March 18th, 2009
11:26 AM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Obama's taken on too much, say Americans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air?"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Do Americans think President Barack Obama's got too many balls in the air? A new national survey indicates that for a majority, the answer is yes.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say that since he's taken over in the White House, President Obama has tried to handle more issues than he should have. Forty-three percent say he hasn't bitten off more than he can chew.

"In his first weeks in office, Barack Obama did not focus exclusively on the economy but instead announced new policies and proposals on everything from education to health care to Afghanistan and Iraq," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "He gets high marks on most of those issues, but it seems that many Americans are worried that he might lose his focus on economic recovery."

President Obama Tuesday dismissed criticism he's trying to do too much. "What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore," he said.

"To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years to be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. That's not why I ran for this office. I didn't come here to pass on our problems to the next president or the next generation. I came here to solve them."

The poll suggests that a majority, 58 percent, feel that the president's programs strike the right political tone for the country. Thirty-six percent say Obama's proposals are too liberal, and 5 percent say they are not liberal enough.

On the issues: 59 percent say they approve of how the President's handling the economy, 57 percent like how Obama's dealing with health care, 63 percent approve of his energy policy and 65 percent back him on education reform.

Sixty-six percent like Obama's approach to foreign affairs, with 63 percent approving of how he handles Iraq, 67 percent agreeing with him on Afghanistan and 61 percent approving of his performance in the fight against terrorism."

Obama tends to get better numbers for his handling of international issue than on domestic problems," Holland says. "That's a typical pattern for many presidents, who can handle foreign policy concerns without always having to push something through Congress."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,019 Americans was conducted by telephone Thursday through Sunday, and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Poll • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. TerryT


    For all you think this is just a Bush issue are only seeing HALF of the problem.

    Investigate ALL OF THEM

    Right and Left.

    It isn't just those on the right and when the American public OPENS THEIR EYES and sees this the anger in this country will hit new highs

    To think that just one party is to blame now or then is naive and ignorant of how politics and the world work.

    RIght and Left are different sides of the same coin.

    March 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Ray Fisher

    The President is simply taking on the issues presented to him and if they are considered too much, then which issues should be delayed??? Any issue not addressed will be thrown in his face to hurt him politically. The economy is one issue with which he shouldn't be consumed yet it is the most pressing. I think if we had some financial system reform everyone would be less stressed and the economy freer to face the issues. Mr. Geithner, where are you with the details???

    March 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. MD

    Truth be told, nothing this President does will satisfy everyone. If he had been solely focused on the economy, he would have been criticized for that and we all know it.

    What's laughable and sad at the same time is how little focus there was on the last administration and the royal F ups they created.

    WE need to chill out and give the President a chance to show us what he's capable of doing.

    And one other thing. He's not just a community organizer. He's a constitutional law professor, former State and US Senator, former President of the Harvard Law Review, etc., etc., etc. George Bush was a C student with a DUI conviction who's father happened to be a former President of the United States.

    I'll take my chances with the mutli-tasking SMART GUY any day...

    March 18, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    The best leaders know how to choose aides and delegate responsibility.

    He has failed miserably on both fronts.

    March 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    the president is not in a good situation at all. If he doesn't try to tackle all these issues then he will have people griping that he's not doing his job. Doing what he's doing now people are griping that he's trying to do too much too soon. Most of these gripes are coming from the right though and he may as well accept the fact that no matter what he does, short of resigning, that he's not going to please that bunch anyway.

    March 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. the repugs are too stupid to connect the dots

    that's how they have become republican, in the first place.

    they don't see how all the big issues are interconnected.

    they can't walk and chew gum at the same time,

    let alone connecting the dots and imagining the solutions outside the absolutely bancrupt status quo.

    March 18, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Brian Crooks

    People pretend like he went out to go FIND issues to tackle. It's not like he's concerning himself with the number of dog catchers on the streets of Tupelo, MO, or what kind of light bulbs should be in the street lamps in Sparks, NV. We are a nation that's dealing with multiple crises. I'd rather have him do too much and get 95% of everything done than take on two issues and let everything else just get worse.

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Howaboutthat

    He is the most capable guy ever in the White House. And yes he can handle it. Most of americans are sheep and listen to the garbage by new reporters. As a regular person dont we handle kids, school, work, play, relationships, business, illness and all the other crisis at once without a staff. Come on people if most of you think he is taking on too much then the Pres is right You people are really stupid and need to be better educated.

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Jon

    President Obama, you're doing a good job now but you need to slow down a little. Being a multi-tasker is a good thing for POTUS but be sure not to go overhead on too many issues at once. You'll get a Presidential 'burnout' if you do that . You Rock Obama!!!!

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Shooky

    Geez, what a multitasker. He's succeeding in making a lot of things worse all at once. How does he find the time to fill out NCAA brackets, buy swingsets, trace his Irish ancestry, make appearances on late night TV, admire his wife's toned biceps, download the latest features to his blackberry, dye fountains, and monitor his thermostat to keep it above 72 degrees at all times?

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Regular People

    Healthcare? Economy? Education? International relations? Dealing with congress? Addressing Americans regularly? Launching Transparency? A new White House Council for Women and Girls? Climbing out of the dark ages regarding stem cell research? Raising the hopes of people WORLD WIDE??

    Until now, I thought the president was just supposed to clear brush and give the occasional sinister giggle.

    I suppose if you're a good community organizer, you learn a little bit about time management.

    Keep it up, Mr. President!! The no-brain ditto thugs will complain, but their lives will improve too.

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. nick in san diego

    why do people not see that these are systemic problems that require systemic issues. maybe education reform should be at the top of the list, because it might allow for a more educated public that would be able to understand the concept of indirect affect.

    Obama is doing a fabulous job.

    March 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Gracie

    I'll TAKE a multi-tasking, highly competent President who isn't afraid to LEAD or take on more than one crisis at a time despite all the HATERS in this blog. He has risen above all the "negativity" and stayed "focused" on the bigger picture. That's his job. He's NOT the President to please you "haters". Haters will never be happy no matter what he does, or how well he does it.

    It's so EASY to criticize and claim to be the "expert" when YOU are not in President Obama's shoes.

    I for one, SUPPORT my President and will continue to support his efforts in moving this country forward and changing how we do business.

    YOU haters can continue to attack, attack, attack, if that's all you've got. So predictable.

    March 18, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Polar Bears Against Palen

    As an Obama voter, I have become very disappointed in his actions. His Treasury Secretary is in bed with the wrong people He comes from Wall Street. The centrist Obama cabinet has similar view to that of conservatives when it comes to financial issues. I am a progressive. I decided to give Obama a chance. He is still 100 times better than Bush but is also on the way to failure. I should have voted for Ralph Nader again. He was so right about corporate greed in this country. Wall Street and the deregulatory right in this country ruined everything. I'm going back to my progressive and populist roots. Screw these phoney Democrats. They will be voted out again in 2010 and 2012. They hade a big opportunity and blew it.. Then, we will be stuck with Republicans again. Be very afraid...

    March 18, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Judy

    Government has always moved slowly, so they're not used to someone who actually do more than one thing at a time. I think he's doing exactly what he should be doing and he's doing a fine job! Thank you President Obama.

    March 18, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. obama-mama

    This is one President who refuses to sit around the Whitehouse with an afghan draped across his legs. He is aware that he won the election and is taking it to the streets......

    March 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Marylander

    I wish that I had been polled on this one because one of the things that I like most about the President is how many issues he is working on at one time. Like he said yesterday, we the people have to multi-task - work, run our homes, take care of our families, budget our money, take care of health care issues, etc. Why would we expect any less from our country's leader? I can imagine telling my boss - "I don't want to do too much so I better only do one or two things at a time." I wouldn't have a job!

    March 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Debby

    Well you people voted this multi-tasker in so thats what you got.

    March 18, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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