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. Chipster

    Yes, Obama leads by example. He leads with consistency and intelligence. Leadership should not be defined by tough, childish talk. There's a huge difference between bravado and bravery, muscle and strength, impulse and deliberate action, alienation and respectful dialog. It's unfortunately that people have come to confuse bullying with leadership. We don't need bullies in schools, in business, and certainly not in our government.

    July 9, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Independent thinker

    Inspiration through rhetoric will only last so long. You can only fool some of the people some of the time. He has been in office for several months now and what of true substance or lasting meaning has been accomplished?? I was willing to give the guy a chance, but I am tired of hearing him and his lackeys blame everything on his predecessor.

    July 9, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Robb

    He is a twinky! He is a spineless, conniving, coward that uses his strut and his cool talk to play on the fears of the poor, illegals, minorities, elderly, and gays etc.
    Keep them in fear, keep the economy barely limping along and keep them dependent on the government for cars, for health care, for income , for food stamps and guess what they have to vote for him. For all those reasons! It’s the democratic foundation.
    Then because they are so darn dumb he can stab them in the back by increasing gas taxes, heavily tax carbon emissions etc. These taxes hit the poor the hardest. But they just do not get it.

    Furthermore the Republicans suck at communicating the truth therefore they get walked on by idiots like Barney Frank. Somehow Barney Frank was able to elude Blame for the housing debacle even though he was the mastermind and lead advocate for deregulating Fannie and Freddie all in the name of helping poor people get homes. When the whole works fell apart all the liberals pointed fingers at Bush. Bush was also too spineless to stand up to them and knock them down a few notches.

    July 9, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Jordan Collins-Brown

    I believe that my president is a great and powerful leader...and i think i understand more than all you other Americans. All you guys do, day in and day out is say that he isn't doing what he promised America and that should have been fixed right away. Just becaue he is a black man does NOT mean he is superman. President Obama hasn't even been in office for a year! How is that man gonna fix our whole country in 200 days? If you know the answer please tell me! President Obama even said it himself, "The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep we may not there in one year our even in one term." So my fellow Americans, please leave this man to his job and realize its going to take more than 200 freakin days to get the job done.

    July 9, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. Mike Vaughn

    Yes Because whether he is right or wrong he does not run from his accusers............Like Bush and alot of the GOP do ...........they blame everyone but forget about the mess they caused

    July 9, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. strong

    I do not consider him a strong leader. What has he really done to prove that? He does like to spend money though. OUR money.

    July 9, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Elias

    CNN please stop fabricating controversy. There is nothing in these numbers that the passage of time and the enactment of controversial policies won't account for. In fact, these numbers are extremely strong considering how divided the country is on all of Obama's policies.

    July 9, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Alan

    WIthout all of the political bickering let's look at the facts:

    – Was wrong about the economy (Bidens own admission)
    – China's military has harrassed our ships at sea with no comment or action from the US

    – Successfully stopped Somali hijackers.
    – N Korea has harrassed our navy and has launched repeated missles with no action from the US
    – Iran is going nuclear with no action from the US (Their leaders have vowed to use them on us)
    – Our govt is borrowing more money than ever before in our history.
    – Unemployment is higher than it has been in 25 yrs with no nothing but bad news on the horizon.
    – Pushing climate bill (farce) that will raise everyone's electricity bills by about 10 percent (Obama's own numbers)
    – Pushing a health care plan that will force everyone (yes even the poor) to buy health insurance or face fines.
    – Has nationalize GM and fired the CEO – A move that was suggested by Michael Moore during the campaign – So they can order and control what size and type of cars we can drive.
    – Has signed an order that provides more funding than every before for abortions in other countries.

    Mabybe America is finally looking at his actions and not listening to his empty words.

    July 9, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Dale

    Very, very weak leader

    July 9, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Susan in NC

    Simple answer - YES, ABSOLUTELY, President Obama is an extremely strong leader!

    July 9, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. George

    Given what we had 8 years ago, Obama is doing very well, however, people are getting tired of beautiful words, they want jobs and they want them now. They want gitmo closed, they want soldiers back home etc. Beautifully crafted words were used by Obama as he promised action and a different path for this country. At the moment, no significant change has happened, and people are starting to check things out, and they find there is a difference between what the president says he will do and what he is doing. And there is a GAP; a big one if I may say.

    July 9, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Voted for Obama

    Popular? Certainly. Appealing? Of course. Strong? Get back to me on that after real results start coming in.

    July 9, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Susie

    What DOES HE DO???? he sure flies a lot, buys lots of suits and ties, and NOW spends time with his family – ON OUR TIME AND $$$$.
    So far NOT ANYTHING for OUR benefit – unless you call learning to BOW a lesson!!!

    July 9, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Jan

    There are several factors that need to be addressed.

    1. Times when calls were made
    2. Individuals that agree to the interview
    3. Areas where phone calls were made
    4. Gender/Race/Political affiliation/Religion breakdowns
    5. Sample of individuals that still have a "home" phone.
    6. Income/Education

    I could go on. I've always found it reprehensible when research companies manipulate data to spin a positive outlook.

    July 9, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Ronald Clowney

    It is surprising that in these days and times one would question if the President of the United States is a strong leader. Common sense says that you are only as strong as your army.

    July 9, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. donttreadonme

    It doesn't matter how people feel now we will see what he does. Obama has no experience leading and already has shown signs of weakness. Many people in the world who would like American influence and power decreased love Obama.

    Big suprise!

    July 9, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Paul from Phoenix

    After the the successful cyber attack by North Korea, that number will continue to come down.

    July 9, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. jimmy

    I agree with Jeb Bush,, Obama ran on one agenda, now that he is elected his agenda has changed: Ex; taxes, His plan before election, anyone making under $250,000.00 a year would pay less taxes, yeah right,, ask anyone making less than that what is happening. And what is up with all the Czars?? What is our country becoming?? ,, a Dictatorship??

    July 9, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Carl

    Just wait until something happens and see what he does.Which will probably be nothing ,just like Clinton .

    July 9, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. J-dizzle

    Americans and their desire for immediate results are what is really on display in these poll results. Not surprised. America as a whole expects magic wands to solve all their problems whether it be bailing their behinds out of defaulting on bills, to getting them a job, to making sure the latest and greatest video game or flat screen tv is available at a Best Buy or Target across the street from their home.

    July 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Candy cane

    No, he should have been a used car salesman. HIs appointments are terrible. He has reversed most of his promises. No more czars (33) @ $172,000. each. Most of his programs are wastefully and counter productive to growing our economy.

    July 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. Harold Ramos

    He's a weakling, just like Jimmy Carter.

    July 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. Jack in Florida

    ABSOLUTELY!!! Finally a leader with intelligence and one that can express himself to get his points across. A breath of fresh air from the Bush era.

    July 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Jen B

    Mr. Obama is a weakling and will remain so:
    He's never met a camera he does not love.
    He favors terrorists.
    Watch his head when at any gathering – it sits high w/arrogance – if it was raining he'd drown.
    He's nothing but a celebrity type that can read a teleprompter well – substance is not there. Americans got what they deserve and votred for – BIG Gov't and a soft tyranny. Must be stopped in 2010.
    Jen B

    July 9, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Brad of IL.

    Since he has only been in office 6mos. I could not really give a good grade. I feel that we are still waiting for him too lead. With Reed and Pelosi running the country for now , Obama is looking very bad. I would give him a 48% rating for effort and 0% for actually getting anything done for the good of this country. But that is my opinion.

    July 9, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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