May 1st, 2008
02:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Bush most unpopular in modern history

New poll numbers show bad news for president Bush.
New poll numbers show bad news for president Bush.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush his handling his job as president.

"No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president's disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Bush's approval rating, which stands at 28 percent in our new poll, remains better than the all-time lows set by Harry Truman and Richard Nixon (22 percent and 24 percent, respectively) but even those two presidents never got a disapproval rating in the 70s," Holland added. "The previous all-time record in CNN or Gallup polling was set by Truman, 66 percent disapproval in January 1952."

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider adds, "He is more unpopular than Richard Nixon was just before he resigned from the presidency in August 1974." President Nixon's disapproval rating in August 1974 stood at 67 percent.

The poll also indicates that support for the war in Iraq has never been lower. Thirty percent of those questioned favored the war while 68 percent opposed the conflict.

"Americans are growing more pessimistic about the war," Holland said. "In January, nearly half believed that things were going well for the U.S. in Iraq; now that figure has dropped to 39 percent."

The numbers on the Iraq war come on the five-year anniversary of President Bush's "mission accomplished" moment onboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, when Bush proclaimed that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

The record low support for the war in a CNN poll could be one reason behind the president's unpopularity, but it probably is not the only one.

"Support for the war, the assessment of the economy and approval of Mr. Bush are all about the same - bad," Schneider said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone from Monday through Wednesday, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. lwhite

    Many would say not only the most unpopular, but the most despised and disparaged...many feel he wrecked the country on so many dimensions – political, economic, environmental, spiritual that it was beyond belief that such a downgrading of a great country could occur so rapidly..between his violations of the constitution, lies, cronyisms, disreard of public opinion and public resources..a nightmare!

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. I support W!

    I find the interesting fact in the article is that Harry Truman's approval rating was rather low during his time, yet he's perceived as very successful today (and I am referencing your poll a while ago that asked if you could bring any president back to office (living or dead) who woudl it be? Many folks voted for Mr. Harry S. Truman. I would not be suprised if the same thing happened to Bush.

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but because I strongly support our President, I must do my due diligence and say so!

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Sammy

    To Mark Anthony,

    Well said... I totally agree with you...

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. amarsha

    I didn't approve of him 8 years ago, either. Thanks, FL

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Phoenician, AZ

    How can any sane person vote for McSame? Obama, Clinton – we need a democrat! Enough stupidity. It should end in May. We should concentrate on bringning down McSame.

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. After further review,Texas

    The 28% must be Pod People or had a chip inbedded in their brain.

    May 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Xanadude of Velen

    Correction TOM......More americans have died from Terrorist attacks during GWB's presidency than any other president.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. rlkdsklj

    True, Hillary is dishonest and cold hearted, but most politicians are. Bush made himself out to be a bafoon by not being able to give a speech without stumbling and by getting america into a war costing billions of dollars under false prestenses

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Robert

    Oh man Mick, quit blaming the media. I mean are the American people really so stupid. They have a President that go us into an unnecessary war, seems oblivious to the downturn in the economy, and really does not care about high oil prices because it benefits those people who he and Dick Cheney used to hang out with (politically and socially). I calculated that a typical American family is probably paying $3,000 more out of pocket than they were five years ago for heating of the home and gas for the car. This is all after tax money. And the President has never had a short-term or long-term solution to that except to drill more and thus pollute the environment more. We all see this. It is not the media telling us this. The media never really mentions the actual cost out of our pocket. It never really talks about Bush's and Cheney's oil roots except in the occasional story (and never at all on FOX news). If anything, the media has missed the boat. This president deserves lower approval ratings that what he has now (and I did not even mention foreign policy other than the Iraq War).

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. James, Americus GA

    NOW those people are realizing what some knew all along. Too bad they didn't have the fore site BEFORE the elections.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. M.H.

    Well does anyone else think they could do better? How about Congress? Don't hear much about that now do we? What is their approval rating?

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. mike g

    and McCain is just a 3rd term Bush. Bush is a bafoon. Just look at the way he smirks and smiles when he's talking about the war in Iraq. January 09 can't come soon.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. America Speaks

    He should have been impeached a loooooong time ago (Id like to know which americans voted for this man for a second time. Bush and all those people are the ones who should be fighting this war but he is good buddies with Bin Laden {how can you find Saddam in a hole within his own country but you find Bin Laden......CAUSE HE IS HIDING IN THE WHITE HOUSE} so that wouldn't even be an issue with him.) He (and his voters) should be arrested for war crimes (being as he is one of the worst terrorist living) and they should do him like Saddam was done.

    He is the devils advocate.

    ps... and bring Chaney, Rove, and Conde with him!!!

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. tell the truth

    this should stop Obama and Clintion support from voting for Mccain. McCain=Bush.

    Vote Obama or Hilliary for you an your family.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Vince - Phoenix

    i love it when people grasp at congress' numbers as if to deflect blame from bush.... truth..... the republicans had a free ride for six full years... had ALL THREE branches of government.

    they have no one .....NO ONE to blame for the disastrous state of the country.... but themselves....

    (mabye if they had been doing "the people's" work, instead of looking after big business interests... we wouldn't be here... but...

    it is with exceedingly GREAT pleasure that I type these words...

    WE "TOLD" YOU SO !!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. greg

    And still just as smug as ever.....Maybe when he is informed of this poll, if anyone dare tell him ( yes men) that smirk will fade.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. katharine ryan New York New York

    Plus, I really do not trust your polling methods. It always feels like you poll your best friends and people in your office you know will agree with you. Your polls NEVER feel honest.

    May 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Veterans for Obama

    Can't spell W without Duh!

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Ig

    You think?

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. CHANGE

    Say no to McSame!

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. kim

    We need to put things in a historical perspective, e.g., Lincoln in comparison was more unpopular and now he is rated one of the best presidents.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Jay

    What people forget is he also holds the opposite distinction as the most popular president according to the polls. In other words, approval polls are meaningless.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Mike

    Ok here's the question.
    Who are the blind idiots (28%) who think Bush has done a good job. That's what I want to know because while I don't hate the man as a person it is obvious to anyone who has not being in a cave for the past 7 years that it is a colossal failure.

    The 28% gives me much less faith in humanity and I believe those people are inherently selfish and stupid.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Colleen Graves

    Why is it that Americans disapprove of George Bush by a huge margin, at least 3/4s of us hate the way he did his job, yet that many of us wanted to go to Iraq in 2002 and 2003? And why are half of us saying we would vote for McCain? Does that mean that 75% of us hate the way things are going, but 25% of those people are willing to keep it going? What the hell?! This is the beginning of the end of America no matter who takes the job next. Not even Obama can do anything to change how politics work in this country. No matter how hard he tried to say that his politics are different, obviously they are not. His campaign has proved that over and over.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. John

    I'm suprised its not a higher disapproval rating then that, he should be tried for war crimes, impeached along with Cheney, and publically hanged. End of story.

    May 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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