CNN/ORC Poll: Bush 43 now on par with Obama
June 12th, 2014
10:22 AM ET
8 years 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.

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

    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

    You can call me whatever you want, at least I'm educated. Unlike you.

    June 12, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. old age voter

    @Chipster @Bill from GA

    We were losing 400,000 to 600,000+ jobs per month late July / September and on thru 2008 after the Obama nomination. The start of a very slight recovery was not until Mid-March of 2009. The last 6 years has been recorded as the weakest recovery ever including the recovery after the Great Depression.

    You call this a recovery; 17+ trillion in debt and 10 trillion of that from Obama. 50+ million people on food stamps; the lowest numbers of people in the work force EVER! Jimmy Cater looks like a great president now. Oh and FDR believed in winning wars not walking away from them.

    June 12, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Hey Smith-W could've done a little, no a lot more than sit on the porch at The Ranch in Crawford w/legs crossed wearing Cowboy Boots & peruse through the PDB entitled "Bin Laden Intends to Attack INSIDE America", even mentioning hijacked planes crashing into buildings.

    June 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Steve851

    They should be on par since the two are clearly the worst two presidents of my 66 years. Carter is smiling and deservedly so

    June 12, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. it must be said

    You mean 5.5 years of excuses, lies, finger pointing, failure, incompetence, demonization, golf games, campaigning, campaign fund raising, vacations, record unemployment, record debt, the destruction of our healthcare system, using the IRS to target political opponents, sending thousands of assault weapons into Mexico, not helping Americans under attack in Benghazi then lying about the cause, targeting the AP and reporters, releasing illegal alien criminals in the USA, releasing leaders of our enemy while we are still at war, looking like a weakling in Syria and Ukraine, made a fool of by Putin and acting like a dictator in office doesn't have Obama flying high in the polls?

    Obviously they must be defective polls and rigged or everybody they polled is a racist.

    June 12, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Denise

    Let me get this straight....the folks who elected Obama were voting for a recession? Take a couple aspirin and call me in the morning.......Or keep dreaming in dittohead/Faux lala land and wake up to see Hillary in a few years......

    June 12, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. just asking

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
    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
    You can call me whatever you want, at least I'm educated. Unlike you.

    you don't know me one iota. college educated and making high six figures thank you. and your education has obviously been wasted if you think that in any way, shape or form that obama has been a success. you must be a government worker.

    June 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    Fox News said W. was better than Obama.

    June 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "17+ trillion in debt and 10 trillion of that from Obama."

    Name HIS policies that created $10T in debt and cite the numbers. Ready? GO!

    Pssst: correlation=/= causation....put the bath salts down and step away from your abacus.

    June 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Travis Twomey

    Ok Rick, then is having gay sex like buying a beer. One of those is legal in your state and one is not. If f two alcoholics marry, is that against the law? Do we restrict the civil liberties of alcoholics? If alcoholics contribute to thier community and manage their "affliction" , is it okay to fire them anyway? Governor, your opinion has broad implications that your behavior does not demonstrate. If gay is like alcoholism, then it is ok if appropriately managed. You will need to sponsor some new laws Governor.

    June 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. billbfit

    Hey, at least he didn't say that a .357 is the most effective therapy for the disease.

    June 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Simonzee1

    Make no mistake the U.S France and America are behind this rapid advance of ISIS. If they can get to Baghdad rapidly the U.S will say it will not use air strikes in civilian areas. These soldiers peeled away under Western directives.

    This is a two pronged move by the Obama administration. I think people including the French have told him that they are either in charge or wanting a greater say now and that..."the transcendent one" who sought to rise above the hit-man image he got with Bin Laden is displayed for all he is which is a dud with the Bergdahl decison. He is now being thrown out of the room with his Nobel Peace Prize. Back to hardball colonialism after this Bergdahl embarrasment.

    Be aware that Obama wants a "blow up in" Iraq so that people will focus back on Iraq and away from his foreign policy disasters. This was Bush's war and so a bit of chaos works well for Obama hence no intervention.The Gaurdian are already taking this line. Meanwhile refugees flood outside of these areas and people die.

    Obama and the left in America wants a distraction from Obamas rubbish foreign policy.

    Now Obama wants to establish a Sunni government and then swing around its attention to Syria. Who is pulling the strings France...America and Britain. This also sends a message to Afghanistan where Obama has been humiliated by Karzai that they are still in charge.

    Once again as in Libya with the above Western countries NATO and the complicit U.N are using terrorists funded by Sunni autocracies to put in their puppets.

    NATO can't account for its budget spending.  Something to do with its work with the C.I.A.

    June 12, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Dead Bear

    Let's see how favorable of a view people have of Bush when they see prices at the pump skyrocket because of the mess his idiotic administration caused in Iraq.

    June 12, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Bass

    Not a word in this article about the intransigent GOP congress refusing to support Obama, even when he proposed things straight out of their playbook...or how they actively worked to wreck the USA's credit with government shutdowns and near credit defaults.

    June 13, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. cal usa

    Let's see. Under Bush we had the worst act of terrorism ever, a near-depressionl level recession, a doubling of the national debt, a colllapse of the auto industry and the economy, 2 wars that we started and were cleary not winning, layoffs at the rate of 750K per month, a 9% drop in GDP, thousands of young Americans being killed and maimed, and a 50% drop in the stock market. Yeah, I can see how things are so much worse now. Obama has had the complete cooperation and good will of the opposition party and yet has failed miserably to improve on any of those items. Oh.yes, he also failed to get Bin Laden. He should be impeached and replaced by Bush, or (even better) by Dick Cheney.

    For the benefit of you right wingers, that last bit was sarcasm....

    June 13, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Bubbles

    Obama is a crummy president. We all know that now, so why is this news? Does anyone really think we are going to get a real leader out of the two party, super corrupt fiasco that is our political system. Maybe we should be polling confidence in our current political election structure and finance. I bet when if you crunched those numbers, it would make Obama's rating look better. To bad these politicians don't get the joke that they have turned our country into, let alone actually take responsibility for their positions.

    June 13, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Hard Target

    I find alot of what ISIS is doing and saying suspect:
    1. Hitting the Turks, even though the Turks are supporting the rebels in Syria
    2. Being so much more extreme that Alqaeda disavowed them
    3. Putting out videos that advertise all their plans and make ridiculous threats
    I would not be surprised if ISIS is coordinated by the Assad regime as a false flag operation. False flag operations are not conspiracy theories. They are a real and effective strategum for whatever goal you have, they are not difficult to conduct or hide, and we have evidence of it happening. E.g. The Brits disguised as Iraqi rebels shooting up a police station in Iraq (google it, it was on the news at the time).
    We also know the Assad regime and Iran have the motive. Assad wants the world to side with him by saying the opposition is just a bunch of brutal terrorists. We know there are these elements in the opposition but they haven't had a huge impact on the opposition/war unitl ISIS came around.
    We also know that the Assad regime is willing to lie and fabricate. Remember that video of regime troops planting weapons on dead civilians to say they were the opposition attacking them and civilians.
    ISIS is like a bad actor, bad actors overact and are not subtle so you can tell they are just acting. ISIS has shown some similar traits so I'm kind of wary of who they are.

    June 13, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Hogan's Goat

    Bush threw your money at Iraq and Afghanistan. What did you get for that? You got President Cheney running the country and Dubya too drunk to work, hiding in Texas. Look at the vids of him reeling around, grinning like Curious George as his bike crashes. That's how your money was spent, and you can't stop screaming at the black guy to clean up the mess faster.
    Sorry, you guys live in the world Bush and Cheney made now. We can't trust you gops to run our country for anything but your own profit, and Mitt was very clear that we can expect nothing else from you. Enjoy being marginalized and calling Hillary names for eight years.
    "a view people have of Bush when they see prices at the pump skyrocket " FOX tells them Obama controls the price of gas. They BELIEVE.

    June 13, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. cal usa


    It's not the 2-party system that is at fault, not is it President Obama. In fact, we should not blame any politician, no matter how ineffective or corrupt they may be. The real problem is that we have an electorate that either chooses not to vote or allows itself to be manipuiated into keeping in office a Congress that almost all of us agrees is a joke.

    Thanks to Google, we now have more information on almost any topic available at the click of a mouse than was available even to the President of the US just a few years ago. It's to bad more of us don't take advantage of that or don't know how to separate the real facts from the garbage we are fed by the manipulators. Let's not blame anyone else; let's just look in the mirror.

    June 13, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Hogan's Goat

    " To bad these politicians don't get the joke that they have turned our country into, let alone actually take responsibility for their positions."
    Yeah, remember how they tried to pretend that Obama "made them shut down the government?" Remember how we didn't buy that, and how they bragged that they shut down the government until it was obvious that everyone was angry, and then it was all Obama's fault? You guys are toast. All your decisions are bad. Everything you say is delusional, like pretending the president is a "socialist.' You sound like crazy drunks on Friday night.

    June 13, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Carl C

    This is yet another predictable result of the way both the Republicans and Democrats have marginalized moderates and moved away from the center. Gerrymandering, closed primaries and barriers to third party candidates, along with other factors, have allowed them to field and elect candidates that are far away from the center, with fewer of us happy regardless of which extreme the pendulum has currently swung to.

    June 13, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. OrmondGeorge

    SO, NOW Bush's ratings have come back UP (in spite of the disaster that was his Presidency), NOT that President Obama has fallen as far as President Bush during his term?
    Should I realy have had to read into the second paragraph to understand that?

    June 13, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Pete

    Obama on par with Bush, yah the rebuilder of this country on again par with the idiot from Texas who tore it down by war,recessions and acts that should have had him impeached multiple times..But than again they're blaming Pres.Obama for Cantors loss aren't they,what delushional fools..

    June 13, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Meridius

    I'm inline with the polls. I'm a right-of-center conservative that thought GWB was gawd awful; the worst President since Carter. How Rumsfeld kept his job after Abhu Graib is still a mystery to me, but that is another topic all together. As for Obama, I awlays have high hopes whenever a new President is elected and Obama was no different. However, he had lost my support by 2010. I'd detail why, but it would take pages and pages which has been growing larger each year.

    By the time 2016 rolls around, it's my opinion that this country will have suffered through 16 years of some of the worst Executive Branch leadership it has seen in a long time, if not its history. Sadly, I'm not seeing anything from either party to indicate the streak is going to end anytime soon.

    June 13, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Polar Bear

    "As reality set in" indeed! Americans are finally waking up after realizing Obama is a rank amateur community organizer who has done nothing to constructively bring the country forward. What's the most embarrassing is that America voted this guy in twice! More proof that affirmative action doesn't work and in the end, it's counter-productive and demeaning.

    June 13, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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