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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Internet is abuzz over the latest Quinnipiac poll, which not only shows that Americans find President Barack Obama to be the worst commander-in-chief since World War II, but that a large number of voters (45 percent) think that America would be better off if Mitt Romney had been elected in 2012. At a first glance, those numbers look really rough for Obama. A closer look, however, tells a slightly different story.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,446 voters from June 24-30; 26 percent identify as Republicans, 31 percent as Democrats, and 35 percent are Independents. Of those voters, 73 percent are white, 13 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent identify as “other.” Only 18 percent are from the Northeast, 24 percent hail from the Midwest, 37 percent from the South, and 22 percent from the West.

So the largest representation of voters surveyed in this poll are from the South, which isn’t exactly representative of all Americans as a whole. In the 2012 election, the South was the only region where more voters voted for Romney than Obama (54 to 41 percent). Gallup shows that only 33 percent of voters in 2012 were from the South, while 23 percent were from the Northeast and Midwest, and 22 percent lived in the West. Consequently, this poll is slightly skewed towards Southern voters.

Though 33 percent of Americans think Obama is the worst president since World War II, compared to 28 percent who chose George W. Bush, Slate’s Dave Weigel shows why it’s important to take a second look at those numbers.

Since Republicans overwhelmingly (66 percent) think that Ronald Reagan was the best president, he’s easily at the top of the poll. But Democrats are conflicted about who they would choose for their top pick, with the vote split between Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Obama.

It’s the same situation with the pick for worst president—63 percent of Republicans chose Obama and only 14 percent chose Carter, while Democrats were split between Bush (54 percent) and Nixon (20 percent).

Weigel concludes that the “poll looks like most polls in 2014 — the president has lost Independents, and voters have stopped hating George W. Bush so much.”

No matter how the numbers are parsed, it doesn’t change the fact that President Obama has a lot of work to do to regain voter support if he wants to end his presidency with better favorability numbers.

Photo: AFP Photo via Mandel Ngan

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