45% Suspect Obama Team Involved in Blagojevich Scandal
Monday, December 15, 2008
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Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.
Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights.
Voters nationally are more skeptical than those in Illinois. Thirty-two percent (32%) of Illinois voters said in a survey late last week that there is no way Obama was involved in the Blagojevich case, while only 13% said it is Very Likely that the president-elect was involved, with another 13% saying it is Somewhat Likely.
The Chicago Tribune on Saturday reported that Obama’s White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had conversations with Blagojevich’s staff about candidates who were acceptable to the president-elect to fill his vacant Senate seat. Obama resigned from the Senate following his election as president.
Other news organizations have since confirmed the Tribune’s report, but no official word has come from Emanuel or the president-elect. Up until now, no one in a position of authority is saying that Obama or anyone on his staff is guilty of wrongdoing.
Nationally, men are more suspicious than women, with 27% of male voters saying it is Very Likely Obama or one of this top aides was involved in the scandal versus 19% of female voters.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Republicans and 23% of unaffiliated voters also rate such involvement as Very Likely, compared to 10% of Democrats. Twenty percent (20%) of Democrats say it is not at all likely, but just eight percent (8%) of unaffiliateds and four percent (4%) of Republicans agree.
Twenty-six percent (26%) of married voters also believe it is Very Likely that Obama or one of his top aides was involved with Blagojevich, a view shared by only 17% of unmarrieds. Those with children at home are slightly more suspicious of Obama and his senior staff than those without children living with them.
But in a separate national survey, 37% of voters rate Obama as more ethical than most politicians. Twenty-two percent (22%) say he is less ethical, and 32% view him about equally as ethical as his political peers. Nine percent (9%) are undecided.
African-American voters by nearly two-to-one over whites rated Obama as more ethical than most politicians. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Democratic voters say Obama is more ethical, while only 11% of Republicans and 30% of unaffiliated voters agree. A plurality of GOP voters (43%) and unaffiliateds (36%) say Obama’s ethics are about the same as other politicians.
By comparison, only two percent (2%) of voters nationally say Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, arrested last week on federal corruption charges including trying to sell Obama’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder, is more ethical that most politicians. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say he is less ethical, and 20% believe he is about as ethical as most politicians. Again, nine percent (9%) aren’t sure.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Approval Index for Monday gives Obama a +27 rating, just one point below his highest rating to date.
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In the first polling in Illinois following Blagojevich’s arrest, 84% of voters in the state said the governor should resign. Some news reports suggest that his resignation could come as early as today.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of U.S. voters now say Obama should make ethics reform a top priority when he becomes president. Just 19% say he should not, and 22% are undecided.
When asked to rate Obama on ethics and government corruption, 52% of voters give him good or excellent marks. Twenty-one percent (21%) grade him poor in this area.
Again, men are more critical than women, and blacks and Democrats are overwhelmingly more positive than whites, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.
Eighty-six percent (86%) say they are following recent news stories about Blagojevich, with 55% saying they are following Very Closely. Only three percent (3%) say they are not following news about the Illinois governor at all.
Despite the country’s recent economic woes, voters nationally are in near agreement with those in Illinois by a two-to-one margin that politicians are more corrupt that the chief executive officers of major companies. Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters say politicians are more corrupt than CEOs, while 25% disagree. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are undecided.
In Illinois, where Blagojevich’s immediate predecessor as governor was convicted on similar federal corruption charges, 48% also believe politicians are more corrupt, with 22% saying CEOs are worse and 30% undecided.
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