December 3rd, 2008
04:06 PM ET
13 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. Rick

    With the potential exception of Eric Holder, I would agree. Holder may be much deeper into the completely inexcusable pardon of Marc Rich that he's let on to. Not sure we want that as our chief law enforcement officer. This should be an interesting confirmation hearing and he should get grilled on the subject.

    December 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Silence Dogood

    Hillary will really turn our international image around. Go Hillary!

    December 3, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Debby, NJ

    You Go President elect Obama

    December 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |

    <3 my President-Elect!

    December 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Beth

    I'm very happy with his Cabinet picks. January 20th can't come soon enough!!

    December 3, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Mike

    Not sure about Hillary as SoS but other than that pretty darn good.

    December 3, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. JD

    So far, so good

    December 3, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Geeque - Chicago,IL

    Good Job Mr. President Elect, your cabinet selection so far has been superb. Chi-Town Stand Up !!

    December 3, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. miguel

    This poll simply indicates that Republican voters are better losers and more willing to give opponents the benefit of the doubt. Democrats would have given an unfavorable rating to Bush's selections eight years ago no matter who they were.

    December 3, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Ms Jenny

    As evidenced by his cabinet choices, his campaign, and just about everything he's done in his life, Barack Obama is a brilliant individual. He is going to make an excellent leader for our country!

    December 3, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. nclaw441

    My guess is that fully 90% of the public could not name more than one cabinet appointee. As a good friend of mine says, average is pretty stupid, or in this case, pretty ignorant. We need to rethink some of these polls.

    December 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. ran

    I believe Richardson would have been a better pick for SOS and HC should have stayed in the Senate or gone to Health and Human Services.

    December 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    They, the public, approved of Bush's cabinet pick too.

    December 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Latina for Obama

    Yes we do! so far,so good...

    December 3, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. GOP=Epic Fail

    I'm cool with Obama's choices.

    I will never forget all of the oil executives and middle east businessmen that bush put into his cabinet.

    December 3, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. AER

    Clinton was a great pick and she would have been an outstanding President but he did it to get her out of the country and remove her from her Senate position where she could have continued to disagree with him on policies, programs and funding. Now for the most part, he has rendered her mute, except for opinions behind closed doors,

    December 3, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Conservative James, Phoenix, AZ

    Obama-bashers begin your diatribes; ten, nine, eight, seven . . . .

    Oh, wait a minute, their god Rush may still be on in some markets, and the hasn't told them how to think today.

    December 3, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. billy-bayou

    Sure would be nice to know who is pulling the strings of the obama puppet.

    December 3, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. chris

    Yeah, whatever. Too bad you poll only lefties and code pink voters in your unobjective tallies. Where is the "change" he so staunchly campaigned on? Just more of he same crap in a new wrapper. I wish you luck Mr. Obama, you are not my president but I respect the office not the man. Please prove me wrong, make me believe in "change", but don't make me pay for it.

    December 3, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. ck

    I just dont see where the "change" will be.

    December 3, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. tennyson

    mr president elect is doing right thing at the moment .lets see what next

    December 3, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Mari

    Gee, he picked Clinton. There's some of that promised change...NOT!

    December 3, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    Change you can xerox!

    December 3, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Larry

    I like the selections, but shouldn't we wait to see how they perform in office before offering our approval/disapproval?

    December 3, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. J from New York

    OK! I agree with the choices. Where are all the critics against Obama? Hiliary should be this or that...sounds choices are always made on the other side of a fight.

    America (FOREVER!!!)

    December 3, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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