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. Alex IL

    Those are completely different pool questions. Do you think we are stupid or what?
    I can't imagine what would happen if McCain would win presidency. We would be Third World Country by now. DJI would be at 5000. Wall Street should think about that and be glad that we got Obama. Obama is doing the best in this mess that Bush and his R fellows made. Running and mobilizing all the forces the jump economy and the whole system.
    R's will be written in history as big losers for they didn’t support one of the greatest projects in the history of this great country. And they better be stop sabotaging government efforts to do something good for all of us.

    February 13, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Capital Insider

    @Sami no more than our fellow mean spirited Democrats who are attacking Republicans. Look we won, let's take the high road.

    February 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. casual observer

    Obama's approach to bi-partisanship seems to be to open up a dialogue with the right, with the sole intent of convincing them that his ideas are better. He has overestimated his power of persuasion.

    February 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Cyrus

    Gregg was a patsy for the Republican party leadership. I am surprised that no one saw this coming!!! They talked him out of this position that he really wanted. Just so that republicans can make Obama administration look inexperienced and too partisan. It's a perfect set up! You make ur opponent look like not keeping his campaign promise, and uncompromising...and then you step aside like a martyr, citing ideological differences, and let the voters spit at the new guy.

    February 13, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Jeff

    There is seemingly a poll every hour of every day. Are we going to poll to see if we approve of the way Obama relieves himself??? Geez! Enough already. Let the man govern for a few weeks without all the criticism. He has a huge task in front of him (he's up to his neck in Bush's you-know-what). While you may not agree with everything (or anything) the man does, give him a shot and let's all hope it works. We need it!

    February 13, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. suzanne valenzuela

    It aggrivates me when i read titles such as this one. Poll: Trouble signs for Obama, no one's Polled me or anyone I know so what Poll are you talking about and what people have been polled. Everyone I know and myself included feel Obama is doing a GREAT JOB !!! and we don't have a problem with his decisions. Now Poll that !!!

    February 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. baker

    I do wonder why the comment sections following an article that reflects negatively on President Obama are left open so much longer than the negative articles from the previous administration? But I must agree wholeheartedly with boered1 and say, "BRAVO! K. Parks!" Well said indeed.

    February 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Gina - California

    Already the media is ready to criticize Obama. The public wants results right now. Shameful. If you can do a better job in this sickened economy, why don't you run for office. See if you can do better. If not, then shutup.

    February 13, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Jeff

    Obama–Nominate Michael Bloomberg. You get another token "Republican" and a smart businessman to boot. He would be brilliant in the role.

    February 13, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. EX-Republican

    This will create more problems for the GOP come 2010 elections. This is a HUGE red flag for American's that the Republican party is still playing politics as usual, and that they are unwilling to cooperate with bipartisanship with the Democrats.

    That was a BAD, BAD move by Gregg. The Republican party is going to see HUGE loses in 2010 both in the House and the Senate because their attitude is still the same! They are still UNWILLING to listen to the people, and to work with BIPARTISANSHIP.

    I called it first CNN. The Republicans are going to lose an average of 5-7 more House seats and will lose 2-3 more Senate seats!!!

    As the Minority Republican Leader said two weeks ago "The Republican party will be a marginalized party because no one is listening to us, and no one cares what we have to say." "On top of it all, we NEVER have any fresh ideas to bring to the table."

    February 13, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Ernie

    It is unfortunate that there are so many Americans blindly supporting Obama whether he is making progress or not.

    He has flip flopped on many issues that he campaigned with but they do not want to hear that. Hiring lobbyists is one glaring example of "do as I say and not as I do".

    The stimulus package has too much spending and is not going to create jobs nor are there any incentives in there for corporations to keep jobs in the US for US citizens.

    Wake up and smell the coffee!!

    February 13, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. STFU

    Man, Did that slimy GOP Judd do Obama and the Congress!!

    Great job – first apply for the job and get accepted and then turn around and middle finger America by saying ha ha fooled you, I lied when I said I could support you.

    February 13, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Heather in Canada

    You would think that with the significant number of challenges facing the U.S. at this stage-more than perhaps have ever faced a new President, and with which all world leaders are struggling, that all of you in the media could find a way to look at the big picture and stop trying to play "gotcha" 24 hours a day!

    February 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Diane

    Everyone should sit back and relax a bit on his picks. Was it his fault that Sen. Judd changed his mind??? Yes, someone is dropping the ball on vetting to find out his picks have had tax problems but is anyone looking at the non-responses regarding whether they have had tax problems or not in the past? President Obama has a lot on his plate. Believe me, it is better than what we would have had we elected a "fundamentals are strong" leader. Where were all these do-gooders, die-hards, etc. when GWB was leading this country down a spiral of NO RETURN????????

    February 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. EBC, MD

    Absolutely NOT!!!


    IF PRESIDENT OBAMA FAILS, WE ALL WE FAIL!!! If you think otherwise, you are a bigger fool!

    If you think the REPUBLICANS are looking after you, you're an IDIOT!!

    All Republicans care about is getting re-elected come 2010!! They would RATHER stab the American voters in the back when they NEED them most, rather than WORKING TOGETHER with a President who is willing and able to make a difference for the first time in HISTORY!!!!

    The Republican Leadership is nothing more than a bunch of WHITE MEN WITH BIG SELFISH POLITICAL EGOS, they would sell out their own mother for a Senate seat. Bottom line.

    2010 can't come soooooooooon enough!

    February 13, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. WakeUpPeople

    Republicans have an agenda to make Obama fail! He needs to stop trying to achieve bi-partisan going forward! They will NEVER support him! He tried they are not accepting him so it is time to move on. If they were in power they would not work to include the Denms!

    February 13, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. chuck - Tulsa

    The repugs are so happy. They have a winning strategy, just fight the President on everything and then; when the economy collapses they can regain power.

    Who cares if they started the collapse, they believe the American people have a short memory and they are probably correct.

    The only problem with this strategy is that a lot of hard working Americans will get hurt in the process, but at least the Repugs can regain some house seats……………..

    February 13, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Joseph, Los Angeles

    The man has been President for only a month, give him a break. Most of us want him to suceed as we should be happy somebody wants that job.

    Please take him off the cross, we need the wood to keep warm.

    February 13, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Gop = fascism

    The Gop is the party of Fascism. The 14 points of fascism is a definition of the Gop. They will say anything to distract and decieve those of us who actually think – while they work on their "new world order". They acuse others of doing exactly what they do?!
    Stop listening to their lies, just toss them out of office!

    February 13, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. janet

    i think people are starting to see Obama for what he is i have thought from the start that he only thinks about his self and wants everything his way he thinks he is always right and to heck with what it will cost our country he didn't get my vote in a year maybe not that long i think Hillary Clinton is going to look pretty good but it is to late so god help us out of this mess,

    February 13, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Nancy, CA

    Overall, I believe President Obama is doing a fine job. He is a very intelligent and capable person. I do not agree with all of his decisions, but I never expected to either. However, I am pleased to have him as our leader.

    Each president has had their own laundry list of successes and failures – this is normal. To expect President Obama to be any different is unreasonable and illogical.

    As a result of Bush's disasterous presidency, President Obama has clearly had a ridiculously high amount of expectations placed on his shoulders. Plus, our society now seems to be full of people who want instant gratification when it comes to almost everything.

    President Obama has only been in office a little over three weeks. It would be nice if we would all slow our judgment down a bit and give our new president a decent chance.

    February 13, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. P. Y.

    About " dittohead with 40 names "

    Okay folks ! What does this tell you ? It tells me that the same guy keeps putting up sarcastic, stupid comments trying to make us all believe that many people are making these comments. What an idiot ! Trying to do what Rush tells his followers to do. LOL

    February 13, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. james holt

    I am glad that gregg did what he did. He is weak and let his good ol boys talk him into doing something that he didn't have the heart to do in the first place. What the president is doing takes guts and he lacks guts much like his republican so called friends. For those that thinks this says something about Obama need to get a life. This Washington culture is sick and it is playing itself out as the President is making the bold moves.

    February 13, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. Doug in New Mexico

    What has been disastrous for the country has been the republican policies of the last 8 years. Now they are telling us how to fix things. What is wrong with this picture and why are so many people buying it? At this stage I really don't know what is worse, the fringe right, or the fringe left. I feel that I am being lied to by both sides as well as the media who just goes into a feeding frenzy with conflict. There are a bunch of people who are about a quart short just chiming in with inane opinions. One thing about opinions is that everyone has them and usually there all full of it also.

    February 13, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Jim Kerr

    Obama has acted quickly and decisively and taken considerable risks to deal with the economic crisis, and his overall approval ratings reflects the public's positive view of him. What is the occasion of CNN's digs at our new President? Is CNN trying to prove that, like FOX news, it's "fair" and "objective"? Why don't you take a poll that measures the public's view of the quality of your coverage of Obama's first month in office?

    Many of your post-inaugural stories are clearly based on GOP talking points, and are indicative of the standard, lazy Mainstream Media approach to politics. You give us "Mitch McConnell/John Boehner/Mitt Romney states that ..." and, sometimes, a Dem rejoinder. See the next article about so-called GOP "moderates", for instance. What makes any of these people "moderate"? It's probably fair to say they stand somewhere to the left of Ivan the Terrible. But when have they cast a vote on a substantive issue that would justify the label "moderate"? Does your reporter know? And what do they have to lose by voting against a stimulus package that's going to deliver money and jobs to their districts whether they vote for it or not?

    I know it's just the Ticker.
    But instead of simply adopting the GOP's slant on Obama and the Dems, or bowing and worshipping Obama based on eqaully partisan remarks, how about giving us some real analysis?

    February 13, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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