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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'][twitter-follow screen_name='psteinhausercnn']

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. Terry Poupart

    I agree with Eric. That's why I only vote for Tea-Party backed candidates. It's time to take our country back.

    July 2, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    1400 people out of millions?? And you think this is accurate?
    If you understodd statistical sampling, you wouldn't ask that question.

    July 2, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Shocking!!! so tell me something new! worst ever

    July 2, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Bob

    I feel that Obama has his own agenda and doesn't care about polls. He should be impeached as a dictator.

    July 2, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. vaughndk

    Bush and Cheney were the cause for a lot of problems that are still plaguing America today. You wonder why both of them haven't been on the news or doing speaking gigs like Clinton? It's because no one wants to hear their babble. The issues that happened during Bush's eight years in office weren't going to be corrected by any president in just eight years. Obama inherited a country in recession, high unemployment rates, housing market collapse, bail outs, strained foreign relations, two wars, the Patriot Act and a lot of upset Americans. I think our entire system, Obama, Congress, House of Representatives, Senate, etc., have failed America. The bickering between the parties makes more news than policies that actually help Americans. I don't know of any president that inherited more issues than Obama but even with those issues, Obama came into office with the campaign of 'Change' and 'Hope' and I haven't seen either.

    July 2, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    It must kill CNN's soul to have to publish this.

    July 2, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Peter

    We have had a dozen presidents since WW2. I doubt that many respondents could name six of them, yet they have an opinion on who is the worst.

    July 2, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Alex

    If socialism means raising taxes and growing the government, then Reagan is the biggest socialist this country has every seen. Neo-cons have no modern day President who they can be proud of, so they've invented a mythical character that in reality was the biggest socialist and did more harm to middle class Americans and this country than any president before or after. Deal with it neocons.

    July 2, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Lolo

    No we would have been better off if George W. Bush had lost. Of course the right-wing nuts are going to say Obama due to the fact that they just can't stand the fact that the black man is in the white house fighting for all of America, not just the rich like the GOP. White America needs to relly understand that America is the way it is not because of Obama, but because of the Presidents before himm. What they are mad about is he really sees how Uncle Sam ticks, He sees all the tricks the good old boy network has been pulling for years and it is sickening.

    July 2, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. just asking

    How can you guys against Obama talk so much trash when the GOPs in congress say 'NO' to everything he is putting out there especially when it comes to the well-being of the country.

    because congress consists of our elected representatives that obama must work with to get things done. he must be willing to work at finding some sort of consensus, some sort of compromise. obama was elected president, not dictator, leader for life. he has simply refused to negotiate and enforce our laws in good faith. he then goes out and attacks and demonizes the very people he is supposed to be working with to get things done.

    bill clinton had no problem working with and getting things done with a republican congress. but obama somehow can't do it? he just refuses to do it. he's not a leader and has no skills when it comes to building personal relationships.

    July 2, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. carissa

    George Bush JR

    July 2, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC


    Clearly, as you can see between Rudy and me, it was Rudy who was confused and forgot what he typed.

    Clearly you and Rudy need to get a room and work it out between yourselves.
    Actually, CNN is not posting any of my replies to other posts. I'd be surprised if this gets through.

    July 2, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Teddy Cruzz

    My comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 2, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Are these the same people that predicted Mitt would win in a landslide? 1400 people out of millions is clearly not representative of the entire nation. This poll did what it was meant to do. Rile up the whackos.

    Btw, President Romney and House Minority Leader Eric Cantor approve this message.

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Slapsie Maxie

    Further evidence that America gets dumber by the day

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. atc333

    Lets see, GWB ran up 6 trillion in Federal deficits, got the Nation into 2 wars lying as to the facts of one,, and brought us to almost economic collapse, the Bush II Economic Meltdown in 2008. He did all this having control of the House and Senate for 6 years, getting what ever he asked for. Whatever policies he wanted, he got. Tax cuts for job creators? He got them. This should have been a golden age of GOP economic development, Instead it was bubbles, spending based upon consumer credit which created jobs, and it all collapsed. 20 years of GOP Reaganomics, and what have we seen? Massive redistribution of wealth to the top 2%, who now own almost 50% of all of America, up from only 8% in 1969. Did they create jobs? No! Do they have any intentions of creating jobs? No, not until a GOP President is in office, for after all, we cannot have a Democratic President fix what the GOP broke.

    Compared to Bush II, Obama has done quite well, despite the GOP's commitment to block and stall all of his, and the Democrats attempts to rebuild our economy, and create jobs. The only plan the GOP has had over the past 5 years is how to keep Americans suffering, with the vain hope we are not smart enough to understand why, that the GOP has chosen Party and winning the next election over the best interests of this nation and its people.

    If you study the economic history of this nation by each administration, tax rates, the percentage of tax revenues to GNP, job creation, deficit creation, as well as the redistribution of wealth over the years, it becomes painfully obvious that the GOP has failed America, yet despite these fact, the Right Wing continues to hawk the very same failed economic theories which got us into the mess in the first place.

    What a short memory those individuals have.

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Cyrus

    Then why the hell did you guy elect him for second round
    I don't get it
    Just stop complaining and act like adults

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Lots of liberals crying because their messiah has been shown to be false. Face it, you voted for him BECAUSE of his skin color, and that turned out to be a poor predictor of competence. The world is in far worse shape now because of his constant display of American weakness. His economic recovery has been weak, his political methods have not been compromise but are modeled on monarchy. Woe to us for the next two years.

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. 2_indy1600

    My vote for worst president goes to Wild-Bill Clinton, who paved the road to Iraq in 1998 with a little law called the
    Iraq Liberation Act. Still waiting for someone in the democratic party to tell me why he gets a pass on the war. Any explantions?

    July 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. just saying

    don't worry obama! you won't have this mantle for very long if hillary clinton gets elected!!

    July 2, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. rein

    With Romney would have ended up Revolution.
    The next best thing we suffered is Hegemony.

    July 2, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Linda

    It was once said that Franklin Roosevelt was the anti christ because he started social security and now everyone had a number. Then it was Ronald Wilson Reagan who was the anti christ because there was six letters in each of his names – hence 666. Keep spreading the lies so we can't solve the issues of the truth !!

    July 2, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Quit blaming Bush people.... Obama is a failure with a Capital F!! He has the worst track record, and it has nothing to do with his predecessors. If the man had half a brain, he would still be an idiot.

    July 2, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. pat

    CNN is turning out a bunch of liars these das. Bush should be in jai along with Cheney, Rove and their cohorts. This article sucks and Steve should know better

    July 2, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Not so. He's had to "manuever" a Congress dead set on hindering everything he proposed. A quartherback needs 10 other teammates to compete. Obama's teammates (Congress) walked off the field and left him to deal with staggering odds that he never succombed to. Judge him FAIRLY.

    July 2, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42