May 1st, 2008
02:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Bush most unpopular in modern history

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="New poll numbers show bad news for president Bush."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush his handling his job as president.

"No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president's disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Bush's approval rating, which stands at 28 percent in our new poll, remains better than the all-time lows set by Harry Truman and Richard Nixon (22 percent and 24 percent, respectively) but even those two presidents never got a disapproval rating in the 70s," Holland added. "The previous all-time record in CNN or Gallup polling was set by Truman, 66 percent disapproval in January 1952."

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider adds, "He is more unpopular than Richard Nixon was just before he resigned from the presidency in August 1974." President Nixon's disapproval rating in August 1974 stood at 67 percent.

The poll also indicates that support for the war in Iraq has never been lower. Thirty percent of those questioned favored the war while 68 percent opposed the conflict.

"Americans are growing more pessimistic about the war," Holland said. "In January, nearly half believed that things were going well for the U.S. in Iraq; now that figure has dropped to 39 percent."

The numbers on the Iraq war come on the five-year anniversary of President Bush's "mission accomplished" moment onboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, when Bush proclaimed that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

The record low support for the war in a CNN poll could be one reason behind the president's unpopularity, but it probably is not the only one.

"Support for the war, the assessment of the economy and approval of Mr. Bush are all about the same - bad," Schneider said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone from Monday through Wednesday, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. LA Ben

    This obviously comes as no surprise. The stolen election, the war on terror, our failed economy, our nation's tarnished image – the list goes on and on.

    It's time for a new chapter; a new day. Come November, American politics will never be the same. Under the steady hand of Barack Obama, our government will run as the constitution intended – by the people, for the people.

    May 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Tugman

    S Mick, I beleive most peopel think Bush is a buffon because he acts like one. He proves the media right every time he opens his mouth.

    May 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Peg Robson

    That bit of news certainly wasn't unexpected. This county is in horrible shape under his so-called leadership. But he is the one who wanted war, gas prices have gotten to the point that getting to work and to the grocery store is a struggle. He is so out of touch with the everyday people, and too busy with his own personal agenda. His term can't come to an end fast enough.

    May 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Erik S.

    You know, I really don't think he cares, being the president means doing a job, not trying to make everyone like you and you accomplish nothing. And in MODERN history, I highly doubt it, I mean, how long has freakin' CNN even been around? Nothing is going to hide the fact that even though Bush is unpopular the republicans still have a chance to take the house because the Democrats are incompetent.

    You guys keep on pushing for Hillary to win and see what you get. And If I am not mistaken, the democrat led congress is being polled as the worst of ALL TIME.

    May 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Brian Michaels

    Any chance ole 'Shrub will resign in the heat of his unpopularity, with Cheney in tow?

    May 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Wouk

    What a real head-scratcher this makes! If Bush and his policies are so disliked, how can the same American public give the support to Republican nominee-apparent, John McCain, that they have? McCain is Bush-lite and supports the policies of the Bush Administration-the war, the economic policies, approval of certain speciailized interrogations (read "torture"), etc., etc.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Griff


    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Dave in Houston

    That unpopularity is certainly warranted. G. W. Bush is by far the worst president in the history of the republic. There have been others who have been corrupt (Harding), incompetent and ineffective (Carter, H. W. Bush), but none have damaged this country, our international reputation, our economy, the workings of the government, and our Constitution than Dubya.

    I wonder how many future presidents it will take to get us back to the stature we had under Bill Clinton.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Woody

    This all a game of statistics. You can make statistics show anything you want. Well, at least 58% of the time you can.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Chris, Middletown, CT

    and yet....he wasn't well Clinton for perjury....(which – regardless of why he did it....he did....and perjury is a crime that you can be tossed in jail for.....good thing the party came to his defense....

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Danielle

    The job was just over his head. He was lucky enough to have Karl Rove sell him to America and it worked. People were stupid enough to vote for this man against their economic interest, just because he seemed as if he could have a beer with them. Well, now this man can't have a beer anywhere except the confines of his ranch. Nobody wants to go anywhere near him.

    I voted for Gore and Kerry, at least we'd still have good standing in the world and at home.

    Bush is a nutcase and that was exemplified by his dancing on the steps of the White House while soldiers are dying in Iraq. Fifty soldiers died last month. What is Bush doing? Planning a wedding for his stupid daughter. The man's an idiot and I'm glad he history will get it right.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Dixon, Des Moines Iowa

    It will go to higher negative after we learn all the illegal and unethical things he has done. I am sure there is a lot to discover after he is out of office. Eight years of his presidecy while the republicans did zero oversite I am sure we will find more. It seems worse than Nixon/Agnew team.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Brian Michaels

    Thanks for the "unfiltered" moderation, CNN!

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Max Power

    Heckuva job, Dubya!

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. Bud Curtis

    President Bush has done more to harm this country, particularly in the area of diminished liberty and freedom for every American, than anyone ever elected as President. But wait a minute, the Republicans in congress aided and abetted this man on every issue and at every turn. They supported him because he was the Republican candidate and ignored their responsibility to be elected representative of the people.

    In that respect, I almost wish that those who voted for Bush had to live with him as President for another four years. Then, it might be another 50 years before another Republican would be elected to that office.

    Bud Curtis
    Miami, OK

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Divine inspired race

    Hillary=Bush=popularity rating=0

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. BenInOhio

    This should come as no surprise to anyone. And I'm quite sure before his term ends, his approval rating will dip even lower as his disapproval ratings climbs higher....and higher.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. rwareham

    "Liars can figure and figures can lie." A quote from a former professor. Although Wright is a bit wacky, these are the type of things he is complaining about. We all hear Bush's approval numbers are low. Why are there no articles showing readers, that Congress' approval numbers are very much lower than President Bush's. Hense, back to the quote.

    May 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. katy

    glad to see the rest of the country is paying attention instead of voting along Party lines

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. MrManhattan

    What I can't believe is that there's still 28% who approve!

    I guess there are at least three red states left: Denial, Intoxication, and Insanity.

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Rob

    Watch Rush and the rest of the shock talk zombies twist this new poll to mean that Bush has excelled at something like no other president in history.

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. Only in America

    Slick Clinton made all his decisions based on polls so he could always be on the popular "side" of the public, hits on interns while president, has a sexual relationship with one in OUR Oval office, gets impeached for perjury and other crimes, does nothing to fight terrorism in 8 years in office which helped lead to what happened on 9/11, is a pathological liar proven many times over, and HE leaves office with high approval ratings. Now he makes tens of millions giving the same stupid speech over and over and over. Go figger.

    Bush has tried to prevent another 9/11 and, regardless of his poll numbers which he doesn't care about, is determined to keep our country safe while he is in charge. For good or bad regarding his policies, he is dogged in his efforts, and should be commended.

    Wow, a Bush supporter out here. Whowoudlthunkit? Okay, Libs and Duhmocrats, fire away with your "Bush lied, people died." BS.

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Dale Wise

    Number of Delegates:
    Indiana: 72
    North Carolina 115

    Don't be fooled. North Carolina is the big prize, not Indiana. If Hillary can't 'close the deal' and win North Carolina, then this race is over – despite what the media and the Clinton campaign portray.

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Steve, New York, New York

    Wow – any surprise? The Iraq war was the biggest screw-up. He and Cheney convinced illiterate simpletons that the war was a good idea – and that had racist overtones (well, some Arabs attacked us on 9/11, so we're going to attack some other Arabs that had nothing to do with it, but we have to get back at Arabs).

    I blame, not Bush, but Cheney and the neo-cons for creating this disaster. Hey Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perl – you "arrogant, hate-mongers" have been awfully quiet lately. What's wrong?

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Ray from CA





    -rolls on floor- LMFAO!

    May 1, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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