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. Larry

    To me these polls are the most meaningless of score cards

    In 71/2 years we all will have the facts as to whether Obama is/was a strong leader

    Until then asking 1000 people out of 300,000,000 has no value in my opinion

    July 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. anglea

    i think the president is doing good with the mess he was giving,and we must remember things don't happen overnight.

    July 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. daisyinatlanta

    sending troop to everywhere around the world and flexing the muscle does not make us to LOOK strong. It also made other country hate us.
    President Obama. i am praying for you every day. pls keep up the good job

    July 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Chuck

    What kind of leader are we looking at. Think about this... he left the U.S. to head to Russia while the V.P. was in Iraq with the military. This effectively left the Speaker of the House in charge of our government while the President and Vice President were not here. To me, that shows very poor judgement and terrible leadership.

    July 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Robert

    If he were a real leader he would not go around apologizing for everything. Just because he's inspirational does not make him good. I can think of many horrible leaders over time that were "inspirational"

    July 9, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. he is

    but I wish Palin was leader in a way, she is so funny

    July 9, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Jennifer Geddie

    A president does not need to swagger or threaten to be strong . Strength is measured in ACTIONS , not macho posturing . I think Obama is channeling his mentor , who was the paragon of strength ,
    Lincoln. I admire my president and I am now a democrat after 53 years as a Republican.

    July 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Donald

    Consideration should be given that CNN is a White House "Lackey"! Nuff said? Understand the language?

    July 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. cappicola

    No. President Obama's years as a community organizer, inexperience in politics and the ghosts of his campaign promises are influencing his entire approach towards running this Country and dealing with international leaders and troublemakers.

    He worries way too much about being liked and that will be his undoing. He he needs to forget about the all of the campaign euphoria. We don't have the luxury of time to savor feeling good about "change" any longer.

    True leaders lead with conviction regardless of what the general opinion of the day is among their followers. Followers follow with loyalty, even if they grumble and gripe constantly. Real leaders don't apologize or excuse themselves for leading and doing what they believe is best.

    Do not become President of the greatest nation on earth if you want to endear and remain good friends with everyone.

    July 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. dilek

    President Obama is doing a great job.
    It took 8 years for Clinton to clean up the mess the old Bush left but only 4 years for the young Bush to destroy and another 4 years for a complete destruction. I think it will take few years for President Obama to clean up the mess.
    We have to be patient, look at all the other countries around, success does not come fast and easy.

    July 9, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    President Obama has shown strong stewardship of the country since taking office I believe. As a leader, you set the agenda and let the legislature come up with the particulars as they are elected to do. You try to build consensus (which he has tried to do despite the claims of the GOP). When an emergency occurs, you keep your cool and navigate carefully and thoughtfully, which he did with the ongoing Iranian election saga. I guarantee you it is harder to show restraint in the face of dire situation, than to go off half cocked without all the facts. I laud the efforts of our President, who has been vigilant and on the job.

    July 9, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Patrick

    Obama is a strong leader in that he is getting congress to actually do something. He leads by example. He works hard, he's not afraid to have people disagree with him and he's open to compromise. This is not a weakness, it's a strength.

    With all that he's HAD to take on, I'm surprised that his poll numbers aren't lower. And yes, he's had to take all of these things on at once. The country couldn't wait for another non-election year in 2011 to take on these hard issues.

    July 9, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Yes, Yes, He has the confidence of most of our people. He appeals
    to the majority. As for Jeb Bush I live in Florida. He left our state
    in the worst condition it has ever been. He should concentrate
    on his family he has many skeltons in his own closet like most
    Republicans that preach Morals. Thank you for making our
    country once more a player in the world with respect Obama!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Obama Victim

    looks like Americans are finally wakeing up

    July 9, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    the republicans with idiot ideas make him even stronger


    July 9, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Calipublican

    I wouldn't follow this man into the grocery store, let alone anywhere that mattered.....let the world apology tour continue, just look how well that worked out for Carter.

    July 9, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Laverne

    Being angry, yelling and screaming definitely does not make you a strong leader. Strong leaders are strategic, intelligent, methodical and forthseeing. I would take an Obama style of leadership any day over a Bush style leadership. The loudest one in the room usually is saying the least!

    July 9, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Stephanie

    How about a poll on how CNN and HLN are USING the death of Michael Jackson and his children for ratings and profits? Your coverage has been disgusting, intrusive and tabloid at best.

    July 9, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. guy

    Not as strong as he portrayed himself during the campain.

    July 9, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Lu

    Is Dick Cheney strong? Is GW Bush strong? Just because someone can spew hatred and anger does not indicate strength in leadership. Look at the results of the GOP's bluff and "strength" – 2 wars that we cannot afford, a destabilized Iran and North Korea with many lost opportunities, a bully state of Israel who thinks they can do anything including harming their neighbors' lives.

    July 9, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Toby Thomas


    July 9, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Amanda in Colorado

    Is he a strong leader? You bet he is, just because he walks softly does not mean he does not carry a big strong stick.

    July 9, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Mike

    Barack Obama has changed the tone throughout the world. Anyone who has traveled beyond these borders over the past 6 months can attest to the response from foreigners, compared to the time since the start of the Iraq War.
    He most certainly has many strong personal beliefs, but unlike his Republican counterparts, he is not intent on shoving them down the throats of the American people.
    His is the pragmatic path...this of course upsets some on the left of his own party who would enjoy the sense of "change" to be in their direction to make up for years of the right-wing agenda.
    He was very clear about changing the tone in government, and he has done it by rediscovering old-fashioned diplomacy and a sense of compromise.
    This, in my opinion, makes him the strongest of leaders. Like a teacher, if you can inspire change, rather than force it, you will be far more successful in the long run.

    July 9, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. NO

    No. When other countries feel comfortable enough to flex their muscles, then they do not fear the US. I would rather them fear us not test us.

    July 9, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. JP

    How can you expect leadership from someone who has accomplished nothing his entire life. He was a one term senator who spent more than half his time in office running for president. Most of his votes in office were present.

    July 9, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10