Obama's second inauguration: Is the thrill gone?
January 21st, 2013
05:00 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama's second inauguration: Is the thrill gone?

Washington (CNN) – The excitement among Americans for President Barack Obama's first inauguration appears to have diminished as he begins his second term, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday morning also indicates that three out of every four Americans don't think the president's inauguration ceremonies will help bring a divided nation together.

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Four years ago, nearly seven in ten Americans questioned in a CNN survey said they were thrilled or happy that Barack Obama was about to be inaugurated. Now, according to CNN's latest poll, that number is down 18 points, to 50%.

Four years ago, six in ten saw Obama's inauguration as a celebration by all Americans of democracy in action, with just 39% saying it was a political celebration by the supporters of the winning candidate. Now, the numbers are nearly reversed, with 62% saying the second inauguration is a celebration by those backing the president, and 35% saying it's a celebration of democracy.

"The thrill is gone, along with the hope that the start of a new presidential term of office will bring a divided nation together," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In fact, Obama's second inaugural is shaping up less like his first one and more like the second inauguration of George W. Bush in 2005."

At Bush's second inaugural, held in January 2005, three-quarters said the ceremony would not heal the country's political divisions and 69% said the inauguration would just be a political celebration.

The 50% who say in 2013 they are thrilled or happy that Obama will be inaugurated is identical to the 50% who felt that way about Bush in 2005.

Americans do have higher expectations for Obama's inaugural address than for Bush's second speech. But even on that measure, the public is not in the same place it was in 2009. Four years ago, 85% expected an excellent or good speech from Obama, with 65% feeling that way now.

The president's inauguration falls on the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. Obama's first inauguration created a major change in attitudes toward race relations in the country that have remained stable throughout Obama's first term.

Back in 2008, only a third of all Americans said that the U.S. had achieved the vision outlined in King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In January 2009, that jumped to 49%, and has remained at that level ever since.

Currently, 50% say the country has fulfilled King's vision; another 27% say that will happen eventually and 22% say that King's vision will never be fulfilled. In 2008, a 41% plurality said that King's vision would eventually be fulfilled, but only 34% said that had already happened.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on Jan. 14-15, with 814 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    We are all to aware how reliable polls are

    January 21, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Nov 6 answered that question. Six million republicans stayed home but the unhinged GOBP tea potty didn't notice.

    January 21, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  3. LIZA

    Mr. Obama has only to remember one thing: His faith in someone greater than all of us will be the answer. I really do not believe that God brought him this far to leave him.

    January 21, 2013 06:56 am at 6:56 am |