July 2nd, 2014
08:36 AM ET
6 years ago

Who is the worst president since WWII ?

(CNN) - President Barack Obama tops the list of the worst presidents since World War Two, according to a new national poll.

And the survey, released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, also indicates that a plurality of voters nationwide say in hindsight that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.

Obama at 41% approval in new CNN Poll of Polls; Congress at 14%

Thirty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say that Obama is the worst president since the Second World War, with 28% saying George W. Bush was the worst. Thirteen percent picked Richard Nixon, with 8% naming Jimmy Carter.

"Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

It's important to note that Obama and Bush, his predecessor in the White House, are more in the public conscious than previous presidents, and that both have governed during a time of bitter partisanship that's made compromise between the two major political parties extremely difficult. When Quinnipiac last asked the question, in 2006, Bush topped the list, with 34% saying he was the nation's worst president.

According to the poll, Ronald Reagan (at 35%) tops the list of the best president since WWII, with 18% saying Bill Clinton was best, followed by John F. Kennedy at 15% and Obama at 8%.

Voters are divided on whether Obama's been a better president than his predecessor, with 39% saying he's better than Bush and 40% saying he's worse. No surprise, there's a wide partisan divide on this question.

Bush left office in January 2009 with very low poll numbers. But according to a recent CNN/ORC International survey, his favorable rating now stands at 46%, up 11 percentage points over the past five and a half years. His favorable rating, according to the CNN poll, is now on par with Obama.

Better off if Romney had won?

Forty-five percent of those questioned say that America would be better off if Romney had won the 2012 election, with 38% saying the country would be worse off. Again, it's no surprise that 84% of Republicans say that America would be better if Romney had won and nearly three quarters of Democrats saying things would be worse.

For Romney, this endorsement's close to home

An adviser close to the former Massachusetts governor told CNN that he received a bunch of calls Wednesday, following the release of the poll, from donors who contributed to the 2012 Romney presidential campaign.

Spencer Zwick, the campaign finance chairman for Romney's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, said that he thinks the poll "creates a hope and interest from a lot of those donors who would have loved to seen Romney become president but are hopeful there may be a shot in the future."

"It started a few months ago with donors saying 'do you think there's any shot,' to donors now saying 'how do we convince him to do it.' Which is kind of interesting because they have heard Gov. Romney say 'I'm not planning on doing this again' and I think some of these donors don't want to take no for an answer," added Zwick.

Romney has said over and over that he won't run for the White House a third time.

"I'm not running," Romney last month on NBC's "Meet the Press," a line Romney's used in interviews every time he's asked about 2016. Romney's wife, Ann, has also been adamant against another run.

How many ways can Romney say no to 2016

Obama's job running the government

By a 54%-44% margin, the survey indicates that the Obama administration is not competent in running the government.

The poll's Wednesday release comes as the scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs dominated headlines recently. It's the latest controversy of the past year, following the NSA snooping scandal, the controversy over the IRS targeting of some conservative non-profit groups, and the rough rollout of the new federal health care law.

The President has also faced numerous international challenges, including the new bloodshed in Iraq, the civil war in Syria, and the fighting in Ukraine, as well as the controversial swapping of five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for the release of a U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan.

"This poll gives a window into the sentiment of Americans at the moment," said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, who said he suspects the numbers could change dramatically in four or five years.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted June 24-30, with 1,446 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.


Filed under: Mitt Romney • Poll • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (1,046 Responses)
  1. REGINALDB6

    polls can be askew to get the results that you want.telephone polls are one the most unreliable polls of collecting data

    July 2, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. Ted van Tol

    Good Lord. I knew Obama is not perfect but he at least knows how to get a economy,
    (ruiend by George Bush), back on track and he know how to end wars instead starting them
    like the same Bush.

    July 2, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. Dr. Brown

    Very simple here folks, its called garbage in garbage out, its been proven long ago propaganda works, the weak minded first. W took a healthy economy and flushed it down the crapper, but somehow, while running the country, managed to make himself very rich, Cheney too, sometimes you seriously got to wonder just how gullible the masses are, its frightening, to put it mildly . I swear its like people forgot how bad it was, both sides, all economist's said the same thing, days away from total collapse, wake the he11 up people,, they will do the exact same thing the first chance they get you seen it already 95% of all wealth to the top 1%, and the gop wants to give them more, jobs and all you know, total BS, why don't the economists agree? I also see the gop house getting called out on their travel donations reporting, transparent, you betcha! The hypocracy never ends with them, just shameless, SMH.

    July 2, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. Marie MD

    The bipartisanship was NEVER as bad as it is with what the teaklans in congress wanted to do which was to make Obama a one term president.
    Time will turn this mindless poll around.
    Shrub #43 wasn't even a real,president. He was appointed by the courts and wad the puppet of cheney, the heartless one.
    Reagan at 35% is a joke. He slept through his presidency and talk about Hollywood life style and big expensive parties at the WH.
    That creepy look says it all about the twit. Plus abusing his dog tops the list.

    July 2, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. love344

    same polling that predicted at Mitt Romney win in 2012... ummm?
    President Obama... you were voted into the presidency by more than 50 % of the country twice.... that trumps these polls..

    July 2, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. pdavis68

    3.2 million new jobs since he took office. Healthcare costs have risen slower than any previous modern president. CPI rising slower than any previous modern president. Deficit is down to about 1/3 of what it was under Bush. bin Laden: Dead as a doornail. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be such a bad president if he were only white.

    July 2, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I'm sure the people saying we'd be better off with Gordon Gecko at the helm aren't the same people that supported Mitt in the first place right? I'm happy with my POTUS and the MSM and the GOP have ensured I will NEVER vote GOP in this lifetime.

    July 2, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  8. john

    I am so happy to see that CNN is starting to run pieces that are negative about Obama instead of the head in the sand MSNBC joke of a "news" organization that thinks he can do no wrong.

    July 2, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Jubril

    The housing market is picking up, more Americans have health insurance, we don't have wars, Osama killed, what else do people want? He is tackling Immigration next. he has done more than Reagan and Clinton combined

    July 2, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  10. Mason

    President Obama is a Speech Maker, he has no Leadership Skills! Worst President EVER! <------

    July 2, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Big Ben

    No we have the worst Congress since WW II. And since I go back to those days, I know! There is a minority, of the minority running this country.

    July 2, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. Brad

    A sampling of 1446 people of the estimated 313.9 million (2012 numbers) does not seem like a very accurate survey to me. That's 28'ish people per state.

    July 2, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. plain & simple

    My last ex-wife was the worst, the one before her was better. The one before the both of them was much better. The best was the one before that!!! That's how much sense this poll makes.

    July 2, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. Funny Stuff

    8% say Obama is the best? Hee hee, I bet I'd get called a racist if I were to say that 8% based their decision solely on skin color.

    July 2, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  15. Malory Archer

    Definitely the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, although he was just an inept puppet for an evil "shadow president" who deserves to be dragged to the Hague in shackles to face the criminal charges for which there are outstanding arrest warrants.

    July 2, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  16. This is Ridiculous

    I don't care which way the polls lean, why does anyone trust them? Call 1,000 people, and what they say is somehow the voice for over 300 million people? Bull freaking shizzle...

    July 2, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  17. dc

    Obama is the worst president in the entire history of The United States.

    July 2, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. Jim

    Eisenhower was the best, Dubya was the worst.

    July 2, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Robert Sensible

    This poll just proves how blind the American public is. No need to point out the stupidity of Bush 1 and 2 or Reagans stupid economics with 20% plus interest rates. People blame Pres Obama because selfish narrow minded politicians don't like black people being their boss and being smarter than they are. Has and does Obama make mistakes – sure – have they cost thousands of lives in 3rd world countries and trillions of dollars in unnecessary debt? Have they let the infrastructure of our country approach 3rd world status? Our education system to fall apart? our poor and hungry to be ignored? our medical and insurance companies to rape us beyond belief? NO NO NO – but the party of NO has so how can anyone with an IQ above 10 believe Obama is the worst President. People who say that are the problem – not the solution!

    July 2, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. TM

    Glad Mitt lost, Happy Obama won, screw the worthless poll.

    July 2, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Sam Wilson

    What did we expect when the low information takers voted for more free stuff?

    July 2, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. Butler

    What a super waste of a survey. The survey is attempting to compare apples with oranges, in that the lines of communication are totally different – dependence on radio or newsprint vs instantaneous reporting.by digital means. Today Reagan couldn't be elected and what short memories people have of reported troop fatalities in Iraq and Afgan. – all based on lies. I guess these 1400 people who were surveyed don't have retirement investments that almost doubled during the last 6 years, and are disappointed that the current president believes in negotiation before blood letting. Also, I guess they never heard of Harry Truman who probably made the most difficult decision ever made by any elected official – detonating a bomb that effected the lives of every person on the planet. Get real folks – no wonder the U.S. ranks so low in education in the world – with surveys like this we are only confirming that standing.

    July 2, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Yup. Totally agree.

    Anxiously awaiting the "Fox-lite", "red meat", "I wasn't polled", etc. comments. Queue them up, Baby!

    July 2, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  24. cneder

    Without a doubt he is the worst president based upon failed policies, and his disregard for the law and the constitution. His hate filled rhetoric demonstrates a lack of leadership like none other in US history.

    July 2, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  25. powdered drink mix

    Gulp, gulp, Romney in a landslide. Ah yes, the polls, s tool used by the gop to con their lemming's into their narrative. So very very thankful for my intelligence, I'd hate to sound so ridiculous, and unable to figure it out on my own, sad truth is, it doesn't take much, the desire to know the truth is what I believe the issue is, their prejudices won't allow it . When Hillary wins will you continue to condone the gop, nothing will change for them, they hate her more than the black guy, their behavior isn't because if outrage, its greed, and the unbridled thirst for power

    July 2, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
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