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. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Not only strong, but intelligent, diplomatic and actually cares for this country. We have not seen anyone work harder to improve this country that the republicans and bush destroyed!

    July 9, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Dee, 1 Vote

    I'm a voter. CNN, Pres "O" is at work morning to night. 8 yr, Jr, did not do a his job!

    July 9, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Obama=bankrupt country

    No, he's a very good speaker and people translate that into leader, which is totally incorrect. He's is getting things through congress with ease, not because of his leadership, because the Democrats and their spending are driving the boat. Not a good thing to have a one party ruling system as we have now. The country will be bankrupt just like California.

    July 9, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. carlo

    It's how the mainstream is. Set expectations unreasonably high for the black guy, and then pull him back just in case he thinks he's actually in charge. There are some people who aren't bothered by black people, as long as they can't tell them what to do. It's rampant among Republicans, and from the looks of things, some of his colleagues on Capitol Hill.

    July 9, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. aster gizaw

    our president is doing very good to change the world united and leave with peace, we need to give him time,

    July 9, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Scott the Independent

    Yes he is a strong leader. The ultimate rule of war – "Never let anyone outside the family know what you are thinking...."

    So we ever know what our President is thinking? We know what he intends, he has told us what he plans, strength is not measured by force but by discipline.

    July 9, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Bev - NYC

    I wish he were stronger with Republicans, tell them in no uncertain terms to assist Americans or shut up. On his trips around the country he should be letting the constituents of Boehner, Cantor et al exactly how their representative is working against their best interest, they will all face an election sometime. Calling them out will be just the medicine they need. These officials go to Washington get stuck in the bubble and think they are now working for Boehner or whoever has the power to get them the high profile committees, rather than working for their direct constituents. Then again why should they change when they can do nothing and get re-elected.

    July 9, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. floridian

    "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."

    Unfortunately, confidence does not pay the bills. It would appear that President Obgama's ablity to inspire confidence is based more on his ability to say as opposed to his ability to do.

    July 9, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Ken from missouri

    The only thing President Obama is strong at is spending money ,even his own party get frustrated because he won't show any muscle on

    July 9, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Karen-phoenix

    It took Bush 8 years to destroy America and the middle class. President Obama has been trying to clean this BUSH MESS up and its going to take a lot longer than 200 days!!! Its going to take years, a national health care program, solar and wind energy change(that should have been done 30 years ago) and redo our failing education system! NOT to mention President Obama is trying to clean up the mess Bush made in the middle east and finish the Afganistan mess!!
    President Obama is just about the strongest president we have had since Lincoln!!! The man is working 24/7 and all Bush did was take vacation after vacation!!

    July 9, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. PFFT

    No, but the teleprompter is.

    July 9, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Larry

    Obama is the most sincere leader this country has seen in the past 60 years

    And maybe beyond, but I was not alive to witness the previous

    Obama cares more for this country than most polititions alive today

    July 9, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. bj, Texas

    The half of ignorant Americans that voted for this clown are slowly coming to their senses. The kool-aid is weaing off and they're seeing a socialist republic being built around them. The teleprompter in chief filled their simple minds with a load of Change bs during his campaign. That change is coming in the form of the weakening of our once powerful country. Iran, China, Russia and North Korea really love us now. Thanks O-duh-ma!

    July 9, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Tough Guy

    Obama is a strong leader because he is able to control his toughness.

    July 9, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. katiec

    No one knew how bad a shape our country was in. The diasters handed to our president were unsurpassed.
    The problems are not going to be resolved overnight. It took many
    years to get us into this mess, and regardless of all the negativity
    we will survive.

    July 9, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Democrat

    President Obama is not only a strong leader but a great leader. Why are people so quick to judge. He has only been in office less than 6 months and you people are rating him. With all he has to deal with and started out with; I know he is doing a good job. For you people expecting a miracle; bow on your knees and pray to God because HE is the only miracle worker; not President Obama.

    July 9, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Nat, NYC

    He is a strong demagouge. By defenition: A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace. For us It means: speaks a lot but doesn't say anything.

    July 9, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Stronger than most. Seems that the same question came up during the early Reagan Years, Clinton, both Bushes..... and poor old weak Carter. You do not beat the Clinton Machine if you are weak. You do not win NEGATIVE elections if you are weak.

    July 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Paula in WI

    Even if he can't fix everthing the Republicans have screwed up at least he works at it and Congress is visible in DC more than in any years past that I can remember.

    July 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Obama 2.0

    I think the poll speaks more about our society than it does the President!

    July 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Patrick

    I wonder if Obama is going to turn out like Bush. Most reasonable people like them personally but won't agree with their agenda.

    July 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Legna

    A strong leader reaches his goal with little or no disruption. If Obamas goal is to socialize America he is a strong leader because he and his Congress are succeding. If his goal is to make ths US financially strong, provide low unemployment,and making people believe n themselves and not the government then he is a miserable failure as a strong leader.

    July 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Melissa

    I think Obama is the leader people should aspire to be. He's a diplomat instead of a warmonger. Warmongering is childish, it takes alot more guts to be a diplomat.

    July 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Dominic

    He is a very strong leader, the right is an angry mob and really are insignificant. You know the louder you scream the more childish you look...note to palin

    July 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. gaddgtfreak

    The true measure of strength is how many people believe, trust and follow the many, not how many folks he can get killed. Cowboy diplomacy should be a thing of the past. It did not work.

    July 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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