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. Carlos

    He is leading us alright, down the road to socialism, just sit back and enjoy the ride you fools.

    July 9, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Veteran Women For Obama

    Way to Go Mr. President

    July 9, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Gordon

    So let's see.... almost two-thirds of America think that President Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis, and seven of 10 say he's a decisive leader... BUT HE'S SLIPPING!!! Gosh, will anybody like the guy by, oh say, Tuesday?

    I'm sure CNN's next story will be, "CAN HE RECOVER????"

    You should be ashamed for writing such a bunch of baloney.

    July 9, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Bill in Albuquerque

    NUKE EM!
    That's how the Republicans think you get it done. The reality is that Obama is cleaning up Bush's mess, and he doesn't want to or need to say he got Nukes to back him up, he does and the world leaders know it.

    July 9, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Jim in Florida

    Hmmmm, CNN polls are historically tilted toward the left – many polls are designed for a desired result.

    I suspect that Obama's true numbers aren't as good and have been dropping more than the polls suggest.

    If Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party continue to spend like drunken sailors (if there is another "stimulus" barrage) and if Obama raises taxes on working America (he has to now, doesn't he) – Obama will not be able to talk his way past the people who will know how destructive his policies are to the free market economy. Those people are working Americans – tax paying Americans.

    The Republican Party needs to work hard to field candidates who are true to free market economics and has a viable alternative plan to the age old "tax and spend" leftist agenda.

    July 9, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Phil

    Obama inspires the sheep who do not know better or do not want to listen to the truth. Obama is now employing typical democratic tactics...spend, tax, spend, tax.

    July 9, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. joe blo

    And Bush was tough? To look at, huh?! Who comes up with these polls and questions?

    July 9, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. cecilia

    YES he is a strong leader but there are some in the USA who have weak memories and tend to forget the mess our President inherited . We need to give this President and his Administration the time and resources needed to help America regain its footing.
    Diplomacy and respect for other leaders has never been considered a sign of strength, especially by the Bush Administration.
    It takes more courage and wisdom to work together for peace and change than the old philosophy of past which was too quick to label our adversaries and claim superiority in the world.

    July 9, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Pat F

    You could carve a stronger president out of an overripe banana.

    July 9, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Guy Next Door


    The reason for his declining popularity is the stupidity of the American poeple taken in by him and all his lies.

    Wake Up America before we loose it all.

    July 9, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Larry from RI

    Yes, he is also intelligent, thoughtful, honest and most of all is doing what is best for the long term good of the middle class.

    July 9, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. U.S. Common Sense

    Based on his stances on the issues during his first 6 months in office, I would have to say "no." Congress has been the leader, with Obama allowing them to run away with the country.

    July 9, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Leo Kishore

    Moderation is a trait I respect in a big way, and he definitely tries. More than I can say for many of the people in the political spotlight, if you aren't trying to bridge the gap between sides then you really are just the part of the problem. Most people can't understand because they won't listen to anything but people who side with their own opinion. It's too much work to weigh pros and cons of both sides, and god forbid anyone actually put in that work.

    July 9, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. Fla.

    Yes, President Obama is a strong leader, which these high majorities still appear to illustrate among the American people. His strength is intelligence & pragmatic consideration.

    He courageously addresses all sides of an issue with mutual respect, while challenging each to acknowledge a shared responsibility going forward.

    July 9, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. SAI

    My fellow Americans, it seems, are more used to boasting and tough talk in their leaders! More mature leaders adopt the 'suaviter in modo, fortiter in re' motto – speak softly and act decisively. An example – the handling of the Somali pirates.

    Leaders who shoot their mouths off become caricatures and objects of ridicule – some even get shoes thrown at them.

    Obama's deliberate and measured speech is to be admired and respected. That makes him a stronger leader, and his words a lot more believable.

    July 9, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. Bob in Pa

    Strong, but not in my top ten.

    July 9, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Jim in Miami

    Obama is a single-minded leader – but, in so being, is weak minded and naive. His approach to policy is that of the activist he was – promise, demand and ignore the tough calls and say 'no' to those who want their problems solved while contributing nothing. Speaking reality, speaking in terms of our founding principles of individual freedom and responsbility, requires toughness. Anybody could do what he's doing – promising the world and spending without restraint. It's easy being the permissive parent....

    July 9, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. ever

    its amazing to see that some people still equate strong to being a bully !
    i believe that obama is showing great strength through diplomacy hence in six short months he has achieved so much more than most.smart with great wisdom and the worlds response to him is very evident ,let cleanse our minds of the wild,wild west era and focus on moving forward with world peace in mind not more wars.
    great job Mr president and may god bless you much

    July 9, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. tjaman

    Down from 80 to 70. Heavens to Murgatroyd. Meanwhile, you've got all these jackals spewing fear, hatred and derision on every syllable uttered from this Administration, you've got Sean Hannity editing his statements and then blasting him for "ignoring" bits he himself edited out, and actively lying to the American public. FOX News is a cancer on this nation, in that we would all be healthier were it _excised_ forthwith!

    July 9, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Terry from West Texas

    Is Obama a strong leader compared to what? To whom? He's the best we've got at the moment. We elected him to rescue the country from Conservative incompetence and mismanagement.

    How would I contrast his leadership with that of any Conservative I have every heard of? If Obama is six feet tall, I'd say that the most competent Conservative leader (Mit Romney) would be about a foot tall. Compared to Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, or Johnson – after six months in office he compares well to those great presidents.

    What would you have him do that he is not doing?

    July 9, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. gl, From Pittsburgh

    That's becasue the American people are so us to behavor of former Presidents "my way or the highway" 56 percent still want change with is still good. Change is never easy.

    July 9, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. Anonymous

    NO, he is not a strong leader...and the polls will continue to show this!

    July 9, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Robin

    He is not a leader. He sits back, ponders the situation, and makes a statement several days later.

    He is a good speaker, that is it.

    July 9, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. mike

    he has no idea of what he is doing to the future of our childern and does not care

    July 9, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Donald Edmond, Esq

    I would like to see President Obama's "strong" leadership without constant assistance from a smitten mainstream media. Challenge Obama's agenda and measure it against the predictions Hillary Clinton made about Obama's inexperience and insensitivity to ordinary (working class) Americans being too much to risk at this point in our nation's history given the damage from 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

    The proverbial chickens are coming home to roost and the media is still running around starry-eyed with these "ain't he great" polls. Didn't the press learn this likeability lesson when they used it for President Bush?

    July 9, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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