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. craig

    W was the worst along with his sidekick Cheney who did nothing more than implement 100% Haliburton energy for all of the oil infrastructure in Iraq on NO BID contracts, steal the Iraq oil with this infrastructure, pocket $Billions along with W on this deal and NOT use any of the stolen oil money to pare down the war costs. Both W and Cheney became pols for no other reason than this opportunity. Oh, BTW, Cheney was the head of Haliburton just prior to being VP. It's all very simple. So true to form Cheney shot his hunting partner, something a well trained 8 year old wouldn't allow to happen.

    Obama will go down as one of our very best Presidents for all he has done in spite of zero support from the traitors to the US in the republican party which is rightfully at it's lowest point ever.

    July 2, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. mike

    both democrats and republicans represent their lobbyists and banks like the Federal Reserve first and foremost they dont give a damn about you I or this great country they plundered

    July 2, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Hoeky442

    Americans either have frightfully short memories or are completely ignorant of their own history. LBJ was by far the worst President since WW2.

    July 2, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. r. austin

    Reagan was the worst president since WW2. I lived through the Reagan years and since then as the Republican/Tea Party tout how great he was and how everything was so great, well that time was not so great for millions of people and haven't been since. George W. Bush comes in as the second worse president and if Romney was president all corporations would be people, no hope for the middle class at all. How about polling how Americans would like to sue congress for taking vacations for almost eight years and obstructing. What a joke this poll was. All the mean spirited people really ought to be a shame of themselves for not seeing the truth right in front of them

    July 2, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Keli

    Obama being the worst president doesn't surprise me. As a life time democrat he given me voter's remorse twice. I was foolish enough to give him a second chance in 2012. Between him, Harry Reid, and the like this nation is in dire straights. No leadership what so ever. The worst part is Hillary is the best Democratic choice for president? How sad has the Democratic party gotten? Guess I'll have to vote Republican or Libertarian. Why won't intelligent person run for president who will make his/her decisions based on actual fact instead of political rhetoric. More importantly why doesn't the average American voter weigh the same facts when deciding their candidates. Hopefully next go around I'll have better choices to choose from and will be able to choose more wisely than I did these last two times.

    July 2, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. rjlcpa

    NO. Goerge w Bush was the worst!

    July 2, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. daviddavid

    Agreed WORST ever.....

    July 2, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. M&M

    Obama!!! Broke Law
    I ever like Democrate but now no more... So hurt! So sick!!

    July 2, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. John Doe

    1446 registered voters....
    Really? Why not interview one person and go with that?

    July 2, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. John

    Interesting how this story is absolutely BURIED on CNN, hidden away from easy view. I heard about it from comment board. It's pretty big news, wouldn't you say? Why would CNN bury the lead like this. I know why...

    July 2, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. MochaFurher

    He's tied with Bush in my opinion- Obama has BECOME Bush.

    That's not what we voted for, and the crazed lefties insist he's a special snowflake.

    July 2, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. potato

    This clowns time is up. He will be arrested promptly after leaving office for fraud and be put in jail


    July 2, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Russell P

    Not only did his administration reverse the most devastating economic catastrophe of modern times, but he got us out of a war we never should have been involved in to begin with. Beside that, he has had to deal with the most inept congress maybe ever. I would say he has done a pretty good job considering the hand he was dealt. Give the guy a break.

    July 2, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. mannycl

    This guy is just an incompetent.

    July 2, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. J.S.

    You just can't beat the O'bungler for impotence, incompetence and arrogance.

    July 2, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. kelly domres

    1,446 voters asked in this poll? Oh, OK....

    July 2, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. App19

    Obama is not a failure however his values and morals are. He fooled America thats for sure. And now his real agenda is coming to the surface. Watch out America he is trying to make history to make you pay for something that you never saw coming!

    July 2, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. rs

    No matter who you are or what you may think, reality and history will record that from the moment President Obama took office, the Republicans did nothing for America. When they did act, they intentionally hurt this nation's bond rating and shut down the government cost taxpayers an astounding $24 billion. This after their inept President Cut taxes while going to war (apparently attacking one nation that had nothing to do with 9/11- killing 125,000 innocent people), and creating the single biggest economic disaster since the unpleasantness of 1929.

    If they think President Obama is the worst, they are simply insane.

    July 2, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. David Baron

    Obama is doing a great job. The survey is a joke.

    July 2, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. rs


    Hands down Obama. He is perhaps the ONLY president who has had trouble leading his OWN party. There have been times where he has had trouble getting support from his own rank and file.
    Do explain the GOP and Mississippi, sir!

    July 2, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. App19

    Watch out America the worst from Obama is yet to come!

    July 2, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Gig 'em

    I can't believe that anyone is surprised by the results of this poll. You would have to be living on another planet to not know what a terrible job Obama is doing. How's all that CHANGE working for you now?

    July 2, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. NYKnows

    It's a toss up between Reagan and Bush2. Reagan because he was never really in charge, just did what his puppet masters demanded, and he lied to the country by not stepping down when he knew he had Alzheimer's. No way should a US president keep that secret as he did. Bush2 for never winning in 2000 but lying his way into office, and then for the fake war in Iraq. Those 2 are the worst presidents ever, and eternal embarrassments to this country.

    July 2, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Namelinda

    White Americans took this poll. Racial prejudice at its best. He is one of the smartest Presidents that has ever been. People forget this is the President that brought the country back from a bad recession, saved the big three auto industry, and got Osama Biden Laudin. He has had to deal with White mess thru his entire presidency and clean it up. You some to be still under the illusion that you are somehow superior to Blacks! God showed you a thing or two! So shut up and suck it up!

    July 2, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Mike D

    Let be clear unless President Obama nukes an American city he could not possibly be a worse president than George W. Bush who was clearly a retarded idiot whom history will not be kind to. Any attempt to usurp George's place in history is clearly revisionist and totally false.

    July 2, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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