[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/15/art.bushpurse0115.gi.jpg caption="Pres. Bush will make a prime-time address to the nation on Thursday night."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - As George W. Bush spends his final days in office, a new national poll suggests that more than two-thirds of Americans see his presidency as a failure.
Sixty-eight percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation say they feel that Bush's eight years in the White House were a failure, with 44 percent saying this was due to his personal shortcomings and 22 percent blaming the failure on circumstances beyond his control.
Less than a third (31 percent) consider Bush's presidency a success.
Half of those polled say that the United States would be better off today had Al Gore been elected president in 2000 rather than Bush, with 27 percent saying the country would be worse off if the then-Vice President Gore had won.
Twenty-two percent say things would be about the same.
"Due to the Florida recount, Bush had the misfortune of coming into office under controversial circumstances," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
"A lot of Americans apparently remember those circumstances, and now wish things had gone a little differently."
Only 3 percent of those questioned say Bush was one of the greatest presidents in the nation's history.
Nearly half (46 percent) rate him a poor president.
"That's three times higher than the number who gave a failing grade to his father or Ronald Reagan when they left office, and it's 27 points higher than Bill Clinton in 2001," said Holland.
Thirty-one percent approve of Bush's performance in the White House - his final approval rating as president.
"The good news for Bush - that 31 percent figure is seven points higher than it was in November, a typical 'nostalgia bump' that most outgoing presidents get," said Holland. "The bad news is that, except for the rating Richard Nixon had when he resigned, that's the lowest approval rating an outgoing president has received in the six decades of scientific public opinion polling."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 12-15, with 1,245 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for some questions and 4.5 percentage points for others.