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. Lucas

    These numbers are devastating to the whole democrat party. The liberal media is in for a shock this November and in 2016 as well.

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Saddlin' Up

    George III was more popular than Obama.

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Brian B

    And that poll was taken on a Connecticut College Campus...Wow!

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Beanie Samuels

    So one third of our country is made up of morons. Tell us something that we haven't known all along.

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Ling

    Don't worry Obama will be whining later today just like the rest of his driveling devotees. Its a never ending campaigning, poor me, and I got my pen and phone. OBAMA is the worst.

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Samayam

    It's likely that the vast majority of poll respondents cannot even name all of the U.S. presidents since WWII, or even when WWII occurred.

    July 2, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. Ted

    @Barbara – Dear Barb if you want to blame someone as excuse for Obama great but please blame the right people.

    Note: Bill Clinton said you caused this finical crises "I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,"

    All these problems happen because today far left rejects personal responsibility and think the can just use wealth redistribution to fix everything. WRONG – just let the market work fairly for everyone and get out of the way!

    July 2, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Mr. Balls

    Total garbage. Since Romney was not president and did not have to make any decisions how does one conclude he would have been better than Obama?

    July 2, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. J Kay

    And John King has the credibility of a Quinnipiac poll. None. Nada. Zero.

    July 2, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Russ

    Interesting ... 41% picked Republican presidents as the worst. Since they were both so completely horrible, it's not surprising the vote would be split. Refelcting the country at large, the votes seem to be split somewhat evenly between Republican and Democratic presidents. In my view, nothing compares to Bush's war in Iraq ... hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, over 4000 dead Americans, and $1.7 trillion dollars wasted (sorry, Halliburton, but that's the truth!) And for the Republicans who say the war was legal, so is drinking a pint of whisky every night as long as you dont drive. Being legal is no excuse for murder.

    July 2, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    July 2, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Tone

    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.

    I do not play any cards i just call it as i see it, and I am not the Rev i am just a Marine who see right through these polls.

    July 2, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. conniemacjr

    The question should be, is Congress the worst Congress ever??

    July 2, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Bobbie Jo Justice

    no question hands down, far and away gwb the terrorist, and Ronald ruin the country reagan second

    July 2, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. william

    That is a argument regardless of what the poll says, and Mitt Romney owns the 'individual mandate' so what's the deal. It seems the sheep need a lesson from historians or need to stop watching Fox.

    July 2, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Mathew

    This is unfrigginbelievable!! The dumbing down of America, and the brainwashing and sabotage perpetrated by the conservative right is working obviously. The American memory is atrocious. How in the WORLD can Obama top this list after the absolute disaster that was the 8 years preceding him? Polls like this make me embarassed to be an American. We have to be smarter than this.

    July 2, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. conniemacjr

    The question should be, Is Congress the worst Congress ever???

    July 2, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. NameFrank Deery

    I agree, and at 70, I have seen a number of Presidents rise and fall, but none as inexperienced as President Obama. That, plus his "progressive", 70's idealogy is causing the turmoil not only here, but abroad. As his scandals and mishaps mount,
    he continues to push plans and social issues
    most Americans are fed up with-and his arrogance is only growing.

    Obama should resign and let Biden handle it.

    July 2, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. 100 years from now my answer will be the same

    W=Worst President EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. stambo

    Barry should just step down. How many people have we seen driven from their jobs the last year by progressives for being un-PC? The lefties call for the immediate removal of anyone that does not toe their line of thought, so perhaps Obama should do the same. Congress will not move to support him after how he acted with Obamacare. More and more citizens daily see him as ineffective and divisive, unable to lead even his own party. Obama needs to admit he completely lacks leadership skills or has the capacity to be effective in either foreign or domestic affairs. Nobody around the globe takes him seriously except for the partisan drones that elected him. Obama needs to admit that he himself is a major distraction from the nation moving forward and step down.

    July 2, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Russ

    Sorry if 2 comments of mine were posted ... I got confused ...

    July 2, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. shooter

    George W. Bush is the worst US president, his job approval was 25% on October 2008. Bush destroyed the US economy and the American dreams of all Americans. Bush wasted 2 Trillions dollars of tax payer money for the 2 unnecessary wars. Bush killed 4000 serviceman and wounded 35000 US veterans. Bush did not care about Americans victims of typhoon Catrina. Bush told us to take vacation and enjoy life while allowing Wall Street to collapse and turn US economy upside down.
    Who else can inflict so much destruction to all Americans?

    July 2, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Bill

    A tough choice between Carter and Obama. A tie.

    July 2, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. mark H.

    Obama takes the blame for a Republican leadership that will not pass any legislation for fear that Obama or the Democrats will get the credit...so nothing happens unless the President uses Executive Order.

    July 2, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Lou Ng

    Who are these people? I am not worried about how bad Obama actually is, but rather worried about the people who responded to this poll!. Why are the US so bad these days? You don't need to take a poll. It's because of the people like those who responded in this poll.

    July 2, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. billbfit

    Oh Obama is EASILY the worst. He has no idea what he's doing and it shows.

    July 2, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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