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. Matt

    Obama's choices: Have tax problems.

    Bush's choices: Completely incompetent.

    February 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. George

    Obama has been in for less than 30 days. In that time, he has shown his contempt for the reasons behind Gitmo and, therefore, panders to radical the Islamic community and world opinion; shown his contempt for the unborn; thinks money (wherever it comes from) will solve problems; wants out of Iraq but to dig in in Afghanistan; does not like pointed questions or disagreement; wants to interject himself into the census and radio programing; and now says the stimulus package will generate 3.5 million jobs.
    The man is a con-artist and half of the country blithely supports him. He is not leading; he is dictatcing. He is not unifying; he is trying to reshape this government in his image. He is not bipartisan; he is purely for the liberal democrat and their goals/values.

    February 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    No Gregg bowed out when he realized Obama's plan to move the Census to the White House so they can change it over to "sampled data" instead of actual. Upon doing this, and instantly turning Illegal immigrants into citizens, Rahm and Obama will redistrict congress so that there will never be anything but a democrat majority in the house.

    They are working to make sure that main stream America no longer has a say in our own government.

    February 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Beverly, NYC

    Obama has done more to help this nation than Bush/Cheney did in 8 yrs. When someone raises their hand ,looks the President in the eye and gives his word to do a job, it says more about them when they turn tail and run. As a former Marine I wouldn't want Mr. Gregg in a foxhole watching my back. I always thought something was up, he went from wanting to abolish Commerce to wanting to run it. And to put when the Cencus was taken away shows the Republicans had some re-districting scheme up their tired sleeves. Who needs to worry about Terrorist when we have Republicans willing to take down the country, without the promise of 72 virgins.

    February 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. elsonson

    I think that president Obama is doing just fine! He is running into your typical partisan politics!

    February 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. KMAN

    I think LIP is right ... CNN should just use his polls for all their future stories. I wonder just how many folks in LIP's polling still have their front teeth ... I'll bet it's fewer than the number of them with rifle racks in their pickups!

    February 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. trying to be reasonable in WV

    Judgments about Obama's successes and failures as president are only temporary snapshots made in the heat of the moment. Because none of us REALLY has the gift of prophecy, such judgments are also premature (PREMATURE, dagnabbit!). I say that both the rosiest AND the direst predictions will really miss the mark.

    Of course, we all see what we want to see to see. From reading comments here and elsewhere, we have some people unwilling to admit that there are problems, while others (there are more of them, I would say), can't wait to pounce on any negative thing and are quick to pronounce Obama et al a complete failure. Whoa, dudes!

    I am still perplexed by the screaming about socialism. If you think Obama is REALLY a socialist, you need to look it up, people, because you don't know the definition. Of course, a reliance on the "wisdom" of Limbaugh and Hannity is not going to provide the intellectual clarification you need.

    February 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. smokesignals

    How about some real, solid reporting CNN?
    Your old polls, looking for any little spark to ignite controversy is just yellow journalism masking as real news.

    February 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. TCM

    @ LIP – I've done the same thing. Ignore SNIFFET, he's inhaled too much obamagas and it'll take a total meltdown of the country before he'd consider looking at the incompetence of Obama and cronies.

    Yeah, everyone should take a poll.....devise questions, ask a diverse group the exact same questions...keep the variation out...and you'll see that over 75%-80% disagree with Obama's performance so far...

    Yeah, Sniffet, I already did a poll, and with an engineering and mathematical background...stats are cake...so, your statement is trite hater dribble....facts don't lie, dude...folks don't like obama.

    February 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Seretse

    hahahaha "The fact that Obama has had the highest confirmation rate on cabinet picks than any President in the last quarter century is a deeply troubling development for the White House...poll says"

    Comedy!

    February 13, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. mike

    Come on CNN, just admit that you have backed a clown for the last 2 years and you have egg on your face.
    Hillary was right when she said that her and John McCain had a lifetime of experience and Nobama had just a speech.
    And he is still making speeches. Can't lead, all he can do is lie.
    Thanks for my $13 a week you fool. What a joke. Thank God I wasn't one of the sheeple.

    February 13, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Marc

    To Mike in Houston
    who said: 'Republican aren’t standing by Obama because Obama’s policies are fringe-left and disasterous for the nation.'

    What you said is what they are using as excuse, and since you are beliebing in them...
    Face it, even before they knew about the Stimulus plan and other acts of the new presidency, they were against them all. It's not politics, but simple damage control: They can't dettach themselves from the presidency that created the whole mess and can't let that a new approach succeeds in healing the wounds GWB left behind on 01/20.

    February 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Rick

    Obama is strictly a puppet for the far, far left wing. He goes where they tell him to go and he says what they tell him to say.

    February 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Arizona

    It seems like the GOP has made nothing bad decisions.

    Before the election plopped an idiot onto their ticket.

    We saw through that...

    Then after the election they said, well we better get a black guy to lead our party too.

    We see through that...

    Now they are trying to block any efforts made to benefit the economy.

    We don't have time for this!

    February 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Jerry

    When 61% of Americans think Obama has done a great job picking his cabinet, I suspect they do not actually read what has been going on. I mean...tax cheats galore!!!

    February 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Simmy

    LIP a nd Mike in Houston,

    Perhaps if you and the media, and especially Republicans had kept as close scrutiny of Bush's White House as you do President Obama's, we wouldn't be in this mess.

    All of these incidents, Richardson, Daschle, Geithner, were all investigated to cause humiliation to President Obama. It couldn't have been for the sake of integrity because they would have called Bush and Cheney the liars that they were. There deeds were much more atrocious than not paying taxes that are now paid., and should no longer be a matter of contention.

    Gregg, is a different story. He never intended to stay. I think it was another plot by Republicans, to bring shame to The Obama Administration. These are a group of hateful people, who feel that this is their country, even though their ancestors came from somewhere else also. Except for Native Americans, we're all descendants of immigrants.

    The media has to continue creating drama where there is none, to keep viewers interested. But Republicans were elected to serve the interest of all people. They should be fair and balanced – not fickle and petty.

    February 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. dan in Tucson

    Pickins are so low because the corruption is so high. It's really to the point where an honest man can't survive anymore. Real sad.

    February 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Mike in SoCal

    This is yet another sign of Obama's inexperience and overall weakness as a leader. Coupled with the Democrats in the House and Senate (who were completely useless over the past 8 years), it spells disaster for this country.

    February 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Will-South Dakota

    He caved into the sour leadership of the GOP in the House and Senate. McConnell and Boehner offer nothing but failed leadership. The younger, new Senators and House members of the GOP need to rally against McConnell and Boehner and offer America a working party of unity and willingness to help America out of this crisis rather then fight jsut because they are the minority party.

    February 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Dan

    6 out of 10? Everyone's either a tax-cheat or former lobbyist... that's not change we can believe in.

    February 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Emily

    If the republicans and democrats don't start working for us instead of continuing their stupid games for political gain, we might as well
    all throw in the towel. These people, in both parties are more interested in blaming each other and gaining glory from it than they are in fixing the problems in this country. It's really a shame that their selfishness may be what finally destroys America.

    February 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. paul oregon

    spineless conservative repubs. willhave something to look foward to in 2010 thanks to the internet

    February 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Jschm

    The Republicans didn't abdicate there responsibility to their constituents to govern because they lost. Obama opened his hand to them but what was in it wasn't something they could agree with. Bi-partisanship means you sit down and negotiate. Pelosi was having none of that and is the biggest block to bi-partisanship. Reid only did to get the 3 Republican votes he needed. If they didn't need them, you can be sure the Dems wouldn't even ask the opinion of the Republicans. So the Republicans if they are not inclided in creating legislation, can only filibuster it. If you want to call the obstruction go ahead but to me it is the only way they can get their point across. They should try to block the next two Democratic pushes, the Fairness Doctrine, which endangers free speech, and the suppression of the secret ballot in union voting.

    February 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Sad Future

    I say Obama should keep picking the same type of people... The more people Obama appoints, the more we can collect all those back taxes they conveniently forgot to pay. If we appointed every Democrat in America, maybe there would not be a budget deficit.

    February 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Steve

    TCM, thanks for the little blast of right-wing paranoia about the media.

    Yeah, you know, Obama has made some mistakes in this process. At least none of his appointees seem to be future war criminals.

    February 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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