June 17th, 2010
04:58 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama down 11 points on handling a crisis

The first poll conducted after the president's Tuesday night prime-time address indicates the number of Americans who currently think Obama is a strong and decisive leader has dropped.
The first poll conducted after the president's Tuesday night prime-time address indicates the number of Americans who currently think Obama is a strong and decisive leader has dropped.

Washington (CNN) – Is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Barack Obama's Katrina?

The first poll conducted after the president's Tuesday night prime-time address to the nation on the spill offers evidence that the public's view of Obama's leadership is following the same pattern that George W. Bush experienced after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in 2005.

In the wake of Katrina, the number of Americans who thought Bush was a strong and decisive leader dropped by more than 10 points. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday, the number who currently think Obama is a strong and decisive leader has dropped by seven points, from 60 percent in January to 53 percent now.

Full Results

The poll also indicates that fewer Americans think that Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis or that he can manage the government effectively. Fifty-three percent say the president is tough enough to handle a crisis, down 11 points from last year. And 49 percent say Obama can manage the government effectively, a drop of nine points from last year.

But on other dimensions, opinion of Obama holds up well - no change in the number who say he inspires confidence, that he is sincere, and that he cares about people.

"Obama's experience in the Gulf also differs from Bush's in one significant way - his overall approval rating at 50 percent, is virtually unchanged. Bush, by contrast, saw his overall approval rating drop by up to six points during September and October of 2005, although the change was not instantaneous, and his approval rating bounced around a bit during that time," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
How did the public react to Obama's first prime-time address from the Oval Office?

Roughly a third of all Americans say they heard or listened to some of the speech, which is fairly low in comparison to previous speeches given by Obama, and those who watched the speech were split in their opinion of the address.

53 percent of speech-watchers questioned in the poll say they had a positive reaction to the speech, with 47 percent saying they had a negative reaction.

"Obama's first State of the Union address got a positive reaction from nearly eight in ten Americans who watched that speech. One likely reason for the tepid reaction to this week's address is widespread skepticism that the federal government can achieve the objectives that Obama set forth on Tuesday night," adds Holland.

According to the poll, 58 percent are not confident that the government can prevent another oil spill like the one plaguing the Gulf today, and 68 percent are not confident that the government can restore the Gulf to its former condition.

The survey indicates that 63 percent are not confident that the government can reduce the demand for oil in this country, and 53 percent are uncertain whether the government will be able to make BP pay for all the damage it caused.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday, June 16, with 534 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Oil spill
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Who cares? The POTUS got 20 billion dollars out of BP and not a measly 75 million. Kick rocks!

    June 17, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Wisconsinite

    I am afraid that President Obama could not lead flies to a garbage can.

    June 17, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. ed fl

    I think President Obama needs to stay in Washington more and push his own agenda.he and his staff need to keep bringing the Fallacies of the GOP in the daylight and point out by name the politicians that are saying NO to all, and that includes the Dems also. If he doesn't he will not have to worry about the GOP in 2012 he will also need toworry about a Democratic contender.

    June 17, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. PalmReader

    Keep feeding the GOPers their crumbs, CNN. All told, it's been quite the disastrous day for GOPers, hasn't it?

    June 17, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. ib

    People are finally begining to see what a joke we have as president. All that matters is his far left agenda and he will push that no matter what it does to this country or the people of this country. Our taxes will go out of sight due to his uncontrolled spending and no it's not Bush's fault it's Obama's fault. You libs need to open your eyes and see what is really going on in this country under messiah Obama.

    June 17, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    If he does file a lawsuit against AZ, his numbers are going to hit the floor.

    June 17, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Andre Marshall

    President OBama is doing a great job! Thank you, president, I am thoroughly frustrated with the Media's one sided "ness". The Media (CNN) is outrageous. They only want to sensationize this tragedy!!!!!!!
    Repulicans are trying to politize this tragedy!!!! Shame on them, I thought people loss their lives. We shouldn't play politics with tragedy.

    Concern Citizen

    June 17, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. David in Houston

    What a crock...

    June 17, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Obozo's Recod Deficit + Higher Taxes

    OBOZO has accomplished what?
    Increased Taxes (Oh yeah, I love that)
    Increased Deficit (3-4 times worse than Bush, some change)
    OBOZOCare (which has done nothing but add to the two above)
    Oil Spill (slower response than Bush' Katrina)

    Some change,

    All talk,

    OBOZO basically stinks, worse than Jimmy Carter.

    BUSH > CARTER > OBOZO

    June 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. susie

    Obama needs to stop going to other states to CAMPAIGN for his fellow Democrats. He needs to stay in Washington and handle business.

    June 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. American Patriot

    I see by the comments in this story and others that the American people are waking up to the scam of Obama. I guess its better late than never. Remember, Nov 2010.

    June 17, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Janie

    I think our President is doing well. First of all, he made changes in the oversight organization but obviously that organization needed to move to clean up faster.Sorry, I do not remember that name of that organization. Anyway, it is well known that the federal government nor any of our agencies have the equipment to plug up a deep water well or any well, so BP had to be trusted at the beginning. He found out as did everyone the OILCOMPANIES know how to drill in deep water but haven't a clue how to plug those wells. He has moved rapidly to deal with this huge, huge disaster. He has had to deal with Republicans like Rep. Joe Barton who will criticize everything he does because they are in the pockets of big oil. Barton, who apologized to BP today is on the dole of BP by accepting over $319.000 in campaign contributions from BP. Republicans receive far moer $$$$ than do Democrats.

    June 17, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. jeff jackson, alabama

    Come on people, give the Prez a
    break. When he finally gets done
    campaigning he will probably get
    around to the oil spill. Just give him
    a little time.

    June 17, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Michael Welle

    Excuse me CNN, but those look like positive numbers you are reporting–53 percent say "strong and decisive" 53 percent say "tough enough"–what is wrong with those numbers? I mean isn't it like 53 percent that wins a presidential election? So what is the story?

    June 17, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Hall for Obama

    CNN go get a real POLL. I hope the GOP keep think this until 2012. The people you are polling did not vote for the President any way. How can they they want some good for the President when all they want is for him to FAIL you do know that don't you CNN. CNN are you taking side with the GOP? My BAD

    June 17, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Perry

    Notice that the liberal media is doing all the President bashing? Whose fault is this disaster?

    Why weren't safety measures added by law decades ago. Why did MMS look the other way when oil was involved.

    I know people wanted their hand held in this crisis, and no one did. If people are mad about that OK. But otherwise EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE IS BEING DONE.

    June 17, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. anagram_kid

    How is a poll of 534 people relevant? That is 0.0000023 of the adult population.

    June 17, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Larry

    I'd like to know where these polls come from.

    June 17, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. ConsiderThis - FL

    For all of you imbicils who think that President Obama is not handling this crisis the right way, why in the hell don't you tell the American people who would do a better job; or better yet, you handle it. You people are blinded by your hatred. America will NEVER eradicate racism or its affects. Yes, I said it. And don't try to deny it. Your actions speak volumes and your words are less than crap.

    June 17, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. The Man In Charge

    Funny to see all Liberals cry the following "What else is a President suppose to do, he is not Superman?” and truly believe there is not an answer to that question.

    Answer: Mobilize all available resources to stop the leak and begin the clean up efforts from Day 1, not DAY 56! Actions speak louder than empty promises! Obama needs to kick his own experts A double S for allowing him to be this incompetent! Appointing another Czar is a great example of his lack of leadership! America needs a leader, not an IDOL!

    Advice to Mr. Obama: Please refrain from playing golf or going on vacation, during a crisis!

    June 17, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Peter

    Obozo's Recod Deficit + Higher Taxes June 17th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

    OBOZO has accomplished what?
    Increased Taxes (Oh yeah, I love that)
    Increased Deficit (3-4 times worse than Bush, some change)
    OBOZOCare (which has done nothing but add to the two above)
    Oil Spill (slower response than Bush' Katrina)

    Some change,

    All talk,

    OBOZO basically stinks, worse than Jimmy Carter.

    BUSH > CARTER > OBOZO>>>>---–Obama is not perfect but lord knows i feel better with him at the switch than any single Republican!!! They would have found a way to cheat Americans out of any compensation due residents of the Gulf!!! God bless My President!!! November cant come any sooner!!! Out with Republicans!!! Case closed!!!

    June 17, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. AEK

    I find it quite disturbing that the conservatives commenting on this story are more concerned that the President is having some difficulty sorting out this UNPRECEDENTED crisis and totally forgetting how this whole thing got started. Most of us followed the the Bush years closely enough to predict this and other disasters because of the deregulation policies he instituted. Unless the current President, who actually cares more about the environment than the oil companies, makes the deregulation issues a major priority, we are in for more catastrophes like the gulf spill.

    June 17, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. M-AZ

    Mr. President,

    Keep up the good work. I think you are performing a juggling act and doing a hell of job...Those greedy christian republicans can go to HELL!

    June 17, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. eavg

    it's CNN's numbers that are in trouble, not president obama's.

    June 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. elaineb

    He just "shook down" BP for $20 billion and he, not their execs, made the announcement. He may be a bit too cool for some, but so far he is doing well in this crisis. And this was a growing crisis - from the reported 1,000 barrels per day to oil Armageddon because of the lies BP told. And for those who think the US should deal with the spill, what should they do, park a sub on the well?

    June 17, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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