Consider this a follow-up to Harry Reid’s reassurance that Barack Obama would pick judges just as well as he picks his Cabinet. So far, the public has no great confidence in the team Obama picked, according to the most recent Harris poll. While his personal popularity remains high, voters consider his team a collection of mediocrities:
It is evident that the popularity of this administration is strongly dependent on the president’s positive ratings. None of his colleagues do much to help him politically. Some commentators have written about the supposed strength of his team and his cabinet members. The public does not share this enthusiasm. And Nancy Pelosi is a political liability. …
One striking finding is how few people are familiar with key players in Washington. Less than half of adults are familiar enough with Defense Secretary Robert Gates (43%), Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (41%), and Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke (43%) to have any opinions of them. Only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (83%), Vice President Joe Biden (69%), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (66%) of those listed are known to most people. In so far as any of the leaders measured are popular, Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates have more positive than negative ratings.
In fact, the poll suggests that Joe Biden has gone backwards since his election on familiarity. In March, 70% of the American public knew him well enough to have an opinion. A month later, that number dropped to 67% despite (or perhaps due to) being Obama’s VP. That rebounded back to 69% in May, but that may have been the result of Biden’s hysterics on the swine flu and public transportation — which also may have contributed to his -4 favorability.
The only member of the Cabinet to get clearly favorable marks from the public was the man Obama didn’t originally appoint himself, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The rest? Hillary does pretty well with a +14 favorability, but after that it gets ugly. Geithner gets a -10, Fed chair Ben Bernanke a -7, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a -24, the worst individual rating in the poll. She does much worse than her caucus does as a whole, with Congressional Democrats at -14 favorability.
Of course, the Republicans on Capitol Hill shouldn’t crow too much about that. They have the worst score in the poll, with a -31 favorability rating.
Andrew Malcolm notes, tongue firmly in cheek:
Other than that, it’s seen as a very strong Obama administration team.
Does Reid still want to use this Cabinet to reassure us of Obama’s executive abilities in picking staff?