things could not be anymore disasterous than how the Repbulicans have destroyed most aspects of this country. I think the only mistake I see Obama making is even trying to find an intelligent, non-biased Republican. The voters have voted in the Democrats to put this country back together. Our President should leave it that way and forget this across the aisle stuff. The Republicans are not mature enough to respond like adults.

    February 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Glennis

    I can't remember a time when I've seen such disorganization and ineptitude in trying to establish a cohesive administration. What a circus act.

    February 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. KLK

    I think President Obama is putting too much emphasis on bipartisanship. Republicans simply do not want to work with him. They will do anything to sabotage his administration in an effort to gain power for their party.

    February 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    All of this stuff is just noise. The bottom line is what is getting done. Obama is having some disappointments in his cabinet picks and the congress is doing it's job of advising him on those picks.

    What matters is getting the stimulus going so we can get the economy going, so we can start getting tax revenue to pay back the debt. Every penny of that $700 Billion, $800 Billion, and whatever coming next has to be paid back in taxes as soon as possible. It will never happen if the economy doesn't recover. Let's invest in America so that the returns on that investment can be used to pay off the debt. If America is a bad investment relative to other investment opportunities, perhaps it is time to go live somewhere else.

    February 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. jaye

    I firmly stand behind President Obama.
    The republicans are a joke.

    February 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. linda

    Seriously, do you really approve Obama's cabinet picks? We have a tax evader heading our treasury, we had Daschle, Richardson, as well as others who have had problems. All it shows me he is paying back favors and the rich dems don't pay taxes like the rest of us poor smucks! Who got our country into this mess and who profited from Freddie Mac...the dems, our current president and his White House Chief of Staff. Who can say this isn't business as usual?

    February 13, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. wwf

    Someone on hear tell me what the Republicans have done the past 8-12 years, besides a war and a recession. Come on, tell me. You can't. All of the greed in this country sadly belongs to those who run it. The politicans, big business, and the oil companies. Things are getting tougher and they raise the price of gas again. To me, the republicans would rather destroy the country than work to fix the problem for everyone, not just the rich.

    February 13, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. john

    yes, its a huge mess Obama inherited, HOWEVER, many people were expecting miracles and nothing is going to change overnight or even a year from now. ALL these politicans are out of touch with the regular person, look at the stimulus, it is helping the average person HoW? Tax breaks for NEXT year, nothing for NOW, they should have divided the money amongst all taxpayers and sent us a check. Instead, we are wasting money AGAIN....

    February 13, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. USA LOVER

    Well, LIP, when you poll rush, hannity, oreilly, krauthammer, and rove.... laughing is PROBABLY the reaction you'll get.....

    February 13, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. Susan in NC

    Good grief! Obama has been in office for well less than one month! Are you folks crazy? Nothing changes "overnight" - give the man a chance!

    February 13, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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