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. True Grit

    In my opinion, he has been the best President since WW2. If you think of his accomplishments on Unemployment, Healthcare, Iraq War, Bin Laden, Bringing soldiers home to their families. All of this done without the cooperation of Congress, as well as SEVERAL billionaires spending millions of dollars in attempts to make him fail. No other President, since Lincoln, had to overcome constant attacks from the right wing, yet President Obama weathered everything they threw at him. For these reasons, he IS the best.

    July 2, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Edgar Allen

    Worst president OF ALL TIME...not just since WWII – but hey, way to water it down CNN...

    July 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Ol' Yeller


    "Obama is the worst thing to ever happen to America! He has set race relations back 50 years with the help of his racist friends like Holder, Sharpton........I will be so glad when this imposter is out of office. I forgot his racist wife."

    Pot.... meet kettle.

    July 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. noneofyour business

    Are you kidding me? Less than 1500 individuals in the ENITRE country were polled!! This is NOT representative data at all! "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."
    It was a waste of time and dare I say ignorant to even post this information, it means nothing in regards to how the nation as a whole really feels about presidents past & present!!

    July 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. bitterwriter

    Serioulsy?! Most people already forgot about the Bush years, do you really think they have the historical insight/information to opine honestly for this poll? Wow, talk about a total bs poll.

    July 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Who all was in this poll? ALL Republicans? Dah Romney wouldn't have been able to take it! There is too many racists, and that is your REAL answer. BTW I am white!

    July 2, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Esaul

    The polls mean nothing without knowing out of what percent they get these numbers from. How many people were polled? A thousand? Ten thousand? More or less? It doesn't give us a full picture without knowing that or you can skew the data to your own means.

    July 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. irayd84u

    Give me a damn break must be a slow news day starting to sound like faux news .

    July 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Hoshi

    Thomas Woodrow Wilson
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    July 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. PK

    Interesting how people have forgotten about Nixon and Carter. But now we have a do nothing congress that just says no to everything and the conservative SCOTUS backs them up, so yes, this president is powerless.

    July 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Your Goverment is for the people. Your system is flawed somewhat when the Republicans do what ever they can to block anything they can to just try and make it difficult for President Obama to make changes. The world is looking at the US and saying OMG you need to get rid of these self centerd Rep and some Dem and start supporting your Presidents efforts.

    July 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    tom l posted:

    "... 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."
    I had a great day yesterday. I agreed with the premise presented by a conservative, and made a statement that was in complete agreement with that conservative perspective, as utterly ridiculous as it was. I suppose you and others must have heard the shear absurdity in my statement.

    You folks thought that you had a field by calling my out as liar, delusional, incoherent, and ignorant. And you did it all because I made a statement that agreed with with what one of you had said. Yesterday was priceless. You folks proudly made complete fools out of yourselves.

    July 2, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. John Illinois

    Worst President ever! Obama is a lying, Constitution trampling socialist that must be stopped!

    July 2, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Steven Bedford

    And thanks to you CNN, for championing him all the way!

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Ted

    I have lost total respect for CNN, ok you keep hiding the truth as you dummy down your audience. The good news is despite you the truth is coming out and this poll proves it so you are not even doing a good job of covering up for this failed president.

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Manny V.

    that's according to the republicans...

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Dustin

    Romney would have finished what Bush started. He would have ruined our nation completely.

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Bedgar

    worst of the worst

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Frank

    The downturn in Presidents competency started with Clinton/Gore with the NAFTA treaty. As Ross Perot said at the time "You will hear a sucking sound as jobs leave the Country" so true that satement. We really haven't had a decent POTUS since Roosevelt. Not even Kennedy.

    July 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. bookitybookity

    Obama IS worst. We elected a socialist dictator. Case closed.

    July 2, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Refuse2giveup

    Obama is hands-down the worst president I have seen in my 60 years on this earth. He keeps touting all the advances he's made for "middle class" Americans, but I cannot think of one thing that he has made better. My paycheck continues to shrink and my living expenses continue to increase. Yes, some people will point to gains in the stock market, but that is only happening because of all the money this administration is pumping into this economy. They are artificially inflating the stock market and keeping interest rates low. They cannot do that forever and, once they stop, we will all pay dearly. Energy prices have increased, as have costs for food and healthcare. They try to blame the shrinking US economy on weather, yet they continue to push policies that kill economic growth. There is one lesson the libs don't seem to comprehend: When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.

    July 2, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Reagen gave the Green Light for America to become 'Me & mine First". To hell w/the Marginalized. According to the Words of Jesus, given to him by the Father & transcribed in the exact Greek language of the Four Gospels, Reagan & his followers are gonna have some explaining to do on Judgement Day. Matthew 25,35.

    July 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Mike A.

    What a load of right-wing b.s.....the conservative cabal of corporate creeps, energy crooks, military-industrial-complex pirates, and their minions in the Republican & Tea Parties (not to mention the totally-compromised "fair & balanced" Faux News, etc. media whores) have been pulling the long con on the gullible citizens of this country for decades. If the truth were known, the populace would take to the streets & burn down the status quo, which is why we'll never ever see or hear it from the media. Wake up, dummies!!!

    July 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Johnnie

    Even the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party, AKA the main street media, can hide the total disaster Obama is. They did their best to inflict this disaster on this country by failing to vet and question this far left Democrat. They pumped him up, they pushed him, they sold him, while they attacked and ridiculed his opponents to knock them down in the polls.

    Slowly but surely, all of the lies have come out, all of the incompetency, all of the deceit, all of the arrogance, all of the lack of leadership skills, the narcisistic behavior. The American people have finally awoken and have to admit they made a very big mistake with Obama, especially re-electing him. I'm sure a lot of them did it because they didn't want to be called a racist. People need to realize that incompetence and lack of skills can come in black as well as white. We have to be grown up enough to speak the truth.

    July 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Leslie Handsome

    Not sure how he beat Carter or Nixon, but whatever.

    July 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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