July 2nd, 2014
08:36 AM ET
7 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.

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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. Anonymous

    This is a ridiculous poll on it's face. Obama is shown as worst simply because he is the current president Quiniapac needs to focus on more relevant issues.

    July 2, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. me

    I can't believe people still support an anti – constitutional president who favored a radical muslim party in Egypt and is letting a radical muslim party de-stabalize the middle east. A president who turns his back on his allies and lets a over zealous state department, IRS agency and NSA agency do what they can to ensure democratic rule continues. If he had spent as much time and money on fixing the economy instead of starting a faulty obamacare or trying to take guns from law abiding citizens, he would have actually accomplished something. I don't care what color he is, never have and never will. LOL it doesn't matter who is in office they all are corrupt.

    July 2, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. drtrener

    In my opinion , Pres Obama is the worst.

    July 2, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Tone

    When you poll racist that's what you get, but this President is the best thing that ever happen to America his only misgiving is the color of his skin.

    July 2, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Saint Ronald and Prez Cheney

    it's a tie between Ronald Regan and Bush II. Ronald Regan's trickle down fiscal policies (enhabced by Bush II as it happens) are the sole reason that in the last 30+ years, 60% of the nations wealth has gone to the 1%.

    Bush II brought us a bogus war (thanks Dick Cheney) that the Republi-can'ts are still trying to defend and support fighting phase 1000 with my tax dollars, but not supporting domestic projects to fix roads, expand SSI for seniors, etc.

    what happened to 'of [all] the people, by [all] the people, for [all] the people'? when did that become only about the top 1% of the people?

    July 2, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Psalm 19

    Obama, worse president ever? Yes! Oh yes! And, a resounding YES!!!!

    July 2, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Greg In Atlanta

    Please tell me how President Obama is the worst president ever? President Bush was in "charge" during The Twin Towers bombing, Iraq 2, Katrina, Afghanistan, the worst financial disaster since the Depression, the rise of one of the bewilderingly bad decision making Supreme Courts EVER, and the beginning of Keeping up with the Kardashians! At least President Bush had a Congress that showed up to work. The present Congress collects $174000 dollars per year, and they brag about doing nothing. Talk about your welfare queens. Please go take a civics class before you spout this nonsense. The kool-aid can't taste that good.

    July 2, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Michel Paulson

    Thank goodness the good people of this great country are waking up and make a wise choice in November'2014, and especially in November'2016

    July 2, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. freedom

    Despite the media defending him throughout all of his scandals and anti-American agenda, the American people speak. He has done much damage, but we can reverse it. This country is strong – much stronger than Obama, and the ones behind him pushing their agenda. He should not only be impeached, but exiled from this great country.

    July 2, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Curtis

    President Obama is a very good President! Remember where the country was economically when he took office. The poll make no sense.

    July 2, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. kurt

    "History will rank Obama as a Mini-FDR"

    That sounds EXACTLY like the tea party in 2008. History will judge George Bush...blah blah blah. Bushbama will be judged as the fools they were while in office. Time might heel wounds, but there's no rewriting the blunders of these 2

    July 2, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. iceload

    "according to a new national poll" What a nonsensical poll. It just gets worse and worse. Probably 90% couldn't tell you the names of the presidents since WWII and handed the list wouldn't know half the names.

    July 2, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Patrick Buckner

    Obama has had some serious "misses" and lack of consistency and the execution has been really bad but to place him with Bush, seriously????.....Bush invented a war that killed thousands of people and costs (and continues to cost) Billions!

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    We've had back to back worst presidents ever. Didn't think Obama could take Bush's crown, but he did.

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. ProudDem

    I daresay if you asked random people to even NAME the Presidents since WWII you wouldn't get a lot of names. People say the names they know. Means nothing

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. RHarris

    Political entities are not the savior of the world. The salvation for all mankind has been manifested in Jesus Christ. God knew that our world needed saving long before any national government was ever founded. He demonstrated to the world that redemption could not be accomplished through the power of man, his economic strength, his military might, or his politics. Peace of mind, contentment, hope and joy—and the salvation of mankind—is accomplished only through His work of faith, love, and grace.

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. TKO

    Worst? Really? Following Bush and Nixon? Or for that, reagan who "invented" trickle down, the theory that has robbed the middle class of its income? Obama got us out of two wars, was the only president able to institute healthcare of any kind, and has been obstructed by the "loyal" opposition more than any president in history.

    Why, exactly, do people rank him so low? Its a mystery to me. First he is a Socialist, then he is a Communist, then he is a Muslim, then an atheist (guess what, you can't be atheist, or in most cases Communist, and Muslim at the same time), thenhe is the do-nothing president, then he is the imperial president. and on and on . . . opponents can't even agree on why is so bad. Maybe, just maybe it is because he is . . . well, you fill in the blank, white folks.

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Diana Chapman

    Bush Jr. Two wars not paid for that are still dragging on. Spent the surplus and was fine with deficit spending. Mishandling of the mess in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina. Total dunce with a nightmare of a VP.

    July 2, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. it must be said

    When you poll racist that's what you get, but this President is the best thing that ever happen to America his only misgiving is the color of his skin.

    YAAAAAWWWNNNNNN..... Honestly, the race card after 6 years of Obama disaster? Grow up Al Sharpton.

    July 2, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. small sonkarlay

    It's funny how CNN is trying so hard to call them selves news,you only talk to the down south clowns and say American, you have to be kidding yourself

    July 2, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. From_CA

    The history will show where Obama stands as a President. It's way too soon to include him in any polls. A tree has to grow to bring any fruits.

    July 2, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. tom l

    Rudy NYC

    tom l

    Barack Obama the best President in my lifetime. I would like to thank him for bringing me back from the brink when I lost everything in October 08. My job, my self respect and my confidence. Thanks to you Mr. President, I was able to stay afloat until I could find another job. I don't know about anyone else but my life is much better these days.
    Wake Up! After reading your comments and your clear intelligence I would say you should give YOURSELF the credit. YOU did it. YOU are the one that gained your self respect and your confidence back. It had nothing to do with any politician. Give yourself credit for your success. It is YOURS and YOURS alone.
    Does "give yourself credit" also mean "accept the blame yourself" for failures? Seeing how you're a big "take personal responsibility" guy, it would seem lit would be the case.

    A wise man with your ideology would not try to answer that question.

    Since you tried to claim yesterday that I don't answer your questions, I will happily answer. the answer is a hearty "of course!" you accept responsibility for your own personal failures. Please tell me how my "ideology" (whatever you think it to be) would hamper my response. Are you trying to say that I don't take personal responsibility? I am very confused by your challenge. I know you had a bad day yesterday on the ticker so I'm curious what you mean.

    July 2, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. marc

    Hog Wash......silly poll but a really good example of media feeding itself, laughable really; why? People's opinions are based on their perceptions which are based on limited or flawed information. Best / worse polls mean nothing.

    July 2, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. TallyChick

    @BldrRepublican – "Bullcrap! He hasn't "Created new messes" because he's standing back and letting other countries be overrun."

    You do know that Obama is the President of the United States.and the President of the world...right?! If other countries can't get their crap together, how is that exactly the President's fault? I personally think Obama is just an ok President. Not horrible but not great either. With congress so divided, I highly doubt any person, regardless of party affiliation, would fare well in the Presidential office.

    July 2, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. kurt

    Ronald Reagan inherited 13% unemployment and within a year it was at 6%. Leaders clean up the mess, whiners spend 8 years telling us how bad the guy before him was.

    July 2, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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