March 18th, 2009
11:26 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Obama's taken on too much, say Americans

Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air?
Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air? A new national survey indicates that for a majority, the answer is yes.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say that since he's taken over in the White House, President Obama has tried to handle more issues than he should have. Forty-three percent say he hasn't bitten off more than he can chew.

"In his first weeks in office, Barack Obama did not focus exclusively on the economy but instead announced new policies and proposals on everything from education to health care to Afghanistan and Iraq," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "He gets high marks on most of those issues, but it seems that many Americans are worried that he might lose his focus on economic recovery."

President Obama Tuesday dismissed criticism he's trying to do too much. "What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore," he said.

"To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years to be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. That's not why I ran for this office. I didn't come here to pass on our problems to the next president or the next generation. I came here to solve them."

The poll suggests that a majority, 58 percent, feel that the president's programs strike the right political tone for the country. Thirty-six percent say Obama's proposals are too liberal, and 5 percent say they are not liberal enough.

On the issues: 59 percent say they approve of how the President's handling the economy, 57 percent like how Obama's dealing with health care, 63 percent approve of his energy policy and 65 percent back him on education reform.

Sixty-six percent like Obama's approach to foreign affairs, with 63 percent approving of how he handles Iraq, 67 percent agreeing with him on Afghanistan and 61 percent approving of his performance in the fight against terrorism."

Obama tends to get better numbers for his handling of international issue than on domestic problems," Holland says. "That's a typical pattern for many presidents, who can handle foreign policy concerns without always having to push something through Congress."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,019 Americans was conducted by telephone Thursday through Sunday, and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Poll • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. dumbocrat alert

    he is proving the job limitations of a community organizer.

    March 18, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He's a multi-tasker. That's why he's the POTUS.

    March 18, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Ariana

    better too much than too little

    March 18, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Jon in Ca

    Obama is DEFINTELY above his paygrade!

    When one considers the number of promises Obama has broken, his inability to vet and nominate ETHICAL appointments, and utter disconnection from the struggles average Americans are dealing with (lost jobs, lost homes, etc... while He and Michelle party-down every week at the White House).....

    .... his paygrade seems to be legitimately at "community organizer".

    March 18, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Annie

    Maybe he is taking on too much, but what choice does he have? He's had more dumped on him than any President I've seen in my lifetime, and I was born when Eisenhower was in office.

    March 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. RON BROBST

    Are you only calling Democrats? I don't even know many Dem's who support him. He has proven without a doubt to be a liar, and destroyer of our Republic. He is going to fail, and he is only a one term Pres. For the record we know Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Frank etc. are actually pulling all the strings, God help us, Socialism destroys, and they are full steam ahead at fully destroying America, I hope you people are proud of your efforts.

    March 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Watchful Cowboy

    I say – "If it was easy – anybody could do it!" The President has to be able to juggle a lot – that is the job! Is he going to drop one once in a while – sure – he isn't perfect, but the test will be how fast he can pick it up and get it back in the air.

    March 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. jimmy-ohio

    and if he hadn't we would be reading a poll saying he hasn't done enough

    March 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. cheryl brooks from cali

    The President is a leader not a follower... He have to take the lead in order to run this country. When Bush was running his program no one said a word including the Media. He did what he pleased and did not care who agreed with him or not, so who care if someone don't agree with the lead the President is taking they are free to dis-agree, that's what this country is all about... At least that's what George W. Bush said... We are free and that's why they hate us!!!!!! Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 18, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. FreeNLovingIt

    The bar is too low for our government. It should be able to MULTI-TASK and do it very good. In the real world, we are asked to juggle 3 to 4 priorities as jobs are being offshored, outsourced and co-workers laid off. If we can do it, the government can certainly do it too.

    March 18, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Alan

    Balderdash! Folks who say that are just echoing some naysayer pundits.

    Its a GOOD thing – not a bad thing – for our President to address all the issues. Lord knows, we have enough of them!

    March 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. thomas

    Barack is the Michael Jordon of politics. He would be doing fine if his teammates would stop fouling and if the other team would stop fouling him. He is driven by the challenge and complexity of the problems facing the nation. Once the momentum builds, look for a few slam dunks.

    March 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    All this says is that the majority of Americans are still not paying attention.

    March 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. MorningStar

    America has a LOT of problems to solve in order to stay #1 in the world. If we don't solve these problems, then we will find ourselves serving China... Those people who say Obama is doing too much just don't get it.

    March 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. proud army navy mom

    The president is extremely capable of handle multiple tasks at a given time.

    People must have gotten him mixed up with George W and his war criminal co-horts. They were the slow retarded bunch who flushed our economy down the toilet.

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. spring

    He's our President, he was left with an American DISASTER, he didn't take it on it was GIVEN to him by the LAST ADMINISTRATION, He's trying his best to clean up their mess, GOD HELP HIM.

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. proud army navy mom

    The president is extremely capable of handle multiple tasks at a given time.

    People must have gotten him mixed up with George W and his war criminal co-horts. They were the slow retarded bunch who flushed our economy down the toilet.

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. MARK

    Look what the Republicans have left him/us. Somebody has to try and do something. GO OBAMA!

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Oh! The Irony

    I just think we aren't used to seeing a workaholic president. He has a huge staff and cabinet. Aren't they supposed to be tackling these issues aggressively?

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    I think it only "looks" like President Obama has taken on too much because ... George W. Bush "did" so little!

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Jimbo

    He knew the situation. He wanted the job. Now the golden boy can't get the job done because he has the wrong team in place and lacks real leadership skills himself. What a waist of America's hope for change.

    March 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    I am proud of Barack for addressing so many issues at once. There is so much in our country that needs repair.

    But I am worried that he is stretching himself, his staff, the budget , national and international obligations too thin. I want him to succeed in everything, but the nation's priorities may have to be chronologically ordered (including speed-ups and delays) to ensure thign sget done.

    It is difficult, but realistic, to accept that not all things can be done at once.

    Good luck, Barack. I'm working for ya, rooting for ya and prayin' for ya.

    March 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Edward Liddy, chief executive of bailed out insurer American International Group, will tell Congress Wednesday that he found the company's controversial bonuses "distasteful," but necessary because of legal obligations and competition, according to a written copy of his testimony.

    My question is if they were necessary please explain how they earned the bonus? I need to know why they earned 6 million of taxpayers dollars. What did they do so extraordinary to earn that much money in the form of a bonus?

    March 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Lisa, Saugus MA

    So goes the theory that he can walk and chew gum at the same time. I want him to stay focused on the economy. Without a strong economy, everything else won't matter. Businesses won't invest in health care plans and people can't pay for it. Also if the economy is lousy people will put off going to college and try to find a job.

    So one thing at a time Mr. President. We will get there in time.

    March 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. Kristen

    One thing can be said with certainty: THIS wouldn't have been an issue with W. Thank God we've moved on.

    March 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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