CNN/ORC Poll: Bush 43 now on par with Obama
June 12th, 2014
10:22 AM ET
2 months 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. YoonYoungJo

    I don't understand Obama's low approval ratings. Sometimes I think people are unreasonable. Considering the Politicol climate, numerous crisis he's had to deal with domestically, and the fact he has done many of the things he promised, yet the same people who favored him do not approve now. I understand some of it may come from Obama's leniency with foreign policy but how Obama has dealt with foreign policy is not out of character. He has always tried to maintain the a fair, balanced and fact laden approach. He has always emphasized inclusion and not exclusion. But to expect Obama to do everything he promised in 8 years is physically impossible. Especially with the congress he had to deal with. Maybe if he had another 4 years he could have kept virtually all his promises but to do it all in 8, just not possible.

    June 12, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Gunderson

    President Bush believed in the people, President Obama believes in the state. The old Soviet Union was a product of the state, now defunct. It may be that people are tired of Big Government Liberal Politics. So far it is a glaring failure.

    June 12, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And yet nothing on the GOP Congress....😒

    June 12, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    YoonYoungJo says:
    June 12, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am
    I don’t understand Obama’s low approval ratings. Sometimes I think people are unreasonable. Considering the Politicol climate, numerous crisis he’s had to deal with domestically, and the fact he has done many of the things he promised, yet the same people who favored him do not approve now. I understand some of it may come from Obama’s leniency with foreign policy but how Obama has dealt with foreign policy is not out of character. He has always tried to maintain the a fair, balanced and fact laden approach. He has always emphasized inclusion and not exclusion. But to expect Obama to do everything he promised in 8 years is physically impossible. Especially with the congress he had to deal with. Maybe if he had another 4 years he could have kept virtually all his promises but to do it all in 8, just not possible.

    You have to consider whom they polled. Mostly landlines. Mainly older, melanin challenged people that still can't believe one of them was elected POTUS. And with the new era of hate groups aimed at the young, many melanin challenged males hate this POTUS for one reason only. That gorgeous permanent tan. Oh they'll say that his skin color has nothing to do with it. They'll attack me for saying this, yet ignore many comments that show I'm right. No matter what this POTUS does, they'll never give him one iota of credit. It's truly pathetic and they've completely changed how I look at every single one of them now. And I was never like this prior to 2008.

    June 12, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. old age voter

    “Obama dealt with the severe recession plaguing the nation”
    Obama winning the Democratic nomination in June of 2008 was most likely the main cause of the recession. Everyone knew Obama would beat McCain who had won the Republican nomination in March 2008 and they knew what was coming from a Democratic president like Obama. Obamas rating have done nothing but drop since his election.

    June 12, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    I have to say, Bush came by his numbers honestly: He and cheney invaded another country, illegally, unnecessarily, and without funding it; plus they kept the economy propped up with toothpicks until it reached near collapse, bringing the world economy down with it.

    Barry's bad image is mainly the result of right-wing propaganda: though he got us out of W-cheney's wars, he gets blamed for all the harm that they brought about, though he restored the economy, with no help from repubs, Barry gets blamed for not doing enough, fast enough. He also is getting blamed for the immigration problems, though the number of illegal immigrants has risen only slightly under his administration. And the righties have been scaring their minions with stories of the government taking their precious guns away.

    Since the righties largely control the media now, either directly or by pulling the mainstream media so far to the right that they see gain in any attack on the President, it would be surprising if the approval poll numbers were any higher.

    June 12, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Chipster

    There's a constant drumbeat of false, misleading and exaggerated information coming from right wing media outlets. Facts, evidence, truth....none of that matters anymore. The American people don't bother to check any of the claims being made. If it makes them feel angry and victimized, that's all that matters anymore. Benghazi is the perfect example. The Administration never claimed the attacks were definitely terrorists or incited by the offending video. The President DID say that it was a terrorist attack the very next day. Help was sent as quickly as it could be dispatched from Tripoli – 2 teams were sent. One was sent to evacuate survivors. The other was sent to secure the airport and arrange transport. How often have you heard that on any news outlet? How many of you even know there were more than a dozen embassy attacks during the Bush years, resulting in dozens of deaths? The ignorance of the American people is so easy to exploit for political gain and ratings!

    June 12, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. rs

    Gunderson

    President Bush believed in the people, President Obama believes in the state. The old Soviet Union was a product of the state, now defunct. It may be that people are tired of Big Government Liberal Politics. So far it is a glaring failure.
    ____________________
    Gundy- You need to think. Bush represented welfare for the rich; stimulus cash for oil companies (and gas reached it's highest price ever under Bush's leadership); and he created the largest government ever in the United States. Just ponder those 3 things for a minute- maybe you'll hear a bell.

    June 12, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. rs

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And yet nothing on the GOP Congress....😒
    _____________________
    Who knows? If the Congress actually DOES something- like pass the VA bill (twice before filibustered by the GOP in the Senate and not even brought up in the House by Boehner), maybe their approval rating might rise too-out of the single digit territory it now lives at!

    June 12, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. rs

    Bill from GA

    I have to say, Bush came by his numbers honestly: He and cheney invaded another country, illegally, unnecessarily, and without funding it; plus they kept the economy propped up with toothpicks until it reached near collapse, bringing the world economy down with it.

    Barry's bad image is mainly the result of right-wing propaganda: though he got us out of W-cheney's wars, he gets blamed for all the harm that they brought about, though he restored the economy, with no help from repubs, Barry gets blamed for not doing enough, fast enough. He also is getting blamed for the immigration problems, though the number of illegal immigrants has risen only slightly under his administration. And the righties have been scaring their minions with stories of the government taking their precious guns away.

    Since the righties largely control the media now, either directly or by pulling the mainstream media so far to the right that they see gain in any attack on the President, it would be surprising if the approval poll numbers were any higher.
    _________________________
    Well said.

    June 12, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    History, as written by Professional, Academic Historians, will be kind to Obama. A Mini-FDR. George W won't fare very well.

    June 12, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "President Bush believed in the people"

    Sure...about 1% of them.

    "The old Soviet Union was a product of the state"

    Apples to orangutans.

    "It may be that people are tired of Big Government Liberal Politics. So far it is a glaring failure."

    Then why do GOPers/Teatrolls and other mindless strains of the bacteria known as conservatives all very carefully try to superficially veil their agenda to kill Medicare, Medicaid and SS with doublethink and doublespeak about "saving" them and how important they are? Hmmmm?

    June 12, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Obama winning the Democratic nomination in June of 2008 was most likely the main cause of the recession."

    Stupidest thing I've heard since November 4, 2008.

    June 12, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Joan

    These poll numbers show just how out of touch the American people are. Hopefully they aren't accurate because to put Bush on par with Pres. Obama is just ludicrous. Bush started two unfunded wars and his policies helped to under mine the economy. President Obama has tried to clean up the mess and has faced obstructionist head winds the whole time. Imagine how much better the economy would he doing had the opposition actually worked WITH him instead of opposing him at every turn. They even voted against policies that they had introduced previously. Disgusting. Either these polls are wrong or the American people are dumb or have amnesia.

    June 12, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Pollopa

    I think they should make a new reality show called Pollsters. They could send out people on the street rural and in cities asking questions and then seeing the results. Then we could hear both the question and the response. Let's you get a feel of the persons actual knowledge of what they're answering. Really telling how misinformed people can be and yet make the call. I can see people yelling at the TV now.

    June 12, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. Lack of the Right Stuff

    Its obvious that the lack of engaging leadership of bringing the country together during the long economic downturn has eroded Barry credibility. Reagan and Clinton work hard with a stagnant Congress and still made great strides through compromise. Oblama has done everything in his 'constitutional powers' to skit that role that has further degraded our country's integrity and self respect. He hates confrontation and he also appears to hate to compromise. He is leaving his own party in the dust. Who knows what the outcome of the elections will be this year, but, if his continued in his current role lack luster leadership and stewardship to the American people and he continues following the yellow brick road we will be in a long lame duck session that will a pencil and phone will not be able to overcome.

    June 12, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Lizzie

    rs, gas reached its highest price under PRESIDENT Bush for a VERY, VERY short time and all of you screamed their heads off, now it's been high for years and not a beep.

    June 12, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. tom l

    "You have to consider whom they polled. Mostly landlines. Mainly older, melanin challenged people that still can't believe one of them was elected POTUS."
    ====

    Wow. Just wow. So how do you explain all of the other polls over the years that did not have this result that still were mostly landlines and mostly "melanin challenged"?

    June 12, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Bill, why do you insist on calling President Obama Barry? That's not his name. As a matter of fact it's how many of the haters refer to him. Are you trying to demean him or is it just inbred in you, being from the south, that you can't show President Obama any respect? His name is Barack, Bill.

    June 12, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. smith

    This don`t surprise me one bit. Both Bush and Obama had and are dealing with massive media attacks. In time they wear off as in the case of Bush. IMO, we haven`t had a good potus in a long time.

    June 12, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    old age voter – " Obama winning the Democratic nomination in June of 2008 was most likely the main cause of the recession "

    Either you are senile or making a bad joke; maybe just stupid.

    How do you explain the awesome turnaround that started the month President Obama took office? And continued like gangbusters until the repubs got the ability to block his agenda, first with filibusters in the Senate and then with control of the House?

    You're probably one of those 'melanin challenged' people who give Wake Up those evil looks and has him hating us all so much.

    June 12, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    According to the poll, 43% of Americans say they approve of the job Obama is doing as president, with 55% giving him a thumbs down. The President's approval rating is unchanged from CNN's most recent survey, which was conducted in early March.

    I pulled the above article from a previous ticker article dated May 5, 2014 which doesn't add up with the current talking point:

    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.

    Details, CNN.

    June 12, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Chipster

    @old age voter
    Where were you when we were losing 400,000 to 600,000+ jobs per month by the end of the Bush Administration? Seriously? Before the end of Obama's first year, job growth was in positive numbers again. He managed the bailouts that Bush signed and ended both wars. Now, we've had more than +200,000 jobs per month for the past 4 months – despite the refusal of Congress the offer any serious job incentive legislation. Congress has offered nothing but deregulation bills that threaten the environment, our health, and provide few jobs at all. Check the facts.

    June 12, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Gunderson
    President Bush believed in the people, President Obama believes in the state. The old Soviet Union was a product of the state, now defunct. It may be that people are tired of Big Government Liberal Politics. So far it is a glaring failure.
    ------------–
    He cared so much for the People that he ignored warnings about 9/11 that might have prevented it.
    He cared so much that he sent 4000+ troops to die by illegally invading the wrong country.
    He cared so much he started new Al Qaeda camps in Iraq because he invaded it, endangering US citizens abroad for many years.
    He cared so much that he encouraged the Theocracy Big Government movement with executive orders.
    I am glad he finally stopped caring so much.

    June 12, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Bill, I'm a woman!!😄😄😄

    June 12, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
1 2 3 4