February 13th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Trouble signs for Obama over Cabinet picks?

Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.

Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four weeks into his administration, President Barack Obama is still searching for secretaries of Commerce and Health and Human Services.

But six out of 10 Americans think Obama is doing a good job choosing members of his Cabinet, according to a national poll. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released this week suggests that 61 percent of those questioned give the president a thumbs-up when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 38 percent saying Obama is doing a poor job selecting the top officials in his administration.

While 61 percent is a solid majority, it's far lower than the 80 percent of respondents who say Obama is providing strong leadership for the country, the 76 percent who feel he's doing a good job handling foreign policy, the 72 percent who indicate Obama's doing a good job dealing with the economy and the 68 percent who give the President a thumbs-up when it comes to handling policies on terrorism.

It's also 15 points lower than the president's overall approval rating of 76 percent.

"His approval rating on choosing his Cabinet is a good number, but it's his biggest weakness," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 7-8, before Senator Judd Gregg stepped down Thursday from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, but after former Senator Tom Daschle dropped out earlier this month as Health and Human Services nominee. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico also stepped down at the beginning of the year from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, bringing the number of formal Obama Cabinet nominees to drop out to three.

When former President George W. Bush was moving into the White House in 2001, only one of his Cabinet designates stepped down after being nominated; the same with Bill Clinton when he was taking over the presidency back in 1993.

When broken down by party, the poll suggests that 88 percent of Democratic respondents say Obama is doing a good job when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 11 percent saying he's doing a poor job. It's a different story among Republicans, with 36 percent giving Obama the thumbs-up and 64 percent feeling the President's doing a poor job when it comes to choosing the top members of his administration.

"Democrats are standing by him. Republicans aren't, even though he used some of his Cabinet picks to reach out to the GOP," adds Holland.

Gregg would have joined Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet.

The poll questioned 806 adult Americans by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (729 Responses)
  1. Don

    You people are always too worried about polls. Revisit these things two years from now when we are in the grips of a 2-3 year old recession. Ruling by poll is stupid. Leadership is born of having a moral, logical core; creating a plan that makes sense and following the plan despite criticism. Compromising your principles is the art of a Congressman. Obama aims to please everyone and will end up pleasing no one. The Grand Porkulus Giveaway will cost us trillions and help few. You wobbly centrists will regret that you voted for this political novice and economic neophyte.

    February 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. ron

    i highly doubt that 6 out of 10 people can name any three obama cabinet picks. "uh... clinton...uh uh the tax cheat guy... uh.. " so i guess that 6 out of t10 people are still simply blinded by his light.

    February 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. sherry

    Obama dont pick anymore republican's........They sir do not have good intention's.
    They do not want you to succeed.
    Sad but true

    February 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Bully

    After hearing Judd speaking last night we are better off without him. Sounded like a drunk to me.. we dont need a wishy washy person to hold an important position.

    The GOP screwed the American people yet they are acting like it was the Democrats fault.

    February 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Justin from New Haven, CT

    I am Probama, but I think his Cabinet selection process has been atrocious.

    February 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Joan

    go ahead don't print my thoughs because they are true.

    February 13, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Jean

    What about all the lobbyists in his cabinet.

    "Lobbyists had Bill Before Lawmakers Did"

    Where is the change?

    February 13, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Joan

    All the liberals want to do is spend someone elses money....that is a fact.

    February 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. CW

    Some people are not being fair to President Obama. What I want to ask you all, how long has it been since President Obama in office? Please give him a chance to do his job. My recommendation for you all is to pray for him to do a better job than our last President and for our country. Stop being so negative and unfair.

    February 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Reality

    senator gregg is an idiot !!!

    February 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. ellett

    "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

    The late Dr. Adrian Rogers , 1931 to 2005

    February 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. greed is not good

    Rhetorical question. Obama can't control if Gregg is a 2-faced flip flop, or
    if appointees were dishonest on their tax returns.

    February 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. Jim

    THE GREASTEST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!! Hands down. Makes Jefferson look like a dim wit, Lincoln couldn't complete a sentence compared to our magical POTUS, FDR doesn't know the meaning of hope compared to BO. He's also the greatest war time leader ever. Makes George Washington and Ike look like amateurs. Thank God we have him for 7 years and 49 weeks more. Or should I say Thank Obama

    February 13, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Joan



    February 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Chris

    One term repeat after me one term

    February 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. E.C.Coleman

    Obama is the least equipped presidential choice that the United States has ever elected. It is pitiful to observe the weakness and his inability to 'lead' as this country has seen since the inauguration.

    This man has no concept of what he is doing or how this economic
    situation should be handled. Just because obama believes in unbridled spending, does NOT mean that he will succeed.

    In addition, that obama does NOT support nor demand that the stupid LoH, Pelosi, conduct this stimulus package plan in a bi-partisan manner, is an outrage.
    This and all Obama's hundreds of 'hollow promises' will cause this country to hit rock bottom.
    Obama can not be trusted; my opinion formed early, from the gitgo.

    February 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. dennisk

    Considering that Bush's approval rating was in the low 20s when he left office, I don't think a parced 60+ approval is anything to get worked up over.

    February 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. pete

    You have to love the way Obama kept saying that he has inherited the current economic problems. A sign of a true great leader, to blame it on someone else.

    Funny, I don't recall Bush saying he inherited the mess of 9-11.

    February 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Jay

    We have this new prsident for less than a month and I do not know why the tv, media, cable folks focus so much on such short term results.
    Guess what, these short term focus in the life of the wall street, the half hour tv shows, where we seem to address issues and solve them majically, is the cause of many of our problems.

    How about if CNN does it's own critical review of what you have done in the last month and have the readers rate you folks?

    How about using your great minds to think critcally and focus on long term solutions and give the president and his team some breathing room to address our pressing issues and have them develop solutions>

    You might do some real justice to all of us. Take the lead and see if you can get the other sources to follow.


    February 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Naomi

    I am going back to my corner......

    Enough with elections already.

    Time to back up our President for the good of the country!

    February 13, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. pete

    Where is Bozo? Has anyone seen Bozo? BOZO, are you in hear? Boze?

    February 13, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Not Racist

    Hmm, how do I say this politely without sounding like a racist. Obama needs to stop picking the w/p for his cabinent. These people are no good. Had they been Black or Latino, these folks would be in jail right now for the crimes(tax evasion) if society allowed them to go that far. I think from now on he should pick blacks, latinos, asians, and koreans. Leave the w/p alone right about now. The majority are not clean cutt. Also, leave the Republicans alone. They got us into this mess and I could not trust them to get us out of it.

    February 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Richard R. Schumacher

    I can't imagine what the American people want. It seems that whenever Obama makes a selection regarding his cabinet someone always had a better pick. Since he was handed the biggest mess in our country's history (financial, political and in world affairs) he has made a strong stand in each area only to have members of his own party (once they finish primping for the camera) doubt his sincerity and the Republicans–well they certainly know better than anyone–just look what the left for this man to clean up. I am also fed up with Wall Street and their antics. They too can't quite decide what they want–I blame much of what has happened to these folks who appear to be the most jittery people on earth-get a grip! Finally I am most dissapointed in our CONGRESS! These folks should not be permitted to be in office longer than two terms and should not be entitled to health care and life-long pension after their two year term has been completed. I can invision the American Middle becoming very tired of all of this and somehow revolting with an emphasis on Congressional term limits and perks that are not earned.


    February 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Conner

    Like Obama care about the 'common man/woman' Whatever! Wake up people!!

    Pushing dog parks when people are without a job or home. What a horrible joke!

    February 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |


    February 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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