December 3rd, 2008
04:06 PM ET
14 years ago

Poll shows public approves of Obama's Cabinet picks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Americans are happy with Obama's Cabinet choices so far."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that Americans think President-elect Barack Obama's getting it right when it comes to his Cabinet picks, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.

Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey approve of Obama's Cabinet choices, with 22 percent disapproving. That's 16 points higher than those in favor of then President-elect George W. Bush's Cabinet picks eight years ago.

The poll indicates that 71 percent approve of Obama's nomination of Clinton, the senator from New York, as his secretary of state. Democrats overwhelming approve of the choice, with two-thirds of independents agreeing and Republicans split on the pick.

Clinton and Obama were rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination during the very long and bitter primary season and the two didn't see eye to eye on some major international issues.

But the poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, suggests that when Clinton and Obama disagree, Clinton won't go rogue.

"Will Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton try to push their own foreign policy agenda? Americans say no,"states CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Fifty-seven percent say that Clinton will follow Obama's policies rather than her own when she disagrees with the president and 54 percent think that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will stay out of U.S. foreign policy.

Holland adds that the "favorable ratings for both Clintons have risen dramatically since the election."

Americans also seem to like Obama's move to keep current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was appointed two years ago by President Bush, at the Pentagon for at least the next year. Eighty-three percent of those polled approve of the move, with just 15 percent disapproving.

Many of Obama's choices for his Cabinet, his White House staff, and other high level positions in his incoming administration, are people who have ties to Washington and to the Clinton administration. But nearly three quarters of those questioned think that an Obama administration made up of such Washington insiders can bring about change. A similar amount feel that that the Obama Cabinet should be made up mostly of people who have served in the federal government in Washington.

And 88 percent feel that an Obama Cabinet made up of former rivals and opponents of the president-elect will be able to work together.

"Obama is so popular that 52 percent of Republicans approve of his Cabinet choices," Holland adds.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey was conducted by telephone with 1,096 adult Americans questioned. The surveys' sampling error is plur or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. chris

    Experience and intelligence really do count. Couldn't be happier with Obamas choices. We've been without intelligence for 8 long years and it will take another 8 years to get us back on track. Obama and company are the ones to do it. Bush says he is going out of office with his head held high. He should put on the uniform and carry all the weight our boys and girls do. He should know what it feels like since he is the one who started our first pre-emptive war. Go join up and do what our troops have done. Go back for 4 tours of duty and then maybe Bush can hold his head up high. But then again, the only thing Bush knows how to do is chop wood. Go back to Crawford and try to sleep at night.

    December 3, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. DE

    Looks like now that Obama has been elected, he is following Bush's policies on Iraq (Gates) and his economic policies (Geithner). While I agree on his defense secretary, his economic team may send us into a depression, much like FDR'S social programs did did in the 30's.

    December 3, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Anita

    When Obama stated change, he meant it. I think people don't understand what "change" means. Change dosen't mean new faces, it means new ideas or a new approach from the old. Choosing your cabinet earlier, having diferent poliical backgrounds in your cabinets, meeting with governors, have an economic package ready before your actually sworn in. These factors alone is very different from any other President-Elect.

    December 3, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Mike


    December 3, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  5. nganenu

    Dear Obam,
    god bless you. Please let us know if there is any cost for your inauguaration. it should be the people's like your election. Your White House is the people's White House. god bless America


    December 3, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. annie - Palin 2012

    Where is john kerry and his gigantic ego? No room for 2 gigantic egos?

    December 3, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Rush Lameduck

    People will never learn.They still believe in these polls that are madeup to influence our direction,and like stupid sheep they follow.

    December 3, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. nganenu

    Dear Obam
    You're the smartest man in this country. make swallow their ago and serve the nation. make the know what it means to be elected. let them understand they represent us

    December 3, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. no bailouts

    the change is here, brilliant minds, all in agreement.

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. No Hillary = No Obama

    Sooner or later this love affair with Obama will come to an end. Then this nation will be grappling with a bad case of cognitive dissonance – and the media who promoted him, indulged him and did everything but elect him will be eating alot of crow.

    December 3, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. Smart Move

    HA HA HA brilliant? Please-all Obama is doing is taking us back to the Cilnton era.Picking Joe Biden as VP and Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security Secretary were probably the most insane choices he`s made so far.

    December 3, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Smart Move

    Well nganeu he`s smarter than you that`s for sure.

    December 3, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  13. voter

    I don't approve of Hillary the traveling circus to be nominated as secretary of state. she and bill are full of drama which we don't need at this time. With the exception of Clinton, I am happy with Obama's cabinet picks.

    December 3, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Mr. Paulien Guillott Jr.

    Why do all media correspondents/reporters refer to the upcoming GOP Senate as "filibuster proof" when it isn't ?.
    The GOP Senate could however, be CLOTURE proof.

    December 3, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Sara from Arizona

    Clinton as SOS, Pathetic.

    December 3, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Bohica

    I like his cabinet picks and for the person who said FDR put us in a depression due to his social programs go read a history book. His social programs like the WPA were in RESPONSE to the depression. Wall Street and the banks helped put us in the depression.

    December 3, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Bohica

    annie Palin....... Palin is the one with the ego so big I dont know how she fits through a door. Small mind ..... big ego..............Dont you get that Palin cost Mccain the election? I know people who actually were pro Mccain till he picked PALIN

    December 3, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Bohica

    steve I am a college graduate and I voted for Obama

    December 3, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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