November 10th, 2008
01:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Bush disapproval ratings reach new record

Bush meets with Obama at the White House Monday as his disapproval ratings reach a new high.

Bush meets with Obama at the White House Monday as his disapproval ratings reach a new high.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President-elect Obama visits the White House, a new national poll suggests that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most unpopular president in the six decades since presidential approval ratings were first measured.

Seventy-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday disapprove of how George W. Bush is handling his job as President. That's an all-time high in CNN polling, or in Gallup polling dating back to World War II.

"No other president's disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating."

Prior to President Bush, the record holder for presidential disapproval was Harry Truman, with a 67 percent disapproval rating in January of 1952, his last full year in office.

As Obama visits the White House, 57 percent of those questioned think the transfer of presidential power will be relatively easy and free from tension, with 39 percent saying the transition will be difficult.

"A majority say that the transition from Bush to Obama will go smoothly, although nearly one in four predict a lot of tension between Bush aides and Obama aides in the next few weeks. That sentiment is highest among Democrats, but even among them, a majority believes that the transition will be relatively easy," Holland said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday with 1,246 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

soundoff (356 Responses)
  1. Barbara in NC

    Bet those of you complaining about Congress voted the same ones back in.

    WE didn't here in NC. At least one lazy, selfish, no-good gone. If the next one is as bad – OUT!!

    YOU quit complaining and do something about who represents YOUR state.

    November 10, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    The congress has voted in lock step with Bush for at least 6 years.... in last two, democrats have a bit larger number. But not enough to make any real difference. Now with a Democrat as President and a majority in the congress.... perhaps.... just perhaps... we will dig ourselves out of the mess we are in.

    Republicans are always blaming everything on Democrats. They cannot accept responsibility for their stupid actions. It's always, "It wouldn't us... it was them.... we didn't do... or they let us do.... or even.... actually, it was Clinton. That's right Clinton started it." They sound like Middle School Children! And these evil people have been running this country for 8 years and made it nearly impossible for Clinton to do what he wanted to do for this country with their stupid inept Witch Hunt! If I weren't so upset... I would be speechless at the ignorance on some people!

    November 10, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Amy B Maine

    I think Bush must have broken a record for length of time he has been diapproved of as well as the actual depth of his disapproval. Yes?

    PS Congress' rating is always low, that's an historical fact. Praise God, with Democrats picking up seats, though, good things will start to happen.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. California Gold

    He worked hard to earn that distinction. Most deserving I'd say.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. paul oregon

    and this is the role model for the christian vangelical conservative gop

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. RealityCheck

    Congress's approval rating is irrelevant – it is frustrating how it is brought up like clockwork here. Most people approve of their own rep in congress and disapprove of the ability of congress as a whole to get things done. For Democrats, they are frustrated at Republicans for preventing legislation from moving forward. Republicans are frustrated with Democrats for pushing an agenda they disagree with ideologically, and don't feel like they can ever support – even in the name of bipartisanship.

    So what do the low approval numbers for Congress mean? they mean that Republicans strongly disapprove with Democrats, and Vice-versa. Nothing more, people. No surprise here. A near-meaningless metric, not at all comparable to the approval ratings of the President.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Michael watching from Canada

    Bush has dug a very deep hole for America, which is having ripple effects around the world.

    The hole is so deep that it is going to take years to get back to prosperity. America and the world must be patient. The "I want it now" mentality has to change!

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. boered1

    NO TRUTH, Bush was NOT the cause of the destruction of the republican party. The Republican party self destructed when they decided to move towards the ultra wealthy and the radical religious right and away from the average person. The two groups that controlled the party, ythat allowed a fool like Bush to get to where is he is the ultra rich, they shared a common background with Bush and knew he would not work against his own self interest, and the radical religious right who knew that being from Texas and an ultra radicaql evangelical background they could use him to push their theocratic agenda and try to turn the religious free America into a christian only America. TRUE Americans are now pushing back and taking back our country from the radical religious right and the ultrarich. When the republican party is ready to start standing up for real America again and go back to its roots of individual freedoms (whether gay or straight, christian or muslim etc) and a fiscally responsible government that is there for the supoport of the people not for the support of the corporations than the republican party will once again shine, until then the Democratic party will have to lead.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Sheila

    And yet, Nancy Pelosi will do nothing regarding impeachment – it's "divisive".

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. RJ, Phoenix

    What... no mention of the lowest rated congress in history?
    Sure Bush is a screw up, but lets not forget the morons on the hill.
    I do believe their last rating was even lower.
    Oh wait.. they are mostly Democrats. Can't go bad mouthing the chosen ones. Never mind that they've been there two years now and have accomplished NOTHING.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. Matt

    two words for the liberals....Jimmy Carter!

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Deborah/NC

    I think that within two years of Obama, the savior, Nancy Polosi and Harry Reid people in this nation will regret listening to CNN, MSNBC, and The New York Times.

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. waxwing069

    @ scott

    The reason the Democratic congress did not get anything done the last 2 years was because, Bush kept his BIG HANDY VETO pen glued to his hand and VETOED everything the congress put in front of him. In contrast to the 6 years prior to that, the congress was occupied by mostly Repubs, NEVER ONCE did Bush use his VETO PEN then. SO yes it is/was BUSH who is at fault here all the way...

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. julieo

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice have failed the American people completely. They squandered so much to feed their own egos and greed. The only thing he HAS earned is a poor rating. God knows he didn't do any work!

    November 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    Are we really surprised? Come on Republicans you are the ones who voted BUSH in! The moron? The immature minded power hungry .... ignorant fool?

    November 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Bush has been horrible, and he is behind the miserable Congressional approval rating too, when you consider the GOP are doing his bidding in Congress. The Democrats have larger numbers in Congress, but not enough to effectuate any change as the GOP will ry to block it, or fearless "Jet-Pilot" will veto it.

    And, if jeb Bush had any designs on the White House, good ole George took care of that, too! Just like he got McCain twice – in 2000 in SC and today!

    November 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Wise White Guy

    If he wants to start to rehab his image the best thing he could do would be to immediately implement EVERYTHING that Obama's economic team comes up with for policy and do it EXACTLY how they say....NOW!

    November 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Lisa251

    This comes as no surprise!

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. frank

    Just wondering what it would have been like or how he would have been if 9/11 never happened?

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Dave

    It is no surprise. And I will not be surprised of similar from Obama. We are at a time where these bought and paid for politicians are serving the elite and not the people. There is no way to ascend to the presidency without making some shady deals and promises.

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. JWheeler

    Obama may not be the saviour we are all hoping for, but he will not be a destroyer (as was Bush). Jan. 20th cannot come too soon. Bush should be a man and resign NOW! Along with the rest of his unsavory gang.

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. JOHN

    Maybe in addition to blaming Bush, Cheney and Rove, we should cast a light on all the Americans who actually voted for this joker TWICE! It's really time Americans make more thoughtful decisions with their political votes. Use some wisdom, understand what outcome your choice will make, stop voting in response to fabricated fear.

    While I'm encouraged that America made the right choice with Obama this time, I'm still disheartened by the 46% of the country that actually voted to McCain/Palin.

    We need to wake up and use our voices to support and choose leaders who will made more good decisions than bad. We need leaders who will reverse this administration's awful record.

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |

    Do you think Laura sees this or is she blind to the truth? I wonder what Laura thinks!

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. John in UPST NY

    i WOULD HAVE TO say .......the's a Crock ........other than having this War to HELP with FREEDOM IN IRAQ for those people .......(wait that makes sense , freedom huh..?) ...what if we didnt have freedom here in USA ..would you want HELP? i would think so .........OK another subject......were any of you during the first 6 years of Bush having a problem with Jobs......hey if i work thru all the PRES. Term(s) i am happy ....that is how i look at the deficit....well hey ...we been in them before we'll have them again ....the housing ....hell do you think it's Bush's fault? ...i doubt it ....i think it's banking and the consumers fault......anyone taking a ARM loan did not open thier eyes ..or let the Banks talk them into a loan they could not afford or understand ...

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Tony

    There is a stubbornly die-hard slice of the public that hovers around 24%. They believe George Bush is a great president. Of course they also believe that the earth is 6000 years old. They are fed a steady diet of Limbaugh and Hannity so they're told they are the silent majority, the real Americans. I think they're simply the most gullible, as if evidenced of their continued support of this failed administration.

    November 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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