July 22nd, 2010
08:47 AM ET
4 years ago

Bill Clinton ahead of Obama, says poll

A new poll suggests former President Bill Clinton is more popular among Americans than President Obama.
A new poll suggests former President Bill Clinton is more popular among Americans than President Obama.

Washington (CNN) – A new poll suggests that former President Bill Clinton is more popular with Americans than the man who currently holds the job, President Barack Obama.

Sixty-one percent of people questioned in a Gallup survey say they have a favorable opinion of Clinton. That's nine points higher than the 52 percent who say they see Obama in a favorable light. The poll indicates that 45 percent say they have a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush.

Gallup says this is the first time in their polling that Clinton's favorable rating has eclipsed that of Obama. Clinton's numbers are up nine points from the summer of 2008, when he was branded by many people as playing a too partisan political role in helping his wife during her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination against Obama.

According to the poll, Obama's 52-percent favorable rating with the public ties his lowest number (in March of this year) since taking over in the White House in January of last year.

The poll, which was released Wednesday, could prompt the Democratic party to tap Clinton even further during the midterm election campaign, as the party tries to hold onto its majorities in Congress and its lead in governorships. The country's 42nd president has already been successful this year in helping Democratic candidates win contests in Arkansas and southwest Pennsylvania.

The survey indicates that Bush's favorable rating is up ten points since he left office at the beginning of 2009.

The Gallup poll was conducted July 8-11, with 1,020 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. cspurgeon

    Clinton was the better president and led this country to good times.

    July 22, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Rob

    I guess you can make a poll to meet your needs.Most independet voters;others don't like Obama according to every other poll rescently.I agree;we even don't like Clinton any more.We need a total change in Congress;leaders.

    July 22, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Orlando Patriot

    I am surprised 52% still see Obama in a "favorable light"? A Community Organizer who couldn't run a lemonade stand is holding the most important position in the world? What has the world come to? Obama has NEVER worked in the private sector and has no idea how an economy actually works.

    He has penalized businesses and rewards individuals who do not want to work. And many are wondering why our economy is tanking? Obama puts our country into debt by an additional 3 TRILLION dollars (that's right – TRILLION with a "T"!!) and we LOSE even MORE jobs pushing us to almost 10%? How can you spend almost $900 billion on a stimulus and LOSE more jobs? It is because what he calls "stimulus" is actually "payoffs" to others that don't actually PRODUCE anything in this economy.

    Obama will go down in history as the most useless, damaging, and incompetent president of all time!!

    July 22, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Eric, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    My dog Rover is more popular than Obama. I don't know why people didn't listen to people who were telling potential voters about his past connections, his socialist agenda that would be pushed forward, his lack of experience (community organizer didn't prepare him), his lack of empathy towards others. It seems as long as things are going well for Barry and his family, the heck with anybody else.

    Obama is still a muslim and working from within to ruin this Great Country.

    July 22, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Sick of Polls

    CNN, enough with the polls for crying out load! Every time I sign on to get news updates there is another meaningless poll on here! On the bright side you are giving someone a job by having them make these senseless phone calls, but for all the polls you have on here, never have I, nor a friend or family member ever been contacted. So who exactly gets called? Senior citizens who are sitting at home on a wednesday afternoon? Granted, I do love Bill Clinton, but I love Obama as well. So there, I will take my satisfied opinion of him, & since I am the only person I "polled" for this, he's 1 for 1, that makes his approval rating at 100%. Post that! That is about as much non-sense as your data.

    July 22, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Wayne

    Well, yeah! He left the country with a $250+ billion cash surplus. It was GEORGE W. BUSH that squandered it all.

    July 22, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. David in Houston

    "45 percent say they have a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush"...

    a.k.a. "45 percent say they have gone completely insane."

    How quickly some folks forget. Utterly ridiculous...

    July 22, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. This country ills me!

    I can't believe the impatience this country has! Obama's been in office for TWO YEARS..and you expect him to fix this nightmare of a problem Bush created? He can say that it's because of Bush for the next 8 years and I couldn't care less cuz it's going to take a LIFETIME to fix the mess Bush left! My fellow citizens are the most impatient and unintelligent people!!! And i DO believe racism has alot to do with it! you people buy into the fear and hate that Republicans feed you EVERY SINGLE TIME! and here we go again...ask yourself this, where the heck would you be if Palin and Mccain were in office?! seriously!

    And why don't you google what Obama's accomplishments have been? he's done so much and you guys just beat him down! I'm sick of it!

    republicans have filibustered left and right on every single important issue!...REPUBLICANS HAVE COST AMERICAN JOBS, LIVES ETC. ALL SO THEY CAN GET BACK IN POWER!!! WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO LEARN REPUBLICANS DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU! THEY CARE ABOUT ELECTIONS AND BIG CORPORATIONS!

    July 22, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    They always get more popular as they leave office. I just hope that people remember what Bush did in office; that should make is positive opinion numbers go down.

    July 22, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. usualone

    Of course, President Clinton would be more popular now. He does not have to make the difficult decisions the current President faces. Also, it is obvious lots of people do not like the President because he is black...whether they want to admit it or not. If Mrs. Clinton were President she would be attacked almost as viciously as President Obama. If it were not the case, that would because she is a woman and she is white. This is especially true since she and the President think basically alike as far as issues are addressed. This is also not written by a "black" person. I wonder what would be said if the President were a person with Chinese or Jewish backgrounds...or any other background that we have had since the USA became a country.

    July 22, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Yeah now, but if you compare Bill's ratings when he was in the white house for 18 months to Obama's you'd see that Obama is slightly higher then where Bill was at the same time, and Obama is dealing with a depression.

    We'll talk about Obama's ratings in a year and a half again ;)
    LOL

    As far as Bush people are just glad he cant do any more damage, so they are relieved, and that accounts for some up-tick, but Bush and Clinton are irrelevant now anyway, Clinton made his fix and Bush destroyed it, but that is in the past now

    July 22, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. Lucas Breen

    It is pretty clear that 45% of the respondents to this poll are idiots.

    July 22, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Black Panther's United

    And you know this poll is an out right lie , Bush favorable rating has increased , who was polled only whites.....because that the way this thing is looking a very bia's poll at that........

    July 22, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Not surprised by the poll. Bill Clinton was a pretty good president. Times were better ...the economy was good and we felt good about ourselves...and there was a budget surplus when he left office...something even Republican administrations didn't do.

    July 22, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Devil's in the Details.

    Wow, the libs trying to cover Obama's butt with Bill? How low the Democrats have fallen.

    July 22, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Jack

    CNN–you are really stretching yourself to find ways to get the american public stirred against Obama.

    This is an asinine headline, discrediting Obama by unfairly comparing a current presidency with a legacy one.

    July 22, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Kirk1

    So, exactly what does this mean? Why is there even a poll to compare Bill Clinton to President Obama. I read on another post "George W. Bush is not on any ballot." Nor is Bill Clinton. Leave our President alone. If people were not so hung up on "race," they would see exactly the excellent job President Obama is accomplishing. Our President is working for everyone in this country and not just one segment. Let this country heal. My goodness!!!!

    July 22, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Sally

    I'm not sure why this is a surprise. When Clinton was in charge, jobs were plentiful and we had a surplus, and we were not spending trillions of our dollars on war.Of course people liked that better! Again, Obama did not get us into this mess, and we are slowing climbing out. I doubt that people like Angell and Brewer and the rest of Palin's clan of cave bears will survive November. Seriously. They refuse to talk to anyone who does not agree with them...how will that work in Washington? They want to abolish any agency that helps people, and make this a country where foreigners are not welcome. That will play well with our allies. Yes, these women are entertaining, but they will not be elected. You betcha.

    July 22, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. roro

    Polls, shmolls. Of course, he's up in the polls. He's not facing the kind of problems that Obama is. The right wing backlash against our first duly elected African-American president has some bigoted white people running scared. Against all odds, and in spite of all the obstacles thrown by the GOP, Obama has managed to get major bills passed that will continue to take our country forward, and not back to the Bush era politics that got us into this mess. Don't get me wrong. I love me some Bill, but these polls are just plain nonsense.

    July 22, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Liz the First

    Glad to see Bill Clinton is so popular. he was one of our better presidents and there's no telling how much more he could've accomplished if not for the right's endless persecution of him for mostly made-up garbage. Obama's ratings speak to an unbelievable amount of impatience and gullibility on the part of the American people. this presiden'ts achievements have been remarkable considering the incredible mess he was left with and the wall of mindless opposition he faces at every turn. The American people need to stop listening to Faux News and turn to the reality channels and maybe they'll start realizing all the good this hard-working man is doing for them and the country. after what Fux News did to ms. Sherrod, they should be branded a terrorist organization and prosecuted. they have no sense of responsibility to the truth and are nothing more than the propaganda organ of the republican't party.

    July 22, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Jess

    I think the reason why people don't favor Obama because they think that when he was elected, they thought he'd wave a magic wand and all of our problems would be fixed. The eight year mess that Bush had us go through is the cause of this horrible economy, and people are ignorant and don't understand that not only is Obama not to blame for what the Bush Administration did, but he can not fix a problem this huge a year and a half.People don't understand how things work, and they don't understand that things don't happen over night. Things have to get worse before they can get better, money has to be spent, even if it cause more problems. It's ridiculous that people don't like Obama because of something that happened when he wasn't even in office.

    July 22, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. kctex

    why is this news?? of course he is. just like how George HW Bush is more popular than George W Bush.

    In other breaking and trending news, smooth peanut butter remains more popular than crunchy peanut butter.

    July 22, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. SD Kevin

    I'm no fan of President Obama, but it is unfair to compare him to former President Clinton. Clinton is an amazing speaker and a good diplomat, but he isn't accountable for his actions anymore than the average citizen is. President Obama has millions of people to report to – for good or bad – and at least that many directions he's being pulled to accomplish his job. Clinton gets to give speeches for a fee and then go home.

    July 22, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Brian in ME

    Not surprising, it would be tough to beat Clinton for popularity. The real outrage here is that 45% (up ten points) still have a favorable view of GW. How is that even possible? Hands down the worst president in history, his approval should be in the single digits.

    July 22, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Slick Willie can't do us any more damage, and never was the disaster-in-progress that Obama is.

    July 22, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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