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. laurie

    i really didn't want to believe people were still very racist when Obama first took office. but now it's undeniable. he has done so much good and could have done so much more if not for republicans that only have one goal in life – to stymie him. too bad they can't grow a soul and do what's good for the country. Obama is one of the best presidents!

    July 2, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. MilitaryAF

    Anyone who knows how mormons work & what it's like to work for them, realize that Romney would have been the Ultimate disaster. Leaders are driven by greed, and followers are the BORG incarnate. Few presidents could have accomplished as much as Obama has, with a CONgress that has done NOTHING but be obstructionists.

    July 2, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Kevin

    So, looks like CNN in the new Fox News. This article is an obnoxious load of bunk. But, then again, wasn't that your goal?

    July 2, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. joe

    Obama is the worst want-to-be president of all time.

    July 2, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Missing the good ole' US of A

    You people who are defending Obama DESERVE everything that he has done to this country and everything he still has for you!! The change YOU WANTED has ruined us and he isn't done yet!! To say those who don't like Obama has to do with his skin color is just ignorant!!! His skin color didn't ruin us, HE did (and is continuing to do so every day!!). He probably sits back and laughs at your ignorance! He has more than admitted his lack of concern for this country and you STILL support him! I obviously agree 100% that he is THE worst president, except I think he is the worst EVER!! And that's saying a lot after Carter and Clinton!! If Obama cared about our country and wanted to do what is best for us he would man up and step down!

    July 2, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. SFRich

    No doubt the "better off" would be better off if Romney won in 2012. The rest of those who say so are the same that believe that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Couter, the Cheneys, Fox news and their likes speak wisdom and thruth.

    Their opinion doesn't account for much.

    July 2, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Brian from DC

    I love the nerve of the people who voted for George W. Bush TWICE to talk about Obama being a bad President!

    July 2, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Freedom Storm

    Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and 7 others tied for First.
    15 Presidents tied for Second.
    17 Presidents tied for Third.
    Jimmy Carter wowed us all to take sole possession of Fourth Place.
    ..and Barack Obama came in 5th place.

    July 2, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Don DaMiddle

    Reagan gave us EMTALA...
    an UNFUNDED Federal Healthcare Mandate that has inflated the cost
    of Healthcare at over 3 times the rate of inflation for the last 28 years.
    Our healthcare (since EMTALA) costs more money and serves less people
    than healthcare in any other industrialized nation in the world.
    Romney was trying to save Reagan's legacy...
    when he created the ACA to FUND Reagan's EMTALA.

    If you poll the same people who participated in this poll...
    99% of them will say they have never heard of EMTALA.
    How in I-I E L L would they know who the worst president is?

    July 2, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Chuck58

    What an overly biased article.
    George W. Can be equated to Hoover. . He was the worst we have had in recent history.
    Clueless idiot whose decisions we are still
    Paying for.
    ISIS is a gift from George W. Thanks

    July 2, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Hakeem

    Ronald Reagan and GO Bush are the worst in my lifetime

    July 2, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Luis

    The only outcome of a public opinion poll in the US is that americans are ignorant. Wait! americans think that global warming is a scam and that the world is 6000 years old... perhaps they are correct on those ones

    July 2, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. heinzdoofenshmirtz

    With no doubt whatsoever.

    July 2, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Sandy

    Honestly, I feel like no matter what this man does people will always have negative things to say about him.

    He could have brought the economy back to a good state and people would find a reason to say he is the worst President

    July 2, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Lokoseloteka

    They are the same

    July 2, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Mike de Erico

    This must be a joke, we all know good all "W" handily beats Obama in that category, although not by much.

    July 2, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. cowtown

    Obama is (rightfully) considered the worst only because he has continued 95% of George W. Bush's domestic and international policies. Bush was a dope, duped by Cheney. What's Obama's excuse after 5 1/2 years?

    July 2, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. tom l

    The original interaction between Rudy and me:

    tom l

    Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote: July 1, 2014 01:30 pm:

    Do you have any intellectual honesty, Rudy? Any at all? Are you really trying to insinuate that the TEA Party are big spenders? ... blah ... blah ...
    A wise man would stay out of this losing argument, tom. I'm not insinuating anything. Tony D laid out his definition of who is responsible for a budget, and I applied it for him. Don't blame me because his own argument blew up in his face.


    I know you're not insinuating anything. You are blatantly calling them the biggest deficit spending congress in history. So, yes Rudy, you are being intellectually dishonest because you know for sure that the TEA Party is not the ones responsible for it. You are just, once again, trying to score points for your side while making false statements. It's Tuesday. It's the ticker. So nothing new here.

    First you accuse me of trying to insuate something. If you knew all along that I wasn't trying to insinuate something, then why accuse me of it? Because you simply forgot. Any other reason raises ugly questions about your sanity. When you cannot remember what you write and say from one minute to the next that's called making it all up as you go along.
    You might want to read again, dear Rudy. You are the one that said "I'm not insinuating anything" and I agreed with you. Wow, you are more confused today than most days. You're right on another point (I believe this now 2 things today that you are correct about...a new record!). Should we be raising ugly questions about your sanity as it appears that you cannot remember what you write and say from one minute to the next. This is too awesome. Very sloppy of you, Rudy. We can chalk it up to a bad day. Sniffit must've called in sick and Tampa Tim must be on another assignment so it's gotta be tough handling the ticker all on your own.

    Also, typically "sarcasm" is much better when actually spoken as there is typically tone and intonation involved with sarcasm so any here on the ticker will easily be misunderstood.

    And now for ol yeller copy and pasted:

    tom l wrote: July 1, 2014 01:30 pm:

    Do you have any intellectual honesty, Rudy? Any at all? Are you really trying to insinuate that the TEA Party are big spenders? ... blah ... blah ...
    I know you're not insinuating anything. You are blatantly calling them the biggest deficit spending congress in history. So, yes Rudy,

    You might want to read again, dear Rudy. You are the one that said "I'm not insinuating anything

    Wow, you are more confused today than most days

    Does any other reasonable person see by these posts who is confused, lying, or just plain insane? tom I cuts and pastes the previous posts showing he is the one putting words in Rudy's mouth, then claiming it is Rudy doing so to him. Then does his condenscending BS post of knocking down the the strawman he just built, insulting Rudy, and patting himself on the back for his own self delusional intellectual dishonesty.
    Yes, it is just another day on the ticker where tom i lives in his own little right wing bubble


    Sure seems like there is a lot missing from there. You tried to butt into our conversation and than have the audacity to try and frame me in some sort of way but, unfortunately for you, it's in black in white in the Hillary Clinton article from yesterday. You are not a good person, ol yeller. I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish. It makes no sense. Clearly, as you can see between Rudy and me, it was Rudy who was confused and forgot what he typed. And then you try and come in a childishly cut up what we discussed and then say that I cut and pasted and left something out. The proof is there. You are a bad person.

    July 2, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. T Howard

    Do ya think! Of course, if your into Marxism, a perpetual welfare state, abdicating authority, and debt he's your huckleberry!

    July 2, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. mmmb

    Obama and Bush were both disasters. Before I get called a racist, please understand that I voted for Obama and maxed out on contributions to his first campaign. (I never voted for Bush).

    July 2, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. brownbuttonglutton

    Duh. 0bama is a total failure.

    July 2, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. truindep

    Obama is the most incompetent , insincere , stubborn, egotistical , arrogant , inexperienced, dishonest president I have ever seen, and I have been around since John Kennedy , I was a democrat until Obama came along, to much liberal not enough democratic for me,

    July 2, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. john

    Clearly and indisputably the worst president since WWII is George "BUSH." He is likely the worst president in the history of the US. Based on lies he started 2 worthless wasteful "wars" which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and presided over what was most likely the only financial "depression" since WWII. Furthermore, he is likely illiterate and can barely speak the language.

    July 2, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Juan

    what a waste of energy, the poll, this article, my reading it...

    July 2, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. jimmie

    Arrogant yet cowardly Obama is the worst president the US has EVER had. Carter is next in line. It will take the US DECADES to recover from the damage Obamination has caused. Obama is America's first ANTI-AMERICAN president !

    July 2, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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