July 9th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Is President Obama a strong leader?

Obama still inspires confidence -- but his leadership marks are slipping.
Obama still inspires confidence - but his leadership marks are slipping.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama still inspires confidence, but a new national poll indicates that the number of Americans who say he is a strong leader and is tough enough to handle a crisis has dropped significantly over the past few months.

Seventy-two percent of people questioned in a CNNCNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning (PDF) believe Obama inspires confidence. That's down three percentage points from a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted in February.

Seven out of 10 also said the president is a strong and decisive leader. But that figure is down 10 percentage points from the opening days of Obama's presidency. Sixty-four percent said that Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis, down nine percentage points from February.

"Although his rating as a strong leader has dropped, he still scores fairly well on that measure," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But Obama's stand on the issues and his plans for the future appear to be his biggest weakness."

The poll suggests that 53 percent believe Obama has a clear plan for solving the country's problems, down 11 percentage points since February. And 56 percent said the president agrees with them on the issues they care about, down seven percentage points from February.

"The 56 percent figure is still a majority, but it contrasts poorly with the nearly eight in 10 who say they approve of Obama as a person," Holland added. "When it comes to personal characteristics, his strong suit is his ability to inspire confidence. That's not a bad thing for a president to have in tough economic times."

Half of those questioned said that the Democrats' control of Congress is good for the country. Forty-one percent believe it's a bad thing.

The poll was conducted between June 26 and 28, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • President Obama
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Mark

    He's a superb speaker, but an utter disaster as a leader.

    July 9, 2009 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  2. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    As long as we start no more wars, get health care, pass the cap and trade bill, strengthen our alliances around the world...I don't really care about the polls.

    July 9, 2009 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  3. TCM

    absolutely not. In the past the highest number of Czars, by any president, was 5. As of yesterday, OBama has 34....almost 7x !! That shows he wants to shed all responsibility, yet has a desire to control things; it places a convenient layer of "blame," between himself and any issue that sours. A layer that Rahm Emmanuel can quickly step in and point a finger to when it hits the fan, and the public starts grumbling.

    Additionally OBama has shown that he's inconsistent, makes poor choices for cabinet positions (tax cheats aplenty), hasn't a spine when it comes to difficult decisions....and isn't respected worldwide.

    It all falls back to the election, and Biden's words were true for once when he said that he's no leader....

    He merely enjoys the "celebrity," of the situation, but when it comes to the actual responsibility of the job, and having stable, moral character.....a character the American people can depend on and stand behind, Obama's not making the grade.

    July 9, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  4. Joseph

    its that obama is a small fish we need a whale

    July 9, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  5. TCM

    "....Interviews with 1,026 adult Americans, conducted by telephone
    by Opinion Research Corporation on June 26-28, 2009. The
    margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is
    plus or minus 3 percentage points...."

    Again, CNN – 1026 people, registered democrats.....aren't representative of this country. You're slanting to the left hard....and this "facade," isn't going to last.

    Please post BOTH of my posts, and do not censor as this continued behavior is really damaging your credibility.

    July 9, 2009 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  6. Jamey

    Obama is a strong leader, with a weak liberal congress...

    July 9, 2009 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  7. Tom from Roch., NY

    If you believe in Obama or not, at least he's trying to do something! Bush mostly sat around and let things happen. Or, did things to reward supporters and friends that we ended up paying for (Katrina is only one of many that comes to mind). Obama is capable, Bush was incompetent.

    I'm more than willing to give Obama and the Democrats a full four years before judging them. If the Republicans get back into power without learning their lessons from the Bush years, I have every expectation that they will once again screw us for personal and political gain.

    July 9, 2009 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  8. Dan

    No he is not; he is a windbag full of hot air. He can only succeed by promising to give “Hope”, yet is taxing the heck out of all Americans. Anyone can buy off votes. The stimulus plan is absurd. Spending money for roads and then giving more to welfare type programs will not save this recession, it will worsen it. The majority of unemployment has happened on his watch, not Bush’s. The government can rob Peter to pay Paul and they will always count on the support of Paul in future elections. That is why he was voted in, just giving money to people in these socialist programs.
    Furthermore, water boarding is not torture in my opinion. We are losing this battle against terrorism and need these techniques. Danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil, and yet he thinks we can. He is weakening our means of protecting ourselves, God help us all.

    July 9, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  9. Joseph

    americans are very inpatient if they lose confaidence in him this early his first year n office might effcet his re-election

    July 9, 2009 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  10. J. Sully, NY

    These numbers sound pretty darn good to me. 7 in 10 approve? Can't complain abou that.

    July 9, 2009 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  11. European-American

    If you have to ask, you already have your doubts.

    July 9, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  12. RR

    tell that to Iran, North Korea, Russia, Honduras, and Venezuela.

    July 9, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  13. Joseph

    we are just sick of government making things more diffcult! Taxes on trade, health care life n death n all we ask is for the man we elected to make goverment changes make the changes

    July 9, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  14. Marry

    Yes, he is a very strong leader – really inspiring – but in another way than the country is used too. President Obama has such a tough time because he sees, defines and is committed to start to solve the many problems the US and the world has. And the list is very long, perhaps too overwhelming. For some it is not easy to admit to the fact that not all is well and that business as usual is just not going to make the country move forward. If the majority of people can be convinced to also show diligence and patience, the president can point with help the right way into a better future. If one could bake a president, it would look like him: A very smart, compassionate, responsible, diligence, polite, clear, brave, determinate, fair, inclusive, earnest, communicative, patient, positive, respectful, passionate, outgoing, strong person that wants to better the conditions in his country and work together with others. A REAL PATRIOT! Because of that he has a positive impact in the world. Many heads of State are starting to rethink their own style and motivations and realize they should set a positive example too. This is something totally new for America to experience in a long time and perhaps takes time for some to appreciate.

    July 9, 2009 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  15. Jonita

    I guess the President should go start 2 more wars in order to prove his toughness?....The way that the 3 draft dodgers,Bush,cheney and Rove did?..

    July 9, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  16. UNHAPPY DEM

    NO, weak as water

    July 9, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  17. ST

    CNN Poll: Is President Obama a strong leader? –> Ofcourse not! He is a celebrity, since when did celebrities become leaders? Ha!

    July 9, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  18. brad

    If your definition of a "strong leader" is making ill-advised decisions with massive implications and not taking the time to educate yourself on the problem at hand, then no, Obama is not a strong leader.

    If your definition of a "strong leader" is a president who takes the time to make a well informed decision, then yes, Obama is a strong leader.

    the perception of "strong leader" is subjective and wholly irrelevant. It's about the decision making itself.

    July 9, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  19. phonix86

    I guess if you compare Obama to the leader of a little league baseball team, he comes out strong. Other than that, he is the weakest leader on the world stage today.

    July 9, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. Tatianna

    Since the inauguration, Obama is showing he has different plans than the ones he spoke about during the campaign. It should come as no surprise when public opinion turns on him just as easily as he has turned on them. The contradictions between his words and actions are many. He opposes big govt, and then he vastly expands it. He says he favors bipartianship, but doesnt practice it. He says he is against earmarks, and then he signs the largest pork package in history. He says we are moving from an era of borrow and spend, but we are moving into an era of steal and embezzle. To try to pretend that this is somehow beyond the scope of his responsibility – above his pay grade, if you will – is insulting to the publics intelligece.

    July 9, 2009 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  21. I can see Canada from my house!

    The numbers on the question about having a clear plan boil down to the rough percentage of people who voted for him: this is no suprise. The president did tell people that times would probably get worse before they got better, and the recovery would take time. What should be noted is his approval rating as a person, which is reminiscent of Reagan. Reagan maintained his confidence through some bad recessions, and took 49 states in his re-election bid. If I were in the GOP, that would scare me far more than a mementary snapshot of public opinion. Reagan's political views were never tremendously popular, but people liked him: Obama has the same appeal.

    July 9, 2009 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  22. Dale

    Obama is doing great on all fronts, with the exception of spending control. There he is on par with all other politicians. GOP is harping on this, but they are just as bad. The difference being Obama is spending the money here in the US where it might, conceivably, do some good. The GOP was spending it on pointless death and destruction in Iraq. To those who would crititcize Obama's spending... I say show me someone better.

    July 9, 2009 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. Matt

    I believe the president is the most active, hard working, diplomatic president that this country has ever had and I have been through quite a lot of presidents at my age. He is outstanding at delegating to others and calls others who work for him to a higher standard.

    The media and peoples of this country are outrageous to demand instant accomplishments on all fronts from any human being as appears often to be demanded of him.
    Far worse is the disgruntled republicans who resort to undignified sniveling and lies cause they are not in office. A party who works against the government is treason.

    July 9, 2009 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  24. Joseph

    come on lets get real and get going poll what americans would list as the most important problems they think the nation is facing narrow down to a list of ten start at the top thats what obama should be doing

    July 9, 2009 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. antillian

    A very strong Leader! It is a breath of fresh air to have an intelligent, thoughtfull man chosen for the position of POTUS. A man for the people by the people. A person who has already created a better image of the States in the eyes of the world.

    The critics keep hammering on that they don't see any of the "change " as promised. Most of these critics are people who only vote party lines, people who have absolute no knowledge of how government, the economy, or the judicial branch works, and people desperate to keep their heads above water in economic troubled times.

    To criticize this President after only a few months of hard work is beyond insane. Logic says: If you didn't criticize the last President then you have no right to critize this one. its that simple. Give this President as much moving space as you gave the last.
    If and only if he does the same job as the last (after 8 years) then you can compare and criticize.

    President Barack Hussein Obama of the United States of America you are doing the best job possible . If people want to continue to block, criticize,and hope for failure for every effort made by you and your team then so be it. These are not the people you were chosen to lead for a better tommorow......do us who do want you to succeed a favor......leave them behind.

    A

    July 9, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
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