May 1st, 2008
02:30 PM ET
3 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. D ingram

    Dis agree, history will prove him one of our best-

    May 1, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Lando Griffin

    How in the world did his approval rating get this high? Must still be quite a few idiots out there.

    May 1, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. HK

    Well the question to ask here is who gave him the chance twice over for being the dumbest and the most incompetent president.

    May 1, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. BK

    Bush got elected running on unifying the country. Sound familar? Bush lost every debate and they still voted for him. Sound familar? Obama will be another Jimmy Carter, one of the worst presidents we ever had.

    I will take two for the price of one any day. When Clinton was president we had low gas prices, the economy was good and everyone prospered. At least I know what they will do?

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Tony

    A major idiot to say the least !

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Mips

    Where were all these people during the election. How long will it take this country to develop some foresight. It was painfully obvious to me how lame GWB was.

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. zivo24

    This is what America gets when people are lured to vote for wedge issues like guns, gay marriage, abortion, etc rather than REAL and TANGENT issues like the economy, health care, our diplomatic standing in the world, etc.

    God forbid anybody bring this up and try to steer the conversation to things that really matter!

    Oh, wait..that's what Obama was trying to do but the only thing the media and most people chose to hear was the "bitter" comment.

    This country is doomed to keep swirling around in a toilet until we start paying attention to important things and stop letting opportunistic politicans and the media divide us over everything else.

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Mary

    Is anyone really surprised???

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Bob

    Hold on America, our long national nightmare is almost over.

    But let me say this–I think the country is stupid to reward Bush's henchmen. Rumsfeld is just as guilty as some of Hitler's men. Why should we have to look at Karl Rove's face, or pay Cheney's company money from our tax dollars. We still haven't learned.

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Joseph, NY, NY

    If Obama wins he'll beat Bush out in this category.

    Go McCain + Rice

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. EBC

    He's an idiot.

    Americans better be CAREFUL, they are falling for the same Bushman years when it comes to Sen. McCain and Republican traitor Sen. Clinton. She claims to be a democrat but she's been talking and behaving like a Republican!!

    Only a Republican behaves like Sen. Clinton has been behaving when it comes to damaging her own party and causing such divisiveness ...

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Romas

    I find that Bush's arrogance, disrespect of the citizens of the USA and total allegiance to big business (in particular the financial sector) as one of the most dominant aspects of his dislikeability. He is so obviously clueless as to what the vast majority of Americans have to deal with.
    I used to tell my children that those green things on trees were leaves not dollars; apparently Bush never learned that and thinks everyone can just pick as much money as they need to pay their bills, buy basics and try to strive for the American Dream (whatever that is nowadays).
    He made sure no one could declare bankruptcy when the banks steal you blind with their astronomically high credit card interest rates (big business needs the money),
    He made sure that we live in fear of our lives so that he can keep fighting a totally unjustified war. No hope with this man.
    He has just about bankrupted this country with his policies and doesn't seem to care that other countries own so much of us. Better start learning Chinese. Did you realize that $4.00 per gallon gas is only $2.67 in Euro's – gee about what we were averaging for gas when the dollar and Euro were worth the same.
    And our worthless politicians (that supposedly represent us) haven't got the guts to do the right thing and impeach this incompetent person. I think we need term limits on congessmen and senators so we get ride of all the fat cats destroying our country.
    Enough..I am getting more irritated just listing things that are wrong.

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    I'm no fan of Osama Bin Laden but when you look at the death and destruction the Bush administration is responsible for in Iraq, the death of Iraqi men women and children not to mention those that are displaced, and the deaths of over 4000 American heroes (so far!) I'd have to say that Bush makes Bin Laden look like Walt Disney!! To see him joking around and dancing, DANCING, on the porch of the White House is unbelievable and unforgivable. The fool doesn't even know what he has done!! Don't get me started on how he's brought our great nation to it's knees!!

    May 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Raymond Cocteau

    What his approval rating is or isn't is totally irrelevant. It is what he has done and its effects that have the real impact on peoples lives.

    Under George Bush the US dollar has sunken to an all time low against other currencies, oil is at an all time high, gas is at an all time high and the US deficit is at an all time high. I wont even begin to talk about his criminal and un-American occupation of a sovereign land.

    George W Bush is not only the most unpopular president in history, he is also the architect of the darkest times in American history..

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Evelyn, Raleigh, NC

    That's what happens when a president is selected and not elected!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. dee

    No attacks? What do you call 9/11?!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Max

    BK – Hillary is a complete FAKE! Give it up dude!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. MP-Pennsylvania

    Mr. Bush,
    Be careful what you are talking

    Hiallry's campaign like unpopular presidents like Truman.......

    They even quoted Truman........

    you will be quoted tooo...........

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Canuck

    Vive la Bush!!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Dan

    It's amazing that 29% DON'T revile him. He is an un-American cowardly religious zealot. He has no understanding of the Constitution or of American ideals. He serves only his puppet-masters Dick Cheney, big oil, big pharma, big money, and the ayotallas of the Christian right-wing. He never even won hos office in a fair election. It will be good riddance to him on January 20, 2009.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Ramesh Wadfhwani

    Wow! That's amazing.28% of the American approve his performance as President. Come november, We will have real "Mission Accomplished" when Obama takes over as the President.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Sarah

    he proposes amendments to declare a minority group not deserving of the same rights as others (slavery, suffrage, gay marriage). He used 9-11 to go after Iraq (Osama is there, WMD's are there, Well I was lied to), He is spending billions there when they are making 70 billion in oil profits He has swept away the line between church and state and used his "values" to decide policy (yeah, stem cell research is bad, war good.). His "no child left behind" has kids stressing over tests that determine their schools budgets. And American's are being pushed to poverty by him and and group of people who can afford their poor policy. Bush does not care about the average American because he has no concept of the bigger picture.

    At least Clinton knew what it was like to struggle, give me Clinton and Monica, and bad land deals ANY DAY.. Over a man who sits for seven minutes listening to a kids story while NY is being attacked. How can anyone defend him?????

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. seriously

    Tom, are you serious? Wasn't he president during 9/11? I'm pretty sure that counts as an attack on America during his time. Wake up and stop being so ignorant!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Scott, Cincinnati

    This man represents America to the rest of the world. As the vast majority of Americans beleive that he's infact the worst president ever you would think that he would have changed his cowboy diplomatic ways or at least try to comprimise on anything, but no, not King George. If he had an once of dignity or respect for our country and our standing in the world he would fire Dick, then resign, and President Nancy Pelosi could set the stage for an Obama or Clinton transition. But no, I'll bet Bush stays is office as long as possible and secures a good position for himself somewhere within the oil and gas industry for his later greedy years.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. wake up

    This president has to be the dumbest. And I won't hold the american people accountable because you didn't vote for him, the voting machines in florida did.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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