October 8th, 2010
12:54 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Was Bush better president than Obama?

(CNN) - Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or his predecessor has performed better in the White House, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates in the battle for Congress, Republicans hold large advantages over the Democrats among independents, men and blue-collar whites. The poll also indicates that Republicans are much more enthusiastic than Democrats to vote.

By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.

"Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush's name while campaigning this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"But that doesn't mean that Americans regret their decision to put Obama in the White House in 2008. By a 50 to 42 percent margin, the public says that Obama has done a better job than Sen. John McCain would have done if he had won. And by a 10-point margin, Americans also say that Joe Biden has done a better job than Sarah Palin would have done as vice president," adds Holland.

According to the poll, 45 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing as president, up three points from late last month, with 52 percent disapproving. Fifty-nine percent of independents disapprove of how the Obama's handling his duties, with 37 percent giving him a thumbs up.

In the fight for control of Congress, 52 percent of likely voters say they would vote for the generic Republican candidate in their district if the election were held today, with 45 percent saying they would back the Democrat. The Republican's seven point margin is down from a nine point advantage late last month.

According to the poll, independents say they would vote for the Republican candidate over the Democrat by a two to one margin.

"Blue-collar whites are also a particular problem for Democrats. Among white voters who describe their family as "white collar," the two parties are essentially tied. But more than seven out of ten whites who describe themselves as "blue collar" are planning to vote Republican in November," adds Holland.

The poll indicates that opinions on the economy may have a lot to do with that. Only 17 percent say the economy is starting to recover, and nearly four in ten say that the country is still in a downturn and conditions are getting worse.

The survey also suggests a strong gender gap.

"Democrats appear to be making steady gains among women and now get a majority of their vote, but the gender gap persists and more than six in ten men say they plan to vote Republican this year," says Holland.

According to the poll, another gap also exists: The enthusiasm gap. Most Republicans say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year. But only a third of Democrats feel the same way.

"That's the principle reason why the "generic ballot" question is tied among all registered voters while the likely voter numbers show an advantage for the Republicans," adds Holland. "There are plenty of people who support the Democratic candidate, but many of them are probably not going to actually cast a ballot. In fact, if you look at "unlikely voters" - people who are registered to vote but unlikely to cast a ballot - the Democrats have a six-point edge on the generic ballot question."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted October 5-7, with 1,008 adult Americans, including 938 registered voters and 504 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for likely voters.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. ronald malaney

    way better!

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Peggy from Delaware

    Whose presidency is better?? Regardless of whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever, how can you even begin to compare the two presidencies. President Bush had eight years in office. President Obama has had 20 months in office in comparison. And why are some people expecting things to turn around for the good "overnight." We have to be patient and our representatives need to work together (and not be so competitive with each other) to hopefully resolve the difficulties that our country continues to face.

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Voter from California

    I am an independent and plan to vote Republican whenever possible. I supported Obama and still get emails from OFA, but I am so disappointed in Obama and the democrats, that my vote for the Republicans is to send both the democrats and Obama a message: do the job you were elected to do and stop acting like you are on a 4-year vacation financed by the taxpayers.

    The only time where I will throw my vote away (ie, vote for a third candidate or leave it blank) is with Boxer v. Fiorina. There is no way I could vote for Fiorina (California) but Boxer does not deserve to be re-elected.

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. oast2co

    The problem in America is they hate women period. They'll allow them to hold office and positions of authority as long as its not VP or President. No matter who it is there always portrayed as inept or dizzy blond or something. Compared to our current President that thinks there 58 States in the Union. And its all above his pay grade.. And his only management skills are Community Organizing. Translated: Potesting and get out the vote stuff. So there is a double standard by far,

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. mane

    President Bush came in office with a surplus and served two terms. President Obama came into office when the country was in a recession and has served just a little over two years. I expect this comparison from Fox news not from CNN. Talk about main stream media/liberal media!

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Roark

    Why are "white" voters a statistic, with no reference to "black" voters. Is this meant to "color" the issue and create 'race war' thinking at the ballot box. If 50% of whites vote for a white candidate, it is slanted as racially motivated. However, if 98% of black voters vote for a black candidate, there is no mention of racial motivation. Please don't taint the news, and either give us the full comparison of the racial voting statistics or don't bring it up at all!
    Thank you

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Ares

    Both presidents were/are controlled by Jews. No one is even allowed to be nominated who doesn't tow the pro-Jewish party line of more illegal immigration, more debt, more taxes, and more wars. Every once in a while someone like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan manages to slip in. But they are quickly denounced by the press as "extremists" or "racists" before they get too far with their message.

    October 8, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. mrrationalhbg

    Only because there is a 24/7 news station brainwashing millions of american's to believe that Bush was a better president. I guess it's working. How unfortunate.

    October 8, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. barryg

    The Bush administration got us into this financial mess during their eight years in office, and now the Obama administration is taking the heat for not fixing the economy is 18 months in office. What a bunch of crap. In addition Bush took over in 2000 with a surplus from the Clinton administration and immediately blew it away leading up to where we are today!

    October 8, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Faisal

    What the heck! Is this even a question to ask? Such a preposterous question. I mean you put a mask on a donkey and call him Mr. President, even he would be better than Bush. Do you even realize that what Bush did hurt the very fundamentals and the constitution of this country – the very ideals that this great country was built on? Economy is a short term thing, goes up and down. Obama is still trying to clean up his mess. I would like to ask this question, what if Obama, who you hate for the spending, did not spend that money in the bail-outs? Probably you would not be having the time and the job to hate him. He may not have improved the economy, but he prevented the worst from happening. In any case, that is not what I compare him on with Bush. Bush tried to destroy the country morally, ethically and economically.

    October 8, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Terry

    They Democrtats don't get it – The solution to Bush's overspending is NOT to triple spending and force a mandatory government healthcare law down thier throats. I laugh everytime a democrat scratches thier head and wonders what went wrong. CLUELESS

    October 8, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |

    Bush was the worst ever- he makes Carter, Nixon, Grant, Harding and even Buchanan look good!

    October 8, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. mr compas

    This is insane to place president Obama in the same category with georges bush a sore loser.I wonder if you american suffers amnesia.Bush bring the economy to its knees while president Obama stop the bleeding for now.The way to show your appreciation is to bring back the rethugs in power

    October 8, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. BLCLLC

    Bush was Lincoln, Washington, both Roosevelts and Bismark compared to Obama, an ill equiped ideologue with a counterproductive , quasi-marxist distain for the creators of capital. He had one speech that he massaged for 15 years and which created the myth that he was intellectual and charasmatic. All of the other 08 candidates from either Party would have focused on the economy and would be running from any discussion of a tax increase on any American , especially investors

    October 8, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. anonymous

    Bush was far worse as a President. He seem to lack general knowledge on the most basic levels. We went to a war for fictitious "WMD's" and we have nothing to show for it. He wasted tax payers dollars like no other. At least with Obama he spent money on the people. I'd rather pay for health care than a war with no purpose. How hard is it to see that bush was a failure as a President. No to mention Dick Chaney saying during an interview "So" When told that most Americans do not agree with the war in Iraq... I would pic just about any one over Bush and most Republicans. I am an Independent voter at the current time. I do not see myself supporting a party (Republican) that is for the wealthy. We are in a recession for crying out loud. anonymous

    October 8, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. gcblues

    sweet justice.

    October 8, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. Buc

    Bush?! BetterPresident. Well in a manner of speaking yes. Better at destroying America's prestige, robbing from the poor to give to the rich, blaming others, abusing the constitution and manipulating americans' ignorance.
    God help us!

    October 8, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Randall

    This is a joke, isn't it?

    October 8, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Tim

    Stuipd question. There is no comparison. Bush loves the country and want to carry on our traditions. Someone else wants to socialize it.

    October 8, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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