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. jeff

    This ISNT news, buts it's good to make a point of! History MUST reflect accurately what a colossal failure this guy was to America, and the world so it NEVER happens again!

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Jeanne

    What difference will it make? He doesn't have to worry about losing his home to foreclosure or robbing Peter to pay Paul just to put gas in his car to get to work. He certainly doesn't have to worry about losing his daughters to war. The guy has spent his life using his family connections and money to avoid difficulty. When he's out of office, he'll make millions more by being hired to speak at corporate engagements, just like his dad.

    The man sickens me. Never voted for him...never would. If only the American public had paid more attention to the various scams he employed in his life (read some Molly Ivins if you're interested) perhaps they would have known better than to elect him.

    If I ever met him in public, I would spit on him. And I thank God my children are too young to be sent to fight in Iraq.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Barbara

    Even more startling than the high disapproval rating is the 28% approval rating. Who makes up that 28%? How could 28% of Americans approve the war and torture president?

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Bud Curtis...

    You're wrong... the president who limitied civil liberties more than any president and had power comparable to that of a king (pre magna carta) was Abraham Lincoln. Bush will be viewed in 50-60 years as a good president who got blamed by a lot of incompetant, uneducated and cowards over things they thought he could control. Was the war a mistake?? perhaps but a large majority of congress approved including the left winged pansies. To leave now would be to spit on all of our fallen... stay the course.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. ConsiderThis, FL

    George W. Bush is the definition of Peter's Principle. He wasn't qualified when he got elected the first time. He didn't learn anything about being President after nearly 8 years in office. And, what's scary is that enough Americans thought that he was good enough to vote for not once, BUT TWICE! His two terms had absolutely nothing to do with COMPETENCE, but everything to do with POLITICS. I am convinced that the only reason for George W. Bush being President was to open our minds to the reality that an African American or a Woman couldn't do a worst job at being President. This is George W. Bush's legacy – he caused America to be open to people other than white males as President. If it wasn't for George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton wouldn't be given a thought as President.. George W. Bush: What a painful price for America to have paid to see the results of politics over competence............sad........sad.........sad. But, Bush and his buddies are laughing all the way to the bank! The joke is on us, not him. $4 gas – no coincedence.

    May 1, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Too bad someone convinced you to get off that bar stool. You were a very successful drunk and probably that is the limit of you ability.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. toby hill

    In current history maybe but as historian remember the 7 years the nation went without a terrorist attack on our soil the tunes will change because of the consistant attacks that will occur with any other President whether being a Republican or Democratic. When we are begging for oil we will also remember the President that called for opening currently restricted areas. There will be a lot of things that will change that also changes people's opinion about how things were.
    The truth of the matter is that all 3 Presidential Candidates are current members of Congress and we all know congresses approval ratings are lower than even this President and that will not change when one of them becomes President. We are in a cycle where single issues don't control approval ratings as a whole. It is a cycle of who we dislike the least.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Regina Davis

    We could have had Al Gore. What a difference that would have made. He might have been stuffy and boring, but he would have had the skills and intellect to be a good, if not great, president. What a shame. The media blew it on that race, too. It's time we asked questions about qualifications and specific plans of action and did not focus on the campaign tactics or personalities. Stuffy beats stupid every time.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    This is only one honorable way out...

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. EddyNewHope

    Bwaaaah! Mission Accomplished: The most unpopular president in modern history. That's hilarious.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Cody

    If you are a person who voted for this fool, especially in 2004, now might be the time to start questioning yourself about whether you have the knowledge or judgment to vote in the upcoming election.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Who voted this guy to office not once but twice!

    Let's now be swayed by fear appeals yet again because this time the stakes are a lot higher since we are already in a mess....Vote for a voice that can bring a new dawn in America. These are not just hollow words...Hope is the sheet anchor of life...without hope we are just a bunch of cynics criticizing each other till the day we die...

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. newz4i

    71 percent of Americans will not tolerate 935 lies. Will not tolerate the slaughtering innocent Middle Eastern people, children, in the name of American values.

    A Bush/McCain ticket will – stay the course – unless "we" stand up to stop it.

    And we CAN stop it this November.

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. John L.

    As I fill-up with $4 gas at the gas station and I think of the elections "stolen" and the lives lost in Iraq, contrasted with the token "effort" put forth to get Osama Bin Laden....I find it helps to at least once yell "THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER!"...after that I'm done wasting my time thinking of "The Decider."

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. William

    And he earned every bit of it

    May 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Helene

    And he is a war criminal in addition and should be prosecuted. I am ashamed of traveling abroad being an American !

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. MP-Pennsylvania

    Where are all those people who voted Bush vs Gore, Kerry...........

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Pamela

    You would think the man would want to be known differently in the history books, but alas, he could care less!!!!

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Sam - MA

    Worst president with some of the following facts:

    1. 3 Trillion dollors deficit from the Clinton's surplus
    2. More than 4000 soldiers died and 500 Billions dollors for the most unsuccessful wars
    3. USA was most respected during Clinton admin, now that it is most unpopular
    4. Highest gas and food prices for no good reasons
    5. Katrina's goverment act is the most shame! - even undevelopment country would not happen in the modern history

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Obama Will Be Worse

    Obama's will be in the high 80's by the time he is leaving office IF he gets elected

    May 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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