Less surprising is that most liberals and moderates are also confident
PRINCETON, NJ -- The extent to which Barack Obama is experiencing a post-election wave of good will from Americans is evident in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking results, from Nov. 9-11, in which close to half of political conservatives -- 45% -- say they are "confident in his ability to be a good president." About the same percentage (46%) disagree.
Naturally, self-described liberals are overwhelmingly positive about the outlook for Obama's success (88% are confident), as are most political moderates (72%). These figures are roughly in line with these groups' candidate preferences right before Election Day. According to Gallup's final pre-election polling from Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 94% of liberals and 62% of moderates supported Obama for president.
The surprise is that conservatives are evenly divided in their forecasts for Obama's presidency. The 45% who now say they are confident in Obama's ability to be a good president contrasts with the mere 23% of this group who supported him over John McCain in the election.
This relatively strong endorsement from conservatives boosts overall confidence in Obama well beyond the 53% of the national vote he received on Election Day. Overall, 65% of Americans now say they are confident Obama will be a good president, while only 27% are not confident and 8% are unsure.
Sentiments on this question haven't changed in the five days since the election, when Gallup began tracking them -- not surprising, given the relatively low profile the president-elect has kept since winning the presidency. Gallup will continue to track this measure until Obama assumes the presidency in January.
Forecasts for Obama's presidency diverge more on the basis of party affiliation. Democrats are nearly unanimous in their confidence that Obama will be a good president, whereas two-thirds of Republicans are not confident.
One of the most optimistic groups in America today about the next administration is young adults. Three-quarters of those aged 18 to 29 predict Obama will be a good president. Adults 30 and older are also positive, only less so, with at least 6 in 10 in every older age group expressing confidence.
Nine in 10 blacks (92%), but also a majority of whites (58%), say they are confident in Obama's ability to be a good president. Obama overwhelmingly won the black vote on Election Day, but lost to McCain among whites.
Gallup's post-election polling has documented an increase in Obama's already positive favorable ratings -- from 61% immediately prior to the election to roughly 70% in recent days. Also, large majorities of Americans have said they are optimistic, excited, and proud about Obama's being elected.
The fact that nearly two-thirds of Americans -- including a broad coalition of liberals, moderates, and conservatives -- are also confident in Obama's ability to be a good president underscores the tremendous public backing he will have come January to advance his agenda, but also Americans' high expectations.
It will be important to see whether Obama's cabinet selections and policy statements between now and his inauguration on Jan. 20 alter the public's confidence in his ability to be a good president in any way. Gallup will be tracking this confidence measure until Jan. 20, after which it will be replaced by the traditional presidential job approval rating for Obama.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking with 1,539 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 9-11, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 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.