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. Richard N from D.C.

    Jimmy Carter? Why bring him up??? Oh, I get it. Thanks. That's right. Bush is WORSE than Carter!!!!!

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Maggie Kortchmar

    Oh and for Mike-Jimmy Carter made George Bush look like Porky Pig, Carter was ahead of his time and has gone down in History as a President of honor and vision.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Jerome

    Bush is really bad but in two years time, we will see NO improvement with Obama.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. james

    Can`t wait for History to judge him----- Wanna bet he sets a new low ????????

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Don H. New Port Richey, FL

    For "W"'s disapproval rating to be only 76% is still amazing.

    When you consider this administration has;
    1. Created a deficit, when there was a surplus in 2000.
    2. Created a war that has lasted longer than WWII and was not
    3. "Bent" the U.S. Constitution to meet their political agendas.
    4. Thrown away foreign affairs policies that have ruined our status
    as a world power.
    5. Created a political "us verses them" division, which will be ongoing.

    The RNC, Bush and Cheney should be ashamed of eight years of
    unbanned greed. Good bye and good riddance.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Casey/NH

    Maybe his visit with Obama today will give a boost to his image.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Michael from Lone Tree

    After reading through the comments from people who think that GW has enhanced the security of the country and that after he's gone we will be afraid to go to shopping centers because we might get "blown up," I'm convinced that irrational scare tactics work VERY well.

    If you look at the EVIDENCE, you'll see that we are not much more secure now than we were before 9/11. Is there ANY evidence that GW's policies have CAUSED us to be more secure? If so, how have they done that? To the contrary, the evidence shows that our actions have actually agitated religious zealots and given them a continuous stream of reasons to attack America.

    Fear mongering does not prove a point. Quite to the contrary, the world's reaction to Obama's election is strong proof that perceptions are already beginning to change and that the rest of the world has a measure of hope that our leaders will not be stubborn, ideological bullies, but rather intelligent and open-minded leaders whom the world can look to as an example of how to run a country.

    Bush (like readers who stick by him) deludes himself by telling his friends that "history will bear me out" simply because that's the ONLY way to wake up to 24% approval ratings and not feel like a complete failure.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. S.Kennedy

    AMEN that hes gone. Your article is right on. OH What we've had to endure under this man. Thank God hes gone and to think he used us christians to get in office and the Lord only knows how we've all paid the price.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. sally, san diego ca

    Lets hear if from the idiots that re-elected him in 2004. That was one of the worst days for this country, everybody that voted for Kerry knew that the country was totally screwed.

    Here is what is hilarious. The demographic that voted for Bush in 2004 is suffering the most from his administrations policies and decisions.


    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Dibbler

    If Obama is half as good some people think he is, then he will be twice as good as Bush.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. What?

    I love the people who try to defend this disaster of a presidency.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. jd

    Bush will now have time to bring Sarah Palin up to speed, God help America

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Bad In Bad Out

    I knew back in 2000 when Florida was stolen that we were in for a disaster. Nothing ever good comes out of something bad.

    November 10, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Brooke in PA

    It'll be the lowest until Obama comes in. He'll outdo Bush within his first year.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Noah

    Big deal. President Truman had 22% approval ratings when he left office and he is now considered to be the 7th most popular and best President in history. Bush's image and legacy will be repaired in the years to come once the Left finally admit that he did a great job protecting us and we see the progress that will be made in Iraq. Almost every President has a poor approval rating when they leave office. Even wildily popular Presidents like Clinton.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Rache from Bowie

    I think that some can legitimately argue that the way Bush handled this economy was downright criminal.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Red, Red WHINE!!

    @Jon in Talent

    just a reminder Jon, I saw two buildings get struck by terrorists while he was President. You have a funny interpretation of 'how safe' he kept us. I didn't feel all that safe after he fell asleep at the wheel and invited attacks against us. But if you did, more power to you. Perhaps it's just me, I kind of feel safe when our president doesn't allow us to get attacked. I'm funny that way though.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Ted Breuski

    You are a nightmare Mr. President, you and Cheney and all the other little devils your surrounded yourself with.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Karen - Proud of This Country

    Why can't he just step down NOW so Obama can get started... He ran this country in the ground and only thought of self interest.

    November 10, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Karen

    See Canadian documentary "The Bush Years" by Terence McKenna!


    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bush is a total loser...... and a LIAR

    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. red33,cedar rapids, ia

    If people were more 'fair', they would realize that the democrats in control of congress since 2006, have led this country financially down the rathole, since they are largely responsible for the Freddie/Fannie disaster. Also, there obviously needs to be some tort reform, that limits damages, punitive damages. The lawyers are getting rich off taxpayers. Also, union workers in Detroit, need to realize the automakers are not producing they way they were, and the workers, retirees, etc, need to take cuts in wages, and health insurance.
    By the way, I have NEVER been asked to participate in these polls; the ones who take them do the screening, depending on who they are working for.
    What is the rating for congress???

    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. iamlikeagreenolivetree

    Why don't you give God an approval rating? Let's see how much it will influence Him? If approval ratings were the measure of a man Hitler would be in the top ten, along with Nero and his dead half-brother. Considering they all had the support of the amoral majority. If fickleness were the measure of a society, the U.S. would be the greatest society to have ever existed. May God bring his mercy to the things this society gives it's approval to.

    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. P. D.

    This is news? Everyone I know has concluded that Bush is the worst president EVER. We as a nation have, been badly served by this President and his corrupt Administration. It will take decades to recover from this mess. I believe the Republican Party will go the way of the Whigs.

    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Uncle Fester

    Gary November 10th, 2008 12:11 pm ET

    Way to be a maverick in reporting the numbers. Even though every other mention of the rating decides to use 'approval' numbers. Thanks Paul I love doing math when I'm reading an article. So a 76% disapproval rating to CNN is a 24% approval rating to everyone else. It makes me question why you chose to report the numbers this way.

    You can polish a turd all you want, it's still a turd

    November 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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