July 9th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Is President Obama a strong leader?

Obama still inspires confidence -- but his leadership marks are slipping.

Obama still inspires confidence - but his leadership marks are slipping.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama still inspires confidence, but a new national poll indicates that the number of Americans who say he is a strong leader and is tough enough to handle a crisis has dropped significantly over the past few months.

Seventy-two percent of people questioned in a CNNCNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning (PDF) believe Obama inspires confidence. That's down three percentage points from a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted in February.

Seven out of 10 also said the president is a strong and decisive leader. But that figure is down 10 percentage points from the opening days of Obama's presidency. Sixty-four percent said that Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis, down nine percentage points from February.

"Although his rating as a strong leader has dropped, he still scores fairly well on that measure," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But Obama's stand on the issues and his plans for the future appear to be his biggest weakness."

The poll suggests that 53 percent believe Obama has a clear plan for solving the country's problems, down 11 percentage points since February. And 56 percent said the president agrees with them on the issues they care about, down seven percentage points from February.

"The 56 percent figure is still a majority, but it contrasts poorly with the nearly eight in 10 who say they approve of Obama as a person," Holland added. "When it comes to personal characteristics, his strong suit is his ability to inspire confidence. That's not a bad thing for a president to have in tough economic times."

Half of those questioned said that the Democrats' control of Congress is good for the country. Forty-one percent believe it's a bad thing.

The poll was conducted between June 26 and 28, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • President Obama
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. jaye

    The republicans started two wars, allowed torture, bankrupted our country, etc. etc., and now they have the gaul to suggest that our new president isn't strong???????? Well, the republicans are trying their best to try and destroy Obamas administration, and it just won't work.
    The republicans are nazis.

    July 9, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. Mike

    Maybe the dumb masses that voted for this person are finally waking up and realizing his is incompetent or a socialist.

    July 9, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. GI Joe

    Ask those pirates if he's tough.

    Our President doesn't go on National TV every day and tell us National Security Secrets. Get real people.

    July 9, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. Jennifer NY

    I think he could be tougher. Not so much talking tough, but showing that he means business (killer instinct) so other nations pay attention.

    July 9, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. ck

    NO, he is an excellent speaker (with his teleprompter) but he is a very poor leader.

    July 9, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Independent

    These so called polls are getting really tiresome.....Don't remember all these type of polls when Bush was President...

    He is doing just fine, wish you people would stop nic picking him all the time...

    July 9, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. David

    Any poll about our president or our government will be flawed if it does not separate the right-wing extremists/republicans from the rest of the country in the analysis. No matter what the question is of a extremist/republican, it will be answered in the negative.

    Their identity as a 'republican' is deeply rooted in their rejection of anything not identified as republican.

    It's like doing a poll about the use of tanning beds and including African-Americans in the group being polled. The result will be flawed.

    July 9, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  8. Uncle Ellsworthy

    Folks are beginning to see who he really is, finally. Not qualified, no experience, etc., etc.

    July 9, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. Tennessee Libertarian

    Unfortunately, BO is merely a gutless wonder.

    He can read well off a Teleprompter, though.

    July 9, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. ric in NY

    WOW! Are people just figuring this out now? You can look at Obama and tell he is weak and a complete embarrassment to the United States. This guy is so weak he makes Bush look like the best president the country has ever seen. In fact, he is more LIKE Bush than anyone ever thought.

    I can't wait until 2012 when this clown is GONE!!!

    July 9, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Pat, Columbus OH

    He certainly is! Thank God for Obama and for all those who voted for him.

    July 9, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. Hugo Castrobama

    Strong in teleprompter rhetoric; very weak in actions. Obama cannot stand up to dictators, such as Putin, Chavez, Castro, Zelaya, Ahmadinejad, China, North Korea, etc. They know he is the weakest US leader since Carter, and are now seizing the opportunity and helping destroy America as we used to know it.

    July 9, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. jaye

    President Obama is with other world leaders trying to clean up the messes that George Bush made... and the republicans are out in full force trying to divert attention away from what he's doing.
    President Obama will heal the wounds the republicans made (wars, torture, a banrupt country, etc., and our country will be good again.
    The republicans need to just SHUT UP and slink off....they should all go to Argentina. 🙂

    July 9, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |

    This man is no strong leader. However, he may be able with his people in positions of power manage to manipilates us into a diastrous situation. He is not for America as a whole.

    July 9, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. Bill, Bloominton IL

    People are seeing this president for what he is. Full of promises and no action.

    July 9, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Paul C.

    I pray that he does not become as "strong" as GW. We may never recover from his 8 years.

    July 9, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. Aaron

    It is too premature to evaluate the job performance of President Obama. In the interest of fairness, it is imperative for the American people to give the man a reasonable chance to fix a broken economy and resolve the military quagmire in Iraq which were the result of eight years of George W. Bush's failed leadership. I believe that President Obama is a very strong and wise leader who correctly warned the American people about an unwise war in Iraq. He is ahead of schedule on healthcare reform and in due course, the economy will turn around. President Obama did warn us that it would take time. So, let's be patient and fair.

    July 9, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. Gus

    Obama is a strong speaker – but is not a strong leader. Judge a person by their actions – not their words!

    July 9, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. rumrunner

    he does'nt treat Israel as an indulgent rich-dad treats an errant college brat. thats strong and decisive.

    July 9, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. Open Your 3rd Eye

    Wow. You guys are still polling huh?

    So, what exactly is your definition of a "strong" leader.

    Let me guess:

    Stubborn, ignorant, quick to asume without all the facts, runs off at the mouth without thinking, overly-tough talk toward tiny countries, disrespect toward every other country, America is better than you mentality, it doesn't matter what the world thinks America does what it wants.

    Did I pretty much sum that up for you all?

    Gee, that description sounds eerily familiar...

    July 9, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. Cowboy in West Texas

    He is a politician – he chooses his words carefully – when you try to dance with everyone – you begin to appear weaker – you just can't make everyone happy. I am thankful he really hasn't had a real test – a real crisis – we just don't need one right now.

    I also believe people are just getting weary of the economy and he hasn't and can't fix it with a magic wand.

    July 9, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. Critical Thinker

    The only ones who don't believe President Obama is a strong leader are those who were brainwashed to believe that President Bush "43" was strong because he put on a rough and tough cowboy act. President Obama doesn't need to act belligerently like the "all hat" cowboy did. Rather, he is following Teddy Roosevelt's style in walking softly, but carrying a big stick. As a retired military veteran, I believe he is a strong and effective Commander-in-Chief.

    July 9, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. rand

    When Clinton was in office he had a democratic controlled Congress and Senate. He ordered things done and look what happened.

    I think Obama is letting the processes work. Let's give him some time. Good grief, he inherited a huge mess.

    July 9, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. gt

    yes .. like a warm cup of spit,,,,

    July 9, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. Rick

    Considering the depths of the challenges he has had to take on, there is little doubt in my mind that President Obama was our best choice. We're looking at the cumulative policies and practices of decades of an unsustainable economic lifestyle that's come back to bite us all on the collective butt. The horses are already out of the barn. I wouldn't wish the job of cleaning this all up on the worst of enemies.

    Perhaps, if we had state representatives that could reach beyond their own partisan limitations, and their obligations to their corporate backers, we could find a faster path out of this mess. Sadly, the status quo seems insurmountable.

    And, perhaps, if we could all step away from our fast food mentality, and recognize that you can't fix a generation's sins in 120 days, these polls would have much less impact.

    July 9, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10