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. Mike b

    Obama is the only President to address the tough issues that Americans face like, healthcare, outsourcings, and the environment. The past administration wouldn't dare touch these issues because they had a hand in the pocket of big cooperations. I guess that would make him a strong leader.

    July 9, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. RI Moderate

    He's not tough enough to handle the people in his own party. Pelosi rammed through a pork-ladened stimulus package that isn't working as advertised. Although B.O. promised 'no pork', Pelosi won out and the bill went through.

    It might actually be easier to be tough with outsiders and foreign governments than it is with his own party.

    July 9, 2009 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  3. beevee

    Almost all of the probelms that the coutnry and the president are facing now are heaved upon Obama by the mismanagement of his predecessor. it is only six months he has been in office. May be you get a better picture of his strength if CNN takes the poll after 12-15 months. Now is too early to judge anything. Don't waste time/.

    July 9, 2009 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  4. Joseph

    lets do this im giving congress n the priesdent 7days to get the poll im just one vote im not a political movement

    July 9, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  5. GI Joe

    I believe in him. I think his plans WILL work if people will start cooperating. When the stimulus money went to states, some of the states spent it on things other than intended and some have just sat on it.

    I believe the Party of NO will bring this country down just to make democrats look bad. Shame on the Party of NO.

    July 9, 2009 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  6. Joanna

    I believe President Obama takes his time and thinks things through. Unlike our former president and his administration, who operated on 'knee-jerk' responses. I would much rather have a leader who takes time to think before taking action. Any day!

    July 9, 2009 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Enlightened Voter

    Because he doesn't act like a cowboy (reagan) or a buffoon (bush) weilding a gun, threatening the world, rethuglicans see it as a weakness. But a truly strong person leads with intelligence and diplomacy, something rethuglians will never know about. He is gaining respect for us around the world and creating less enemies and therein lies our strength.

    July 9, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Not is he just a smart leader, he's a competant one.

    July 9, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  9. No One Famous

    So is the kool-aide wearing off or are people finally waking up to realize the Chosen one is a glorified community organizer and is not seasoned enough to be President.

    July 9, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. AXH

    No, he is NOT a strong leader, popularity does make a strong leader; reading from a teleprompter does not make a strong leader. His policies are weakening the foundation of this country!

    July 9, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Dave

    I am a conservative Republican and do agree that President Obama is a very strong public speaker, inspires confidence that America needs at this point in history, and can be a strong leader.

    Just wish his rethoric matched the legistaion coming out of Congress and how he intends to govern us. PLEASE don't continue the Government's path in spending that will bankrupt our wonderful country. Republicans are equally to blame as Dem's on the financial crisis our country faces as our collective Government (Congress, the Fed under traitor Greenspan, both Treasury dept's under Bush & Obama, the SEC) has failed us.

    PLEASE inspire Congress to control spending !!!!!

    July 9, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Jim Bob

    Yes he is a strong leader, whose brains overshadow his considerable brawn. He can solve problems without showy swagger.

    July 9, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. army chick

    Good job President Obama. With many people losing there jobs and homes I can understand why they would be fearful and start to question if they made the right decision when they elected you. But we have faith in you and I know the Lord will use you for good. Keep up the good work. Just another saint praying for this country.

    July 9, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  14. Vince

    Time are tough, and they're not improving very fast. People are impatient, they want things NOW, not in a while. The slip in the poles is not suprising. Actually, it's pretty amazing, givin the times, that they are still as high as they are. When things turn around and people are less restless and scared, his numbers will improve.

    July 9, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. RealityKing

    Wow a 10% drop in CNN's progressive poll questions must mean trouble for Obama.

    Opinion Research Corporation, doesn't their parent company pay Nancy Pelosi's son a $160,000 salary to not show up at work? I mean.., is CNN really expecting America to believe the offspring of someone claiming she was misled by the CIA??

    July 9, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  16. Cleo

    CNN are you going to take polls about the President for the entire 4 years? Let the man do his job! Let the people do their job at the end of his 4 years in office... Your polls does not do anything...Please stick to reporting the news and stop making up news!

    July 9, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  17. jaye

    And why does these people think he's isn't strong enough to handle a crisis?? Is it because the talking head pundits are convincing people that he isn't strong enough? If so, then what are they basing it on? Is it because he didn't start a war with Iran?
    You can be sure that the war loving republicans are behind the poll numbers – they love war.
    The you have that "other news network" that bashes our president 24 hours a day...that edits his speeches, and leads Americans to believe their lies and innuendo and half-truths.
    So, if the republicans are behind these poll numbers then I'm not surprised.

    July 9, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  18. Jeremy

    If I spend twice what I can afford with my Visa this month does that make me tough?

    Isn't it funny that the spending habbits of some of the people in this country is what this administration's plan to get us out? Sure we'll have the flat screen today or tomorrow, but eventually we will have to pay for it.

    It wasn't the Bush administration that got us into this, it was the lazy citizens that felt they deserve or were entitled to everything the hard-working people had. Bush is just the excuse for all of them.

    July 9, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  19. Anny

    You don't want to call him tough? WHY? Because he won't stick his nose into Iran's business and say things to that government that would make the World continue to look at us as Bullies like they did when Bush and Cheney were in charge.........because he won't start another war with Iran or North Korea? That's what the GOP would do, bully our way into every foriegn country and start a war, try to take it over and push off our Democrocy on them........this President said he is going to to try deplomacy first......everyone knew that when they voted for him........I bet when he has to pull out the guns he will be very forceful but I hope it never comes to that........If you didn't think Obama was tough enough you could have voted for McCain and Quitter Palin.......

    July 9, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. jaye

    Bill Bennett, Mary Matlin, and the other right wing facist at CNN, are ruining CNN. They constantly condemn our president, and CNN gives them the platform.
    AND, what are the polls based on?

    July 9, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. Dixon

    I believe Obama is the strongest leader we have had in many years. It is a mistake for the Republicans to continue demonizing of our President. We all need to get past the far left's and far right's weak attempts to gain or keep power. Those of us in the middle (right or Left) are watching. We will be deciding the future of our polititian's employment, not the wing nuts of either party.

    July 9, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. demwit

    Why all the shady polling questions today??

    Is CNN's progressive Polling Director Keating Holland not getting the answers he wants to the normal polling question: "Do you think Obama is doing a good job" ??

    July 9, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  23. ProgressivelyMinded

    The good news is that only 565,000 Americans were laid off last week!!

    July 9, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. geen

    When obama first announced his candidacy, an overwhelming majority of his support was due to his positions on the morons' war on Iraq...of the candidates, his opposition to that war propelled him to the presidency. How soon we forget...even though the press continues to gush over him, with respect to that issue..the unwinnable and illegal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan (that is complete folly!), by continuing to fund the war against Iraq and ESCALATING the folly in Afghanistan, his positions are NO DIFFERENT than those of the morons' regime he replaced! Young americans continue to die. Flag-draped Coffins still come home as the Body Count increases daily. With his clear inability to speak without a teleprompter, he is slowly becoming a 'teflon' president.....and..AND...the media continues to 'gush' praise....Where the best thing that happened to the moron when he was president was 911 (it allowed his regime to ignore EVERYTHING else...katrina..the economy....social progress....) For Obama, the greates t hing seems to be the faltering economy (It allows HIM to ignore these genocidal wars which he seems hell-bent on continuing and escalating....) It is Time to end these WARS and the meaningless and senseless killing..not to mention the billions of dollars wasted in our pursuit of oil....

    July 9, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  25. jaye

    The republicans started two wars, allowed torture, bankrupted our country, etc. etc., and now they have the gaul to suggest that our new president isn't strong???????? Well, the republicans are trying their best to try and destroy Obamas administration, and it just won't work.
    The republicans are nazis.

    July 9, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
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