June 17th, 2010
04:58 PM ET
4 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. anagram_kid

    They did not call me. His performance is outstanding. If he had gone down there on day one and had the national guard take over, some on the right would accuse him of nationalizing oil drilling.

    The best person won the election and based on the lackluster offerings from the opposition, he will be in the job until 2016. Fine by me; I like having an intelligent and thoughtful person leading the nation.

    June 17, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. wildhorses

    Obama is a corporate puppet. He will continue to let BP drill off Our coast in federal waters for free, and pay no royalties, or taxes to America for taking our oil and profiting from it.

    Clinton told the big oil companies the US will waive the 16% royalty fee, if they drill out in the deep waters.

    I suggest we drill in Anwar-its on land and other lands, in shallow waters and withdraw all tax breaks to the oil companies and make them all pay royalties to the citizens(just like Governor Palin did for her citizens in Alaska).

    June 17, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Cap'n Bligh

    Heh heh, the CNN asylum inmates are turning on their master. It dares to run stories that dis the messiah!

    June 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Peter

    How about CNN focus on the poll of Democrats back in the day who cried and pleaded that De-regulation was a bad idea?

    June 17, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Palin Power

    We need President Sarah Palin instead for she will have this spill resolved by now. These kind of events will never ever happen under her watch for she is endowed by God and the Heavens to save this world from all of its woes and problems.

    June 17, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. bk

    Polls will come out just the way the pollsters want them to. Who really gives an honest answer to a poll? Get with the program. NO ONE CARES TO ANSWER DUMB LEADING QUESTIONS.

    President Obama is s-o-o-o-o much better than the previous administration. We all remember the mess they made of the country!

    June 17, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Smith in Oregon

    Today President Obama DID what no Republican lawmaker, nor Republican President has ever done NOR even tried.

    President Obama sat down with BP's Big Oil CEO and demanded a whopping 20 BILLION dollar escrow fund be set up to provide immediate funding to equipment, Gulf business, and Gulf resident Oil Spill related claims.

    As early as last week ALL of the Republican Lawmakers including House Congressional Minority John (drill baby drill) Boehner and US Senate Minority Leader Mitch (drill baby drill) McConnell who ALL stated that Federal Government AND BP needed to Pay for all the costs incurred. These crass and extremely callous comments spewing out of the mouths of the Republican leaders who have obstructed Unemployment benefits and a wide range of legislation over their hypocritical mantra of fiscal responsibility!

    Democratic President Obama from the beginning insisted that BP PAY for ALL of the damage, cleanup, claims, equipment and vessels needed to clean, correct and fix the damages incurred from BP's Crude Oil spill.

    Undoubtedly, with pre-existing lax and lame Gas and Oil laws written by Republican lawmakers over many decades severely limit liability and responsibility by Big Oil, Gas and Coal companys when accidents occur. AND Republican placed Federal Judges across the Gulf Region (50%) were elected directly with the help of Big Oil funding their campaigns. AND Bush jr. placed Big Oil's friend US Supreme Court Chief Justice into his jurist position.

    ALL of this, President Obama faced down with courage and conviction to force BP and its team of corporate Gas and Oil attorneys. It is likely President Obama had found evidence of neglect to follow reasonable safety regulations and President Obama suggested America would pull the extremely lucrative US Military Fuel contract from BP if BP didn't OK that enormous 20 BILLION dollar escrow account. Yes, that is hardball and that is why America needs a man such as President Obama and more Democratic lawmakers elected into public service.

    June 17, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. samantha

    Well the only good thing to come out of this is Jimmy Carter can now look in the mirror and know, that he is not the worse President anymore,. we have Obozo.

    June 17, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. felicia

    It's alright my President is the bomb and he is doing an awesome job. Doon't hate the player hate the game.

    June 17, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    Still, the big picture lesson from all of this has be completely ignored. This was a failure of BP's Industrial Safety program. The things that happened should have been caught several times along the way with an effective industrial safety program. This was completely preventable. Hopefully the federal government, who is supposed to be reviewing all company's industrial safety programs recognizes this wake-up call and does the necessary activities to head off the next industrial tragic industrial accident of this magnitude. There are plenty of other businesses that can cause this level of damage with and without oil.

    June 17, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. buckwheat

    Bottom line, if you want to vote pass a IQ test, and show your ID!!

    June 17, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. LizinStLouis

    All I can say is " keep up the great job you are doing Mr. Presidents". As it is the President is doing super well given the mess he inherited. I need not list those...he is a hands on president...too bad the GOP do not see what some of us see.

    June 17, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Liza

    I think the President is doing the very best he can during this crsis. I'm sure he's working serious over time on this. I find it pathetic that Americans can place all the blame on one person for this mess.

    June 17, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Wow yet another article about how it's Obama's fault BP can't figure out how to stop the leak and clean up the oil. It's cloudy today in my neighborhood, must be Obama's fault too.

    June 17, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. shane

    You get what you voted for. Someone with no (and I mean no) real expereience governing anything and we should be suprosed how things turned out.

    You can't learn leadership on the job. You either have it or you don't and Mr. President you don't have it.

    June 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Fed Up

    This is what America gets for electing a community organizer with no leadership skills.

    June 17, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. Augsbee

    Wait a minute, we should be impressed our President got $20 billion out of BP, the company that caused a catastrophe to our country???? What, did we actually think they were going to get away without paying a dime for the damage they caused the people of Louisiana, our ocean, our wildlife????? Since when do we thank the one that caused us damage for paying for it?????? Do you thank someone that smashes your car because their insurance company paid you the damage they caused you????? How ridiculous!!!!!!! As I recall you file a lawsuit to those that cause you damage and don't want to pay you for damages.

    June 17, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. ajax

    Obama is a terrible president and CNN can try to spin the poll numbers as much as they want but its not going to change the facts.

    June 17, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  19. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    At last we have a President who will not allow the American People to be Raped by Corporate America and people are complaining. It amazes me how stupid 1/2 of the American public truly are. Wake up folks we finally have a President who actually gives a crap about the Average American and you are slapping him in the face. I can not believe how brainwashed the Right truly is.....it is pathetic and sad. Wake up people!!

    June 17, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. Bassman

    Pres. Obama's statement have been confounding. He tells us he has not met with Tony Hayard because he will only tell the President what he wants to hear. If that statement is true, why did they meet?

    The white House tells us Pres. Obama will not get angry because it does nothing to stop the oil spill. If that statement is true, why did he get angry with Matt Lauer?

    One thing is obvious, Pres. Obama is following what some liberal commentators are saying he should do. That is not leading.

    June 17, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Molly1

    Frankly all anyone at the federal level can do is try. Looks to me like BP has led everyone into uncharted waters. The constant "grading," "polling" & analyzing of ANY President is counterproductive. Free speech (First Amendment) is wonderful, but some of the inflammatory remarks by one side or the other is not helpful to the debate.

    June 17, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Independent

    How can you compare this to Katrina? people died in Katrina?!!! People aren't drowning. So disgusting to compare this to Katrina. THIS WAS BPS FAULT AND OUR ADDICTION TO OIL!!!

    June 17, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. Anita

    The lawyers and advisers met and agreed on an amount , nothing to do with Obama , he just showed up for the photo op.

    June 17, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Anne P

    Oh my, do I detect a little insecurity from our GOP friends? Yes, it's been a tough day when the truth of your self-serving ways shine through so loud and clear. Now go get your blankies and have some cookies and milk and take a little rest. Your worn out scare call, "taxes are going up!" lie is very old by now. Come up w/some new material. Besides, most everyone I know had their taxes go down this past year. Most of us are moving forward without you.

    June 17, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Briana from RVA

    I think he's going a great job. I love America!!!!

    June 17, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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