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. Bruce

    GW Bush is not only the worst president since WWII but of all time. He got ust to fight a bad war based on poor judgement with his sidekicks, a list of the dumbest idiots who have ever served this country, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Even now, well after it has become apparent how foolish this decison was, Cheney is still on the attack against all those who oppose that war.

    Furthermore, he caused the greatest recession since the great depression, lost millions of jobs, and goes off to create bad art. Did I mention the morons he appointed to the Supreme Court who demonstrated that they favor businesses religious rights over women's person health. Who are these fools?

    We are now back to higher employment of more people since 2007 with better health care. History will show that Republicans have been against everything and for nothing, other than controlling our tax system so the top 1% pay very little but get so much.

    July 2, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ol' Yeller
    "tom l

    And Rudy, tell your boy Ol Yeller, that if he is going to accuse someone of cutting and pasting that he shouldn't do that cutting and pasting himself (while leaving out valuable information)."

    I cut and pasted EXACTLY what you had cut and pasted from your posts where you foolishly and dishonestly created your little straw man so you could knock it down and strut around congratulating yourself like the little troll you are.
    I would just love to see you call me 'a boy' to my face.
    You'd be crying more than do in your posts (if that is possible)

    The "your boy" comment? He gave himself away with that. Big time.

    July 2, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Chip

    Without question we have the worst Congress ever!

    July 2, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Ronnie was a RINO!

    If R-money had won the 1% would be paying 0 tax and we'd be at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea.

    July 2, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Steve

    @True Grit – best pres – LMFAO – he has taken the USA into a Police state:
    1 – opened the borders to millions of illegals that will destory the country
    2 – NSA spying
    3 – funding IS terrirots in Syria (same group in IRAQ)
    4 – Moving police toward a military group

    These are just a few - but you are Correct – the best one. WOW!!!

    July 2, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Scott

    I hope this "poll" didn't waste any money on doing it. I could have given these same results based on reading comments here. Seriously? This poll is a waste of time. What do you think all the racists and bitter Republicans are going to say? And what do you think the equally bitter Democrats are going to say about Bush? Quinnipiac University must be full of idiots!

    July 2, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Steve

    More control of media -= moderation comments.

    July 2, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. pvst

    Yes. Worst president ever.

    July 2, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. jerry

    I am so proud to say that i never voted for obama. Hey he is the same now as he was when first elected, it is remarkable to me that it took some in the american public this long to get what's going on. Listen people you all need to stop taking everything that the network talking heads spew out of their mouths as true, and start making up your own mind.

    July 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. John the Historian

    Bush II and Reagan have a tie for the worst president. Anyone who says this is not true is uneducated.

    July 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. John Illinois

    Worst president ever! The lying socialist must be stopped!

    July 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Robert

    I think it amusing how people like Reagan because he was like a grandpa. They forget about how he built the framework for American failure.

    July 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Skeggjold

    Whoever is next in 2016 will not be be able to put Amerika back together again.

    July 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. dsangiovanni

    By a 54%-44% margin, your numbers do not make sense at all.....

    July 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    I love how divided our country is....

    July 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. exfl

    Has he gotten us into an unnecessary war? Has he crashed the stock market? Has he increased unemployment? Have we had major terrorist attacks on his watch? Are there scandals about his personal morality? Has his vice president been either a common criminal (like Agnew) or a war criminal (like Cheney)? NO? Then he pretty clearly is not the worst – not even close.

    July 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. mike

    Bush would by far be the worst president we ever had.

    July 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Leelanau

    In addition to being an incredibly lame president that for some inexplicable reason so many people need to deny facts in order to defend, he's hands down the most arrogant DB to ever live in the White House (and THAT's saying something!)

    July 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. laeinstein

    Why is everybody so negative?? Unfair– He is the best president since George Bush #2

    July 2, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. alex

    you think, hahaha; he is the worst ever. You cant go from community organizer tp president unless the lame media
    wants it and they did.

    Frankinstein the media dont buy any paper or boycott the products they advertise. Take back america people


    July 2, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. TehDuck

    Lol the deniers are killing me. They love polls until one is unfavorable to them and then they attack any and every point of credibility. Hypocrisy at its finest right here, just own it folks.

    July 2, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. Vence

    Bush is the worst ever. Obama an average president and weak!

    July 2, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Earle

    I agree with the 33%...
    Which even beat out Bush at 28%, the writing is on the wall for Oblamo to read...

    July 2, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Andrew

    He has been the best President since WW2. His accomplishments are many without the help of Congress. He's had to fight all the way. He's had to fight all the racism, which I truly believe is the curse ( and shame) of the U.S.A. and makes many completely blind, history speaks for it self and that is a fact. No other President, since Lincoln, had to overcome constant attacks from the right wing, yet President Obama has dealt w. everything he's brilliant and history will speak eloquently about all of this.

    July 2, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Gloria in NW

    So who are these folks really who conducted this poll, and where did the money come from? What is the background of the people who answered? I am sorry so many people have such short memories. What I learned from his presidency is that this country is more racist than I ever imagined, and I have not been blind to our wide streak of hate for everyone not-white. (I am white, BTW.) I think history will regard him well. He has persevered in spite unbelievable attacks, racist threats, and obstacles at every turn. What this poll really means, if it has any meaning at all, is that a vile arm of the GOP has been successful at coming close to destroying the country and blaming it on President Obama. If so many people were not so upset by his brown skin they might be better able to see through the garbage.

    July 2, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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