December 24th, 2008
09:05 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama transition draws approval of 4 in 5 Americans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama is drawing the approval of 4 in 5 Americans in a new CNN/ORC poll."] (CNN) - Hawaii's always been a great spot for honeymoons - and Barack Obama, who's spending the holiday season there on the beach at Kailua, is unquestionably having one of the best in modern presidential history.

Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That's up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama's handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.

The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.

"Barack Obama is having a better honeymoon with the American public than any incoming president in the past three decades. He's putting up better numbers, usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll also suggests that the public approves of the President-elect's cabinet nominees, with 56 percent of those questioned saying Obama's appointments have been outstanding or above average, with 32 percent feeling the picks have been average, and 11 percent saying Obama's choices have been below average or poor.

That 56 percent figure is 18 points higher than those who said then President-elect Bush's cabinet appointments were outstanding or above average and 26 points higher than those who felt the same way about then President-elect Clinton's nominees.

"Obama walks in with nearly twice the support on the economy that President-elect Clinton had in January, 1993, and he beats Ronald Reagan as well," adds Holland.

A third say that their impression of Obama has gotten better since the election, with only 8 percent saying their opinion has gotten worse.

Presidents usually start to lose support once they assume office and start making the tough decisions. But with eight in ten currently approving of Obama, he can give away 20 or 30 points, estimates Holland, and still have a majority of the country on his side.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Obama transition
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. pam Eugene OR

    It is well deserved. I am sure that 15% will have 90% of the negative things to say!

    December 24, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Stephen, Missouri

    Obama has done an excellent job of picking a formidable cabinet and must be supported. I know he his cabinet will do a fine job...I know this guy has a sense of duty and a sense of history.

    He is looking to be the best President ever and so I know he will work his tail off to leave a legacy of a renewed America.

    Godspead mr President-elect, enjoy your holiday and know we will support you fully in the coming days.

    I have always been a gay and les suppporter, but after the way you have been behaving, I am starting t wonder if you too are agents of intolerant. Obama is a smart man and he knows what he is doing...did you notice Warren already altered his website??? Get on with the program...this administration if for stron-willed not whiners.

    December 24, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Ken in NC

    Thank you CNN for posting the story about the private service for PE Obama's Grand Mother and thanks for not allowing comments to be posted so the haters could not be disrespectful to him and to her memory.

    December 24, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. demwit

    I love Obama's war team!!

    December 24, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Ray Fisher

    Thus far President Obama has been a breath of fresh air versus our current situation. The time has come for America to shift to a positive outlook on the economy, environment, energy, conservation and a general rebirth of the America Dream and Spirit. Instead of simply reporting the bad news, we should be reading the success stories of businesses who have been responsible, capable and American owned. While not against any foreign entity, America must rebuild our industrial capacity because as America goes, so goes the world. CNN is reporting Lance corporation buying Archway putting people back to work in Ohio which should be highlighted by our new President along with others which exhibit positive actions. America has is enduring bad news by the boatload so it is time we celebrated a little good news!!!

    December 24, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Sandy

    Merry Christmas Mr. PE !!!!

    December 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Kim

    He's doing great so far, and I can't wait for him to take office!

    December 24, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. MikeH

    My hope is that he listens to, and acts upon, what the scientific minded folks, he has surrounded himself with, tell him is the best course of action to achieve the best results for the greatest number of people. And it all starts with education based upon science.

    Also, take back all the money from the fat cats who plundered stole from the American people. Put all utilities back under municipal control, this 'Privatization' crap is just more looting of America.

    I expect taxes. I demand that America grow up and pay for what it wants. Infrastructure is more important as a B-2 bomber (cost = 1$Billion).

    December 24, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Irma in North Carolina

    Obama will just do fine if the republicans dont give him too much trouble.

    December 24, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Retired Army in San Antonio

    "CNN Poll: Obama transition draws approval of 4 in 5 Americans"


    That means that CCC only polls Democrats.......OR.......there are a lot of Reublicans (gasp!) who are able to admit that they like the way he's handling his current business.

    What do YOU think?????

    December 24, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. ran

    It had to go up given what we the people have had to endure these last 8 yrs. I know Obama will do all he can to get this country working for us all. The only road blocks I see will be the Republicans especially in the senate.

    December 24, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Tracy M.

    After the first shock of realizing Obama invited what I would consider to be a foaming-at-the-mouth, homophobic imbecile to preside over his inauguration ceremony, I realized that this is what he meant when he kept pushing "unity" during the campaign. It really is time we got over ourselves and worked together for a common cause. Whether you believe in evolution or Adam and Eve; whether you're gay or straight, we all need to become more involved and more positive about our future. As my dad used to say, "You can't fall off the bed when you're sleeping on the floor!" Nowhere to go but up, baby.

    December 24, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. billy-bayou

    Is there anyone out there that is surprised by this revelation? What crap. Anything to make the "great himself" appear to rize above all others.
    Take a long hard look at the Blago mess in ckicage, think Blago, Emanuel, Rezko, Ayers, Dorn,Khalidi, Rev. Wright, followers of the Sol Alinskey idolegy. Birds of a feather flock together.....Barack anyone?

    December 24, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. NY Woman

    That's because Obama is inclusive and not divisive. He has even given Republicans a chance.

    That is how a President should be. Not just cater to the left or right, but to the majority of people. And yes, there will always be people who wont like him because of his skin color or his name, but he knows this and has accepted it.

    200 yrs from now Obama will be remembered as one of the great American presidents, like Lincoln and JFK.

    December 24, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. A.P

    EP Obama means HOPE OF AMERICA.
    Obama for America, For world.

    December 24, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Denise

    RIP Toot. I am sure she knew he would win

    December 24, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Obama disapproval to rise.......

    right along with the unemployment and foreclosure rates. It's one term and out for the false Messiah.

    December 24, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. sunshine

    make it 5 in 5, i'm no. 5. MERRY "CHRIST"mas.

    December 24, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. yellow dog democrat

    Wait till he gets in office - when he can actually start implementing his plans - this guy (I don't know where they found him – but am glad they did) is proof that this country despite some of the rough edges has the ability to let anyone with enough gumption and smarts "shine"...notice that 11% "disapprove" – you can see a lot of those "show up here" with their negative comments.....trying their best to show how smart they are (not!!).

    Obama is his own man....and this is something brand new for this country....I am very proud of the millions of voters that put him in office and of those that even though they didn't vote for Obama are showing a good wait and see positive attitude.

    December 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |


    December 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. nat 4 Obama

    I think it's a great idea to go back home and relax, everyone needs to realize that this man has a huge plate on him when January comes, he needs to relax and pull up his shirt sleeves and dig in. I wish him the best in the White House, I have faith that he will be alright, I am not worried.

    December 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. charzie, NY

    Go, Barack, Go ! You continue to make America proud. The 15% of Americans who don't like what he is doing since he won the election probably have their own better choices-"they themselves" would have super-duper selections, and know so much better than one of the most brilliant political minds this country has ever had the privilege of being led by. Those 15 % were also probably a portion of those who stayed at home on ElectionDay with their TV remotes, lying a couch, slugging down snacks. Yes, they certainly are in a position to criticize cabinet members and administrative team choices. Their "percentages" should not even be mentioned in any newsworthy poll.

    December 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Richard Rohde

    Did you hear Biden say that none of the new stimulus money would be earmarked? Dingy Harry Reid has already promised Nevada 1 Billion dollars, read the Nevada papers.

    December 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. naqib

    There is a lot of hope right now... and that's a good thing.
    The honeymoon will end... but I'm hopeful when the work starts the results will be good. It will take time... but we will recover. We did in 80, 92 and 01. Although this recession is a tougher than the previous two.

    December 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Iraq war vet for Obama

    We havent seen nothing yet. This man will be one of the finest Presidents this country has ever had. Fundemental change is coming to America !!!

    December 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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