CNN/ORC Poll: Bush 43 now on par with Obama
June 12th, 2014
10:22 AM ET
3 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. Democrat turned Republican

    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 |
    ___________________________________________________
    Now how do you know who they poll? Whats wrong sonny the truth hurts. Face it, No load Obama, is a failure has been from day one. IN case you wonder i am 32 White with a decent education and a good job. I am also a independent. So quit trying to make excuses.

    June 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. O'drama ya Mama

    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 |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Wow now that is a new one

    June 12, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    ___________________________________________________
    Now how do you know who they poll? Whats wrong sonny the truth hurts. Face it, No load Obama, is a failure has been from day one. IN case you wonder i am 32 White with a decent education and a good job. I am also a independent. So quit trying to make excuses.

    Thanks for proving my point!!! You're exactly the kind that hates this POTUS!!!😄😄

    June 12, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. rs

    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.
    ______________________
    See, from my point of view our gasoline is incredibly cheap- especially given the desire on the part of the Texas oilman lobby to sell every bit of our oil abroad. Look, if you guys believe in Capitalism- price is a function of supply and demand- not Presidential politics, yet it is the Right which perpetuates the lie that if we give big oil more tax breaks and more incentives, they'll give us cheap gas. Not happening. Want cheap gas? Nationalize the oil industry in America and stop exporting our oil.

    June 12, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Beeman

    Its not going to get any better either because he is terrible at his job. Most liberal President in recent history and an indictment of liberalism itself. He is even more incompetent than Carter. What he does not accomplish through Congress he acts through executive action like we are a third world country. America is going to take years to get better after all the damage done from foreign and domestic policy, financial strength and just plain integrity. Obama has none.

    June 12, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. smith

    @Silence-How could anyone prevent 9/11? Declare marshall law? A police state? Bush created AQ camps? The ISI formed after the Gulf War.

    June 12, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Gunderson

    Um, What?
    Obama's low poll numbers a product of Right Wing Propaganda? There was never anything in the News about all the discrepencies in the Obama Administration! Are you kidding! Now all the Warts in the Obama Administration are showing up and the Emperor has no clothes! The Titanic has hit the Iceberg and some of you are sipping Champagne and Re-Arranging the Deck Chairs! Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!! Nothing like telling a lie when the truth is killing you!
    At the end of the Bush Administration when the Economy was going to hell in a hand basket it was because of the Housing Mess when the Liberal's, Namely Barney Frank and Chris Dodd forced the Banks to make housing loans to anyone that could drag themselves thru the bank door. But you lie and blame President Bush. So, after 6 years why is Obama's Poll numbers in the sinkhole?

    What's the matter NoGood? Still trying to keep up the lies? Sooner or later the truth bubbles to the top.

    June 12, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Sniffit

    " Reagan and Clinton work hard with a stagnant Congress and still made great strides through compromise."

    Haha...yawn. Both Reagan and Clinton had opposing-party congresses that were willing to work with them. Reagan because Tip O'Neil was one of the last great statesmen and Clinton because the GOP learned its lesson after shutting down the government, getting blamed for it and then watching their polling completely tank. Obama has neither of those things. He's been dealing with a massive radicalization movement that has preached dogmatic adherence to extremist ideology and brooks no deviation or heresy from its membership. The GOP, CNN and the rest of the MSM tried to manufacture a narrative this election year of that whole radicalization process supposedly softening with the "resurgence of the GOP establishment." Too bad that was nothing but a snowjob. Just ask Cantor.

    June 12, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    -this is plain bull.

    June 12, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. tom l

    "Thanks for proving my point!!! You're exactly the kind that hates this POTUS!!!😄😄"
    =======

    Wow. So you have now just generalized and made the assumption that all white people who are in their 30's hate President Obama. How does that make you any better than the ones who actually do not like the president simply due to his color (which is a very small percentage, by the way)?

    June 12, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Rogers

    These polls mislead people. Obama is going to go down as one of America's effective president, in all fairness, he has operated under tough times from get go and he has done good and impossible things for this country other presidents could not do. Remember this economy when he took office. He brought us back from the deep financial crisis. You forget to fast. The media keeps shifting it's goal posts. CNN said that if Obama brings this economy back, he will be seen in a good light, now he did, but you say all these negative things about him. You never hear about the so many things he has done right as you do to the negative news about him. You always repeat to the public the bad news about him but not the good things he has done. I don't know who told the media that people like negative news more. This misleads the Americans who don't have time to find out the good things he has done. Someone might just think he has not done any good things because you never say them on air. This has to change. It is the media that creates this public feud in the country. Now you are comparing him with Bush! Seriously?? Obama is way smarter, CNN please don't do this, you should be a role model to other networks!

    June 12, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @smith
    @Silence-
    "How could anyone prevent 9/11?"
    He might have prevented it – no guarantee, but he was in charge. He had specific (aircraft hijacking) briefings from the Clinton folks and there was intelligence that was ignored domestically while the attackers trained and wandered about before the attack. That was the whole premise of forming a unified Homeland Security organization. Things might have been different if he had been paying attention.

    "Bush created AQ camps?"
    Bush claimed AQ was in Iraq at the time of the illegal invasion. He lied. There was none. They DID come in after the US invaded as a response. Bush directly caused the AQ presence by the illegal invasion.

    June 12, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    History will treat Pres. Obama far more kindly than it will Bush. Let's not forget that 9/11 happened under Bush's watch. Nor can we never forget that he LIED us into war, spent recklessly and sent the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression. Apparently, you guys aren't polling the right people.

    June 12, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Slade

    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.
    _________
    Isn't that hilarious. I'm an owner in a small oil & gas company and my partner and I laugh about this all the time. We say its okay if oil goes to $300 barrel because we won't hear a peep while the dictator is in office. That's about the only thing I can think of good to say about Obama. He has not done anything good for business but stay of the way. Our taxes and of course our health insurance have risen. $2500 a family. Never seen a guy get away with so much lying.

    June 12, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Bill from GA

    Lizzie – " ... gas reached its highest price under PRESIDENT Bush "

    Gas was high under Bush because he had artificially and unsustainably propped up our economy for years with near-zero interest rates and massive borrowing and spending, including unpaid-for wars. The growing economy created more demand. When the economy collapsed, the price of gas went down with it – lower demand worldwide. (Thanks, W!!)

    When Obama restored the economy, the price of oil, and gas, went back up, due to higher demand. It is now well below its all-time high because of vastly increased supply, under Obama. As well as lower per-mile consumption. (Thanks, Barry)

    June 12, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. just asking

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

    two words... delusion. denial.

    it wouldn't matter if obama came on tv and personally announced the nuking of a usa city, you would still blame it on the racism of others. people like you is what is killing this country, in so many ways.

    June 12, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Babyboomer

    President Obama is simply dealing with the "Double Standard" that exists in the United States. This is nothing new and most sane, rational people know what I'm talking about. I can't remember one day in my life where the covert "Double Standard" didn't apply. The irrational will say this is just an excuse. Can't do anything to fix that, except say "The truth is the light."

    June 12, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. TONE

    This propaganda at it's best perpetrated by the msm just concocting ridiculus polls to hurt this president but karma is a you know what, just time it always tell.

    June 12, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. just saying

    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.
    -–

    no... that would be the statement about obama being qualified to be president and a uniter.

    June 12, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    smith – " @Silence-How could anyone prevent 9/11 "

    1) Follow the lead of the previous administration and keep the pressure on Bin Laden
    2) Listen to the warnings from intelligence that an attack by Al-Qaeda was imminent
    3) Listen to the warnings from intelligence that Al-Qaeda was considering the use of airliners to crash into our buildings
    4) Focus on something besides tax cuts for the rich your first 6 months in office

    OR, to sum it up: Do Your Job
    (Admittedly, still no guarantees, but W did NOTHING right)

    June 12, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "What he does not accomplish through Congress he acts through executive action like we are a third world country. "

    Right. Because the Constitution gives him no power or authority at all. It's right there in the Except If You're Black Clause. Wanna know why the GOP/Teatrolls haven't been bringing case after case after case after case to challenge his executive actions? Because they know they'd lose and it's easier to keep their idiot base convinced that it's all unconstitutional and dictatorial if there's no court decisions saying it was just fine.

    June 12, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Thing55

    This is positive proof that Americans are out of touch with reality. How is it possible that the person who turned over to his successor a fiscal and economic mess of epic proportions is no more unpopular than the president cleaning it up? It boggles the mind. What's next? Is Herbert Hoover going to be as popular as FDR?

    June 12, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. freedom

    Reality finally set in with the CNN audience. You're late to the game – very late. And the damage has been done.

    June 12, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "no... that would be the statement about obama being qualified to be president and a uniter."

    The only thing Obama did to divide this country was win the election while being a black Dem. The epic hissy fit from the whitey-righties was built almost entirely on that foundation AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT. Even you. And you prove you know it every time you protest too much.

    June 12, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Donna

    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%.
    --

    Let's face it... The American people have seen and heard all the lies coming from the Democrats, almost nonstop about every topic. In all honesty, it is very scary that anything over 10% supporters them and approve. It is an indication that failure and mediocrity are becoming acceptable. This does not bode well for the future of this country.

    June 12, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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