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. Beantown Bully

    Not to mention Bush was warned about 9/11 and did nothing to thwart the attack. And, When we got hit, he told us to go shopping......

    Now that's leadership

    October 8, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. freda

    Are you serious? Without going into a long dissertation, I will just say President Obama has done more than George Bush could even imagine. That question is an insult to my intelligence.

    October 8, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Our voting machines here in Texas were destroyed when the warehouse storing them burned to the ground and now Rick Perry is in the lead. Perry never spoke about launching an investigation into the burning either. Something is wrong in Texas.

    October 8, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. ConsiderThis

    Bush made this mess. President Obama is trying to clean up Bush's mess. The American people can't seem to see this truth. When people willfully deny the truth, it's usually some deep-rooted reason why. I wonder what that could be. Oh, I know, that which America is famous for around the world...racisim. Now deal with that truth, America!

    October 8, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Allison

    Bush was by far the better of the two.
    And If the dems remain in power, Obama will never see a second term.

    October 8, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. thomas

    Are you kidding me ?
    2 wars, unacceptability in regulation , favoritism and irresponsibility , no child left behind , what dose it matter when you run the nation into the ground , whats left behind is lost !
    Bush = arrogance and irresponsibility.
    Obama = restructure and future .

    Impatient people act unwisely !

    October 8, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. beevee

    Definitely not. I think President Bush played to the tune of his VP and the others in his inner circle. He may be a nice guy but that's about it.

    October 8, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. jeff, alabama

    Bush got people in both parties to jump on
    his band wagon at one time or another.
    He was a stronger leader by far.No matter if
    you agreed with his policies or not, you
    can't deny that he got more out of his
    meetings with the democrats than Obama
    has been able to get from the Republicans.
    Bush also threw the polls to the wind at
    decision time.

    October 8, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is no question that Obama is a better president. Obama has more to over come than Bush did when he came into office. When Bush came in there were budget surpluses, and Obama has none of that. If it hadn't been for the terrorist attacks early on in his term, Bush would have been like his father - 1 term! Bush seemed to have limited prinicples and less understanding. Obama is working on thinking through problems that he inheritied with a Congress that doesn't do what he wants done because of a minority - the Republicans in the Senate mostly.

    October 8, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Foxfan

    I think so.

    October 8, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Seattle Sue

    After seeing this picture of Obama and Bush, it reminds me to never vote for a Republican.

    October 8, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. cecilia

    Hell no

    October 8, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. WTF?

    Seriously? It took the Bush regime eight years to turn us into second world nation and run the economy into the ground, but evangelical theocrats and tax-cuts-solves-all-problems right wingers want Obama to fix it all in 19 month. I wouldn't blame Obama for not wanting to run again in 2012, but at least let him finish his first term before you compare him that loser.

    October 8, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. usa22

    wow. people have short memories.

    October 8, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Oh brother...

    October 8, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Chas in Iowa

    That tells me the memory retentiion rate in the USA is suffering.
    Bush knowingly took us into war with a foreign nation on false pretenses.
    Bush deregulated all aspects of government to the point where our ecology, economy, and national security are at great risk.
    Bush lied to us about the state of our nation all the way up to the day he declared a crisis even though he had pumped trillions of dollars into the govenment to try and forstall the realization of just how bad of shape our country was in until after the elections.
    I beliece Obama is doing all he can with the cards he was dealt and the players at the table.

    October 8, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Bob in PA

    Never a doubt, a hands down winner

    October 8, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Seriously, how much would someone have to hate America to say that Bush was better than Obama? Bush hated America and Americans. He tried to destroy this country and the Constitution. Bush was taking away our rights and civil liberties. The 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th amendments were totall trashed. The true patriots didn't like Bush's policies and spoke out against him.

    October 8, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. hjs3

    Get real!

    Homer poll if I have EVER seen one... Maybe he will bless the mess for us too....

    October 8, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Foxfan

    Disagree with the 4th paragraph, John McCain would not want all kind of reform that Obama has done to us.

    October 8, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. kayla

    president obama has been in the white house for two years cleaning up the mess bush did for 8 years.and you people are already comparing him. what stupidity. how the hell you compare 2 yrs. to 8 yrs? beats me.

    October 8, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Solutions and not Rhetoric

    I don't know who Cnn is polling but as an African American, I am not pleased at all the job Obama has done in office. The constant back peddling and neediness to be accepted is sickening. However I think it is unfair to compare Obama to Bush. Perhaps Cnn should compare Obama to Clinton and Bush to Reagan. That would be a better assessment. Obama has had less than 2 years in office, Bush has had 8 so you can't come to a concise conclusion as of yet. However, if he continues on this path there won't be any support for him on a massive scale and the Dems will definitely lose big!

    October 8, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Sagebrush Shorty

    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.
    I think he meant the "principal reason".

    October 8, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Right Leaning Independent

    Liberal Democrats portrayed Bush as incompetent and swayed opinions on him. Obama showed his incompetence with his failed promise to close Guantanomo, his inability to grasp economics to revive the economy and his inability to wage a successful war in Afghanistan. Bush took care of Iraq for him.. The economy did great under Bush until Dems took control of congress the last two years of the Bush presidency. And deregulation which occured under Clinton coupled with the CRA also formed under Clinton had a heavy hand in the financial meltdown(not just Bush's actions). So now that the facts are being learned by Americans, it is no surprise to see these poll results....

    October 8, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. TangledThorns

    Obama is a failure with this record unemployment. Sarah Palin will be a far better president than Obama!

    October 8, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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