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. Richard Komi

    The president may be down on point but we should remember that he advocated for bio-fuel and renewable energy during the campaign but the majority of the country wanted a quick way to easy lifestyle and that is why we have the problem of oil spill. If we had concentrated our efforts on creating new energy sources oil would have been gradually going on the back shelf in terms of how we power America.

    June 17, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Bob of Lompoc

    Percentages up, percentages down. Doesn't matter. Just think Americans. Remember – GEORGE W. BUSH! It is his mess we are cleaning up. It may take a whole term dto do it.

    June 17, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Senator

    I'd rather have OBOZO then that Son of a Bush anyday of the week. Bush created the mess that caused the taxes to be raised, the deficit was there when President Obama came into office: Obama didnt lie to the country and send us into that unjust war which has cost more than any program that President Obama has signed off on. Bush is the cause of every death in Iraq: He has caused agony in thousands of service men and women's lives and their family and we're still paying for that lie.

    June 17, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Amazed!!

    Way to go Obama!! 20 BILLION DOLLARS from BP!!! If Joe Barton thinks this country should apologize to BP then why not raid his piggy bank and let him pay the bills for the gulf oil spill!!! Bet he'd keep is idiotic and totally inept mouth shut then!! Texas if you vote this looser in again you should have your heads examined!!

    June 17, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Amazed!!

    BTW: CNN a poll of 534 people is not even worth reporting besides my business stats professor said that a sample should have at least a 1000 participants to be considered big enough for accurate results. I don't know who does your stats but you should give them a computer instead of fingers and toes which would make your polls more credible!

    June 17, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. thor

    How do you like that safety award that Obama gave BP last year.?

    June 17, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. joe m

    this number will go up if what the president claimed, that in the next few weeks the amount of oil being recovered will increase, does not come to be. the president tried to look in-charge, but he only came across as a politician with an agenda to push. his claim that his administration has been in charge for day one is a hollow claim and few accept and believe this claim. the longer the spill continues the higher the disapproval rate will go, and it can very much reflect dramitically in the Nov mid-terms.

    June 17, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. dclawfd

    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.

    Tell me this was a joke! LMAO

    June 17, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. TonyInLargo

    Obama is handling this disaster quantum leaps better than any one elected official now in office ever could. It's very easy to second guess, but not that easy to get it right. President Obama has it right, period.

    Republicans are upset because those affected by the disaster will not have to litigate in court and knit-pick BP for compensation based on their losses, thanks to President Obama who made it clear to BP in the White House meeting.

    This isn't Iced Tea, Instant Coffee or a TV Dinner. He stated it clearly. He assembled the best minds in the country to deal with it early on and he continues to take the appropriate steps to protect those affected. He is way above all the Republican "leaders" who have spoken on the matter, including those who feel sorry for the "shake down on BP".

    June 17, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. Kevin Collins

    Well, if it were Bush, he'd be kissing butt to Big Oil just like Barton unconscionably did today.

    June 17, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. Kathey C

    Thank you Andre Marshall. President Obama is doing a great job. The Media (CNN and Fake news) are always doing polls that bring him down. I have yet to be included in just one of these and I read CNN everyday. Just where are these polls? No matter what the President does someone in the news will him look bad, Glenn Beck can go to hell, he and all his nut jobs are what is wrong with this country.

    June 17, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    About the same drop in IQ points of Americans- interesting!

    June 17, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. Jim

    What a sad people we have become! We should call our country the "UN-UNITED" STATES OF AMERICA. People never try to work together for a common cause. They play the blame game, are quick to judge others, when they themselves have no answer to the many complex problems we have. Our people are impatient, they hold to past prejudices which comes from their socialization and or social influences and many have walked away from the "God" their ancesters came over to the "New World" to freely serve.

    June 17, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. D.

    "Handling" is not the right word in this case!

    June 17, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Dean

    Down 11 only. Should be down 25. He has been an utter disaster. Regret voting for this liar and non-commander and thief.

    June 17, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. Tony

    Imagine/visualize what GOP/tea party would have said if Obama assembled czar over Gulf disaster in the early days?

    Another government takeover – am I right?

    So, given that Obama allowed a viable corporate enterprise work it's magic as GOP indicates corporations are better prepared to handle such crisis it appears the GOP thanks Obama should have taken over from day one.....

    The GOP is party of NO. GOP has fought for less regulation and prefer to disband all environmentalist. Now, that a crisis, the GOP are demanding what?

    June 17, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Media you made this joke now live with it!

    June 17, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  18. Cindy

    $20 billion from BP... Bravo, Mr. President!

    What would a Republican President have gotten? Nothing. Maybe.. encourage the private sector to do a telethon or something... with lots of American Flags all around...

    June 17, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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