CNN/ORC Poll: Bush 43 now on par with Obama
June 12th, 2014
10:22 AM ET
1 month ago

CNN/ORC Poll: Bush 43 now on par with Obama

Washington (CNN) – My, how the times have changed.

In January 2009, as President George W. Bush was days away from leaving the White House, the unpopular President's favorable rating stood at 35% in a CNN/ORC International survey. The man who was succeeding him, Barack Obama, was fresh from his historic 2008 presidential election victory and had a 78% favorable rating among Americans.

But a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates a milestone of sorts: Obama is now as unpopular as Bush. Fifty-one percent have an unfavorable view of Bush; 51% feel the same way about Obama. Obama's favorable rating is now at 47% - a new low for him, and virtually identical to Bush's 46% favorable rating, a significant improvement over his 2009 numbers.

Obama started out strong, but as many predicted, the public's love affair with Obama faded as reality set in. Obama dealt with the severe recession plaguing the nation and pushed for controversial proposals such as the federal stimulus and health care reform. By 2010, the President's favorable rating had dropped by double digits, although his numbers generally remained in the mid-50s throughout the 2012 presidential campaign.

"This marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obama," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And, at 51%, his unfavorable his higher than his favorables for the first time as well."

As for Bush, his numbers have gradually edged up over the years since he left the White House, and is now on par with Obama.

Both Bush and Obama have much lower favorable ratings than the two men that preceded them in the White House. Sixty-eight percent of the public has a positive view of former President Bill Clinton and 58% say they have favorable opinion of former President George H.W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton's numbers drop

Hillary Clinton's favorable ratings have steadily dropped since she left the State Department, from 67% in March of 2013 to 59% last fall, 57% in March of this year, and now 55%.

The drop was expected, as Clinton transitioned from America's top diplomat to potential Democratic presidential candidate.

"Secretary of State is often seen as a non-political, non-partisan kind of job, and that showed in Clinton's favorable ratings while she ran the State Department," Holland said. "In 2011, her favorable rating was as high as 47% among Republicans. Now that she seems to be running for office again, her favorables among Republicans have plummeted to 18%."

The former President isn't the only Clinton who has a higher favorable rating than his wife. Daughter Chelsea Clinton's favorable rating stands at 59%, four percentage points higher than her mother.

Hillary Clinton's numbers edging down

Hillary Clinton: By the numbers

As for other first ladies, both past and present: Barbara Bush stands at 71%, Laura Bush comes in at 68% and Michelle Obama has a 61% favorable rating.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from May 29-June 1, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Susan

    We need to hire a welfare mom who has been on the system for decades to be our next president. Kind of like how tech companies hire black hat hackers to break codes and dismantle systems to find their flaws, we need a welfare mom who has exploited and navigated the system to her own selfish gain to tell us where we're going wrong. Leave the heavy stuff, like foreign policy and military leadership to the smart people, while welfare mom teaches us where the slash budgets and shore up loopholes

    June 13, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Rock Und Rollah

    Obama and Bush are on opposite trajectories...

    Give Obama 2 1/2 more years to break the American spirit...and heaven knows just how low Obama's approval numbers will go.

    June 13, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Hogan's Goat

    " False flag operations are not conspiracy theories. " How sad that sounds. A lonesome cuckoo sounding his note in the wild. Yes, you seem perfectly reasonable there, fella. I'm sure you aren't schizophrenic or anything.

    June 13, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Hogan's Goat

    "we need a welfare mom who has exploited and navigated the system to her own selfish gain to tell us where we're going wrong." Good luck finding one. They mostly exist in the fevered imagination of right-wing demagogues like Noot and Mitt and Rand. God, you people really do live in a plastic bubble of dreams . . .

    June 13, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Skewed

    /- 3%

    Could some one please explain how a poll has a margin of error. Did thirty-one people click the "whatever" button?

    June 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. ryche

    HAHAHAH love this poll.. i especially love all the typical libs on here trying to defend this obvious train wreck.. no my guys better... no my guys better.. i have never seen a bigger group of children then i do when i read the cnn ticker comments from libs trying to defend the indefensible. if it wasn't so sad, it'd be comical.. and the hypocrisy from libs when it comes to war crimes, gas prices, or foreign policy is so thick you could cut it with a knife..

    June 13, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. tomcat

    It seems that CNN is buying into the Fox Fables Channel of polling. Remember how Romney was going to trample Obama? So much for accuracy. Why don't you look at the reality of Bush being put in office by the Supremes after losing the election by 500,000 votes & inheriting a robust economy which he & the GOP destroyed & Obama inherited the GOP's mess. GWB had a poll rating (Gallup) of 25% compared to Obama's 47% even after years of GOP obstruction, lies, deceit & Koch Bros. cash.. Get is straight CNN. This is not Flight 370 so try fact checking just for a change of pace.

    June 13, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. Tom Dodson

    The bar was not set too high there, Let those old enough to remember Ronald Reagan's presidency compare Obama to the Gipper and vote and watch Obama go to the low teens or worse in that poll.

    June 13, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Vili

    There is absolutely NO truth or accuracy to this poll nor to this article! If you read this, 1,003 people's opinion out of 317 million Americans does not represent anything. This is meaningless!

    June 13, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  10. Hilary

    I wasn't included in this poll, so how unbiased is this poll if only some people participated?

    June 14, 2014 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  11. Namepe

    Poll is stupid, when its said and done Obama will be far more popular than that Bush .... Bush was and still is the worst President of my lifetime. Out of sight out of mind thats all

    June 14, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. KGEye

    Quick quiz: why must Bush's numbers be tied to Obama? Answer: Obama apologists understand that our Commander in Chief is not strong enough to stand on his own...even in a simple posting about his poll numbers. Instead, he must be mentioned in the same breath as a real leader (i.e. a person despised by liberals (see Namepe post 201406141050)).

    So rather than the real story of the numbers (that Obama is fooling fewer Americans than ever before) we get some populist twist looking to see how popular Obama is compared to Bush. Not even close to relevant.

    June 15, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
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