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Cabinet Picks Not Affecting Overall Confidence in Obama

Cabinet Picks Not Affecting Overall Confidence in Obama

Throughout transition, two-thirds of Americans consistently confident

by Lymari Morales

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' positive reactions to President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet appointments this week have not yet translated into a more general boost in their already-high confidence in Obama to be a good president. Two-thirds of Americans (65%) in Dec. 1-3 interviewing remain confident in Obama, exactly matching Gallup's pre-Thanksgiving update on this measure.


Gallup has tracked Americans' confidence in Obama to be a good president since he was elected, finding Americans to be remarkably steadfast in their views. The first three days of interviewing, Nov. 5-7, also found exactly 65% confident in Obama. This week's official announcements that Obama would nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and keep Robert Gates as secretary of defense didn't affect Americans' overall views.

While observers have noted that Obama's picks of Clinton, Gates, and retired Marine Gen. James Jones as White House national security adviser represent more centrist and conservative positions than his own, Gallup Poll Daily tracking data find party loyalists neither rattled nor reassured. Republicans, independents, and Democrats remain as confident in Obama as they were before the announcements. This is the case even though Republicans were far less enthusiastic than independents or Democrats about the Clinton pick.


Interestingly, liberals are one of the few groups showing a shift in their confidence in Obama since the announcements, from 91% to 84%, suggesting this group may have hoped for more of the "change" Obama promised on the campaign trail within his inner circle.


Overall, the Gallup Daily tracking data find Americans holding firm to their general notion that Obama will make a good president, and little he has done throughout the transition period thus far has changed opinions for better or for worse. Gallup Daily tracking will continue to monitor confidence in Obama's ability to be a good president leading up to his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009, at which time it will begin to track Obama's presidential job approval daily.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. The most recent results are based on interviews conducted Dec. 1-3, 2008, with 1,564 national adults, aged 18 and older, and interviews conducted Nov. 28-30, 2008, with 1,514 national adults, aged 18 and older. For results based on these total samples of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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