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. Joy

    Obama down 11 points. The Republicans down all points after Barton's farcical retraction of his outrageous "shakedown" statement. How can these Republicans be so damn stupid and yet get elected?

    June 17, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Day WA

    Stop blaming Republicans.. they lost last elections and are not in power anymore. Start blaming yourselves or those that voted for incompetent public officials. Republicans power were dead after last election - so grow up Democrats, you are in control WhiteHosue, Congress and Senate. This is your time, your era and PLEASE SHOW some responsiblity and ownership of the mishaps this government has done for the last 59 days.

    June 17, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. guy from NM

    20 billions out of BP, that is all that matters right now. No one can fix the disaster, BP or the Feds.
    What a stupid poll, stupid questions. Restore the golf to its previous state? No one can. As for another spill, there will be more.

    June 17, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. janie

    In response to Smith in Oregon: Mr. Obama didn't force BP to do anythng. BP had so many legal issues with this spill that if they didn't agree to put up the 20B they would have spend more than that fighting the US gov in legalities. I'm sure Mr. Obama knew prior to the speech what was going to happen .

    June 17, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. anthony

    American Patriot,

    Someone from your Republican Party just apologized to British Petroleum after it caused the oil spill in the Gulf. It is Democrats who can't wait for November 2010.

    June 17, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. john

    a boy trying to do a mans job....he could not lead himself out of a wet paper bag....

    June 17, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Oregon Calling

    ConsiderThis – FL ............... well said!

    Peace :-)

    June 17, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Phredd

    Obama's approval ratings are much worse than this article states. Check the Rasmussen or Gallup polls.

    CNN is famous for over sampling democrats in their polls.

    June 17, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Thomas

    CNN didnt call me either.

    I think the president is doing an outstanding job...a hell of a lot better job than Bush, McCain or god forbid Palin would have done.

    McCain would have just grumped at them and Palin would have made sure that she personally profited from whatever deal was reached.

    June 17, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. Sniffit

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

    Why would he bother? Flies and garbage fall under the GOP's areas of expertise.

    June 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Janice Peebles

    Nobody called me! Now that just hurts my feeling. I say keep up the good work President Obama. I stand behind you and can't wait to vote for you again in 2012!

    June 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. works for me

    It is the intelligent among us that believe President Obama is on the right road. It is those that hold out hope of a truly better America lies in her future. He's also on a very thin fence. On one side here he steps on the nuts of BP and others while the other he's lambasted for taking away jobs. I could go on and on, but sometimes it's just not productive. President Obama is not God although he's the easiest target when the mirror, in reality, should be the target. We are all to blame... humans. It's in our DNA. Gotta have it and gotta have it now... mine... mine... mine!

    Let's face it... you just can't wake those pretending to be asleep.

    June 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Pat in Omaha

    President Obama address was a great example of an intelligent, no-nonsense, carefully constructed one. It was wrtten at a 10th grade level which was evidently too HIGH for some people complaining that he did not offer a plan or have a response!! It was excellent!
    And it is evident to me that there are also people who are very conflicted about what they want him to do...seems like the Repubs big demand has been for the leadership to stay out of the business world...but now they complain that he's not done enough, fast enough!
    A forget the polls...they can be manipulated to say whatever the present moment needs to hear!!

    June 17, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Brian fom NJ

    Agreed that BP should pay for the mess they made... however I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable giving the President, of either party, that kind of power... We have laws and courts to handle damages and it is NOT the President's job or constitutional right to demand $$ form the private sector for anything... Obama has taken over two car companies and handed over parts of them to the unions, an Insurance company and now is demanding $$ from a foreign company. Even the Democrats have to look at this behavior and worry... and to all those who think this so great, remember you felt that way when a Republican President does the same thing

    June 17, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. joy

    Yes; we need republicans to shield corporations like
    BP from devastating an entire region of our country- our economy and our environment! Please, CNN spare us your polls! I stopped watching you a long time ago.

    June 17, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Who do these poll takers call, certainly not the area I live in. None of my neighbors nor myself have ever been polled, on any subject at any time. We live in AR, but we have all our teeth, own our own retirement home in a private gated community and are educated beyond highschool. Oh, I just figured it out, we're educated, never mind. Don't call anyone educated.

    June 17, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Chuck

    I can say one thing, it took some big cahoonas to invite a guy by and demand $20 Billion. I'm not too fond of Obama but he showed something with that move...

    This also ends the debate in the congress over lifting the cap. I can't believe the republican;s in the Senate would block lifting the cap so close to elections. It really shows whose side their on...

    June 17, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Barbara - Atlanta

    Let's take a poll to see how long many people watch CNN? I'm sick of these bogus polls.

    June 17, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Looks like we need another Republican president who can get us into another war and take our minds off our problems here at home.

    June 17, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. snow

    I cannot understand how nobama's numbers are even as high as they are. If this was President Bush the liberals and the media would be screaming for his head but being it is nobama they mostly sign his praises. It was a sad day when nobama was put into the White House.

    June 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Bob H.

    I think he is doing just fine. Considering what was dished on to his plate by the greedy Republicans, Mother Nature and BP he is doing great. Problems like these do not go away over night. It takes time for problems like these to right themselves with the help of people and government and even then it DOES NOT HAPPEN
    OVERNIGHT!!! Patience people!

    June 17, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. w l jones

    We all need to take a course in public relation and basic law there by say what we want to without affending anbody. The 20 billion dollar is not peanuts in anybody pocket and people on the gulf dont have to worry about where there family will get there next meal . Way to go Mr. president...

    June 17, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. George of the jungle

    The president acts just how a president should calm and cool. He got 20 billion out of Bp and understands that the company has to run to pay the bills. UNlike the repo idiots who have been saying drill baby drill up till now. Smith in Oregon makes sense. I am proud of our leader and the polls have never called me. Who are these people complaining about taxes that have not been raised or adeficte that was out of control when he took office. ?

    June 17, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Maybe the American people want Superman or bigmouth,Rush Limbaugh to save us,he seems to have all the answers.

    June 17, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. Rainder Goyal

    I give high marks to the President for what he is doing and how he is doing his job and facing upto the challenges. Any other leader in his position would have fgainted in light of challenges he had to face. In January 2009, the country was faced with the worst economic crisis, and Obama took it head on and in a year has turned it around. From losing 750,000 jobs a month to creating an average of around 100,000 jobs a month is quite a turnaround. Then he passed a credit card bill of rights from the excesses of the credit card industry. Secretary Clinton has traveled around the world, and helped raised America's image around the world.

    And now, Iran faces tough economic sanctions from the world, thanks to the initiative taken by Obama. He signed the nuclear arms reduction trety with the Russians. And now, he is tackling the Gulf Oil Crisis with vigor and enthiusiasm. His administration's total resources are directed to this tragedy. And yesterday, he managed to convince the BP to come up with a 20 billion dollar escrow fund to finance the clean up and restoration work in the gulf, plus pay all the claims.

    He is a great President and time will prove so. Give him the credit he deserves. Its very easy to criticize. God bless Obama.

    June 17, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
1 2 3 4