Sources: Stanley B. Greenberg and Andrew H. Baumann

Client: Democracy Corps


Full Memo: The President-Elect's Standing (PDF - 7 K)

Survey Results (PDF - 3 K)

Dec 1992 Survey (PDF - 4 K)

Jan 1993 Survey (PDF - 5 K)

Executive Summary

The latest national survey from Democracy Corps finds an electorate that gives President-elect Barack Obama strong marks - even stronger than on the last occasion when the country turned to a Democrat to lead in 1992 - and with even higher expectations. The decade of polarization and the intense election just completed leaves Obama with more intense support and the potential to build upon it. Nonetheless, a large portion of the public is waiting to decide whether Obama is doing a good job, and the country is more determined than in 1992 and early 1993 that the Congress play a role advancing the new agenda.

Key Findings

  • Obama currently holds a mean thermometer score of 62.9, about 3 degrees higher than Bill Clinton’s rating of 60 in 1992. At 59 percent warm and just 28 percent cool, this is an uptick from Obama’s Election Day rating of 56 percent warm and 35 percent cool. Obama’s favorability is at its highest point, beyond the honeymoon numbers in our election night poll.
  • A majority (53 percent) of voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president-elect, while just 19 percent disapprove.
  • A plurality of voters (49 to 42 percent) are more concerned that the Democratic Congress will be too much of a rubber stamp than they are that Congress will prevent Obama from enacting the changes he thinks are needed; these results are reversed from early 1993.


This memo is based on a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted November 19-23, 2008. But uniquely, this survey compares the current results to surveys Greenberg-Lake: The Analysis Group conducted for President Bill Clinton at a comparable point after his election in 1992.