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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Washington (AFP) — A new poll Wednesday found President Barack Obama, who is enduring a tough second term, topping a list of the worst U.S. leaders since World War II.

The survey, by the polling institute at Quinnipiac University, revealed that 33 percent of those asked saw Obama as the worst leader in the last 70 years. Twenty-eight percent picked his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

Quinnipiac said that 35 percent saw Republican Ronald Reagan, president from 1981 to 1989, as the best U.S. leader since 1945, with 18 percent choosing Bill Clinton and 15 percent going for the assassinated John F. Kennedy.

“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 polling for Quinnipiac.

Forty-five percent of those polled said that America would have been better off had Republican Mitt Romney won the 2012 election, while 38 percent said the country would be worse off.

Presidents typically capture the most heat while they are in office, and many find that their spells in the White House are reevaluated when they have retired and are out of Washington’s bitter partisan crossfire.

Bush, who was deeply unpopular at the end of his second term, has seen his ratings edge up in recent years. Others like Clinton were popular on their last day in office and have seen their public opinion ratings remain strong.

The poll appeared to show a bias towards more recent presidents. Only 13 percent said Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace, was seen as the worst president. Jimmy Carter, a one-term Democrat whose 1981-85 presidency is often pilloried, was seen as the worst president by only eight percent.

The Quinnipiac poll was consistent with other recent surveys, showing Obama’s job approval ratings touching near historic lows of around 40 percent.

A string of political controversies and foreign policy crises have sullied Obama’s reputation. The poll found that by 54 to 44 percent, voters believe the Obama administration is not competent at running the government.

Only 40 percent of those asked approved of how Obama was handling the economy and only 37 percent backed his management of foreign policy.

The survey was conducted between June 20-24 among 1,446 registered voters and has a plus or minus margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan

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  • Independent1

    Actually, if you think about it, given the right-wing’s 24/7 deliberate efforts to trash Obama’s image with the American population over the past 6 years, to me, it’s actually an accomplishment that only 5% points worth of Americans view Obama as being worse than Bush.

    And if you consider that the poll also shows that American’s think Reagan was the best president since 1945 when on numerous measures it’s clear that Reagan was the worst president to ever misguide America – it’s obvious that a large portion of the American population is not only very gullible and they’re also very delusional!! And it’s unfortunate that millions of Americans form their opinions based on propaganda with very little understanding about what they’re basing their opinions on.

    And one last thing, if the Americans polled were of the average political split within the country which has those aligned conservative, or to the GOP, leading those who claim to be liberals (Democrats) 37% to 24%, the fact that only 33% consider Obama the worst, means even some Republicans may not consider him the worst: and it could well be that it is virtually all Republicans who think that Reagan was America’s best (where Reagan only got 35% of the votes when 37% of Americans claim to be conservatives leaning Republican).

    • If you want propaganda and lies, look no further than the democratic party. I guess considering that the Emperor seems to be very well versed in lies and deception, you couldn’t expect the democrats to find any truth in anything. Yes, our Emperor is a fine moral example for our children.

  • Sand_Cat

    So, how many of those votes were decided on the basis of fictional “scandals” and GOP lies?

  • latebloomingrandma

    With the exception of George Washington—who started from scratch, Lincoln–who had the Civil War, and FDR-who had the Great Depression and then WWII—-name one president who had more of a mess on his doorstep on day 1. Obama had both domestic messes and wars. Only history will tell where his legacy ends up. Harry Truman left office with his approval rating in the toilet, yet 60 years later is listed in the top tier of Presidents. Eisenhower is finally coming into his own. Unless the Middle East miraculously turns around in the next 30 years, George W. Bush will remain at the bottom.

  • sigrid28

    Yet more proof that leading a country with over 300 million inhabitants is not a popularity contest, nor should it be. If they are any good at all, presidents in their second term take risks and strive to accomplish their goals, as they can do so without having to run for office again. One could argue that it would be a do-nothing president who would avoid all the pitfalls to popularity that accompany true leadership.

    Fortunately, the US is not like high school, where the day’s popularity dominates. Favorite presidents are selected by Americans over time, taking into account the much sharper focus of hindsight as well as the blurred frenzy of the moment. This president has nothing to worry about. I hope he and his administration ignore this irresponsible distraction, and others like it, for the adolescent stunt that it is, and stay focused on tackling problems 300 million of us count on them to solve.

    The media have done us all a disservice by focussing on this silly poll result based on a silly question, instead of covering real news. But I guess since Congress is in recess for the Fourth of July holiday, soft stories take precedence over subjects of more significance on what newspeople consider a relatively slow news day. All of the leading anchors are on vacation and we are watching the B-team deliver network as well as cable news. Remember, the B-team is also running the producing desk as well. The B-team is even more eager than the A-team to prove itself to their conservative media outlet owners. We all be celebrating independence, but our news media are not independent.

    • Independent1

      Great assessment of the current situation! Thanks!

      I’m a little surprised that PEW Research would even do such a poll; I had always considered them to be one of the better polling organizations. But as you point out, in the face of the GOP’s non stop almost 6 year “Let’s trash the president” campaign to have taken such a poll is ludicrous.

      And then to not even point out when releasing the poll, that the percent of respondents to their poll thinking that Obama is the worst modern day president, is actually less than the expected percent of Republicans in the population; and whom you would expect to come out now and say he’s the worst modern day president given the 24/7 brainwashing that their party leaders have been spewing on them), is mind boggling. How could any serious polling organization not know beforehand that Republicans would almost in mass consider Obama to be the worst president ever??? The PEW poll results are not worth in any measure the effort they spent in compiling it.