July 10th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Do American care if Obama smokes?

President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on June 22.
President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on June 22.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Most Americans say that President Barack Obama's struggle to quit smoking doesn't change their views of him, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates that only a third say that they would like to see Obama give up cigarettes completely.

"Obama has admitted that he still smokes on occasion, but nearly nine in 10 Americans say that doesn't affect their view of him and only 12 percent think that indicates something negative about Obama himself," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Eighty-five percent believe that shows how hard it is to quit cigarettes."

One third of those questioned in the survey say that they would prefer that Obama never smoke again, with 18 percent feeling that an occasional cigarette is OK and 48 percent saying they would not mind if Obama smoked every day.

The poll suggests no ideological divide over the president's habit.

"Liberals are accused of getting into people's business. Do they care if President Obama smokes? No. About half say it's OK with them if he smokes every day," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "Conservatives? About half of conservatives also say it's also OK with them if the president smokes every day."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 26-28, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • President Obama
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Roger from CA

    I'm a very strong supporter of President Obama, but I have to say this was one of my strongest reservations about him.

    I generally have a very low opinion of smokers; and someone the President's age who is as intelligent as he is would have been well aware–before ever starting–that it had been conclusively proven that smoking is hazardous to one's health. Having lived through the same stage of life as he would have, and only a few years after he did, I don't understand how an intelligent kid would have gotten hooked.

    I'm sure that some combination of vanity, the bravado of teenage immortality, insecurity and peer pressure explains how most folks get addicted to cigarettes. We all know the stories of Obama's youthful drug use, so I suppose the (unfortunately) legal drug known as nicotine isn't all that surprising. It's just a little disappointing in this otherwise so admirable man.

    I hope he is being sincere that he is fighting his addiction as best he can. It would be wonderful if he can publicly manage to get past this while still in office, to show that quitting is possible, even when one has the most stressful of jobs and lifestyles.

    July 10, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Simmy

    I care if he can't influence Congress to pass a public option plan this year......Nothing else matters right now.....

    July 10, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Tom

    As long as he doesn't smoke in the White House or any other government building/vehicle!

    July 10, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. RNC countdown in 5,4,3,2,1....

    Easy national push. Obama should try to quit and invite the American public to do the same.

    BTW...You'd be surprised of the number of famous people and leaders are closet smokers....

    Let's keep it real folks!

    July 10, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. john gardner

    the answer is yes because he is a role model, and a good one, besides being a leader. as an ex-smokeri understand how tough it is, and in his job there is lots of stress 24-7. but I know how easy it is to rationalize a slip

    July 10, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Don't care.

    July 10, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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