News / USA

    Obama 'Worst President' Since WWII, Poll Finds

    With the Key Bridge, linking Washington and Northern Virginia in the background, President Barack Obama speaks about the economy and transportation at Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, July 1, 2014.
    With the Key Bridge, linking Washington and Northern Virginia in the background, President Barack Obama speaks about the economy and transportation at Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, July 1, 2014.

    A new U.S. poll shows Americans think President Barack Obama is the country's worst president since World War II.

    The independent Quinnipiac University poll said Wednesday that its survey taken late last month of more than 1,400 U.S. voters showed that 33 percent put Obama at the bottom of the list of 12 presidents who have served since 1945, with 28 percent naming his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush.

    Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president through most of the 1980s, was picked by 35 percent as the best president since World War II. He was followed by Bill Clinton, who served in the 1990s, who was preferred by 18 percent.

    "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 Quinnipiac University's polling unit.

    A wide variety of recent surveys have shown weak approval for Obama, who was easily re-elected to a second term in 2012 over Republican Mitt Romney, but since then has faced several domestic and foreign policy setbacks. The Quinnipiac survey showed voters now think, by a 45 to 38 percent margin, the country would have been better off if Romney had won the election.

    In the survey, Obama got negative grades for his handling of the economy, foreign policy, health care and terrorism, with those polled only giving him a favorable rating on environmental issues.

    “He has taken a pretty big hit as far as foreign policy goes," Malloy noted.  "He has lost 10 percentage points as far as competence and the way he is handling that.  So that could play pretty heavily into it because that was one of his stronger cards, foreign policy, and now it is not so strong.”

    Obama continues to try to rally supporters in the wake of weak poll numbers and some recent political setbacks.

    The president says he will press ahead with executive action to deal with immigration reform amid strong indications Congress is unlikely to deal with the issue this year.

    The Speaker of the House, Republican Congressman John Boehner, said recently he intends to initiate a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking the president’s use of executive orders.

    “You know the Constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws, and in my view the president has not faithfully executed the laws," Boehner said.

    President Obama has been dismissive of the Republican lawsuit threat and has vowed to take unilateral action where he can.

    “Middle-class families cannot wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff," Obama said.  "So sue me.  As long as they are doing nothing, I am not going to apologize for trying to do something.”

    Foreign policy has long been one of the president’s political strengths.  But the recent turmoil in Iraq seems to be undercutting public confidence in Obama’s leadership, said analyst John Fortier with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

    “I think the problem for the president is that conditions on the ground (in Iraq) are not good and he will get some of the blame for that," he said.  "So I do not think there are any good alternatives for him even though the American people are not united in what they want to do.”

    Pollster Tim Malloy added that the president’s decision to act unilaterally has the potential for both political risk and reward.

    “It’ is not easy for a second term president, ever.  And is the president going rogue?  Is he doing things arbitrarily and on his own?  Some would say he is.  But this has been historic gridlock in Washington and I am sure supporters of the president say he has got no other choice, and people who do not support him say he has gone off the reservation," Malloy said.

    Democrats remain concerned the president’s weak poll numbers will hurt them in congressional midterm elections in November.  

    Experts say Republicans are likely to hold their majority in the House of Representatives and have an excellent chance of gaining enough Democratic seats to reclaim a majority in the Senate.  That would give them control of both chambers of Congress for the final two years of Obama’s presidency.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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    by: Floyd Webb from: Chicago
    July 03, 2014 7:27 AM
    I never believe a Pole that is not from Warsaw. Oh, you said Poll!

    The same applies!

    by: D.LaPlante from: Spokane
    July 02, 2014 4:20 PM
    Where do I begin? This poll is the worst poll since WWII?

    by: John from: Madison, WI
    July 02, 2014 3:43 PM
    Why is everyone so harsh with their opinions? You all sound like Democrats and Republicans in Congress trying to get something done. You hear something you don't like, immediately disregard the other person's stance completely, and then scream your opinion like it is a fact. It appears as if there is something wrong with the way the people in our governmental system interact as a whole. "W. Bush messes everything up and that's why Obama can't get anything done." " Obama has had plenty of time to clean things up and has only made it worse". The real problem is Congress and the President not being able to compromise, and look where we are now: Obama has said he will just do things on his own because you can't deny Congress is thwarting helping anything Obama wants to pass. Congress is now suing the President. How much inefficiency can there be in our system? Who is the one President that is not being attacked in these comments? Clinton. Why was he successful? Mostly, the economy. Everyone gets pissed when the economy sucks, which it has for the last 14 years. He didn't get too involved in Foreign Affairs (i.e., start a war). And focused on enacting policies in education, health care, and the environment that weren't too over the top to piss anyone off. Bush started a war, Obama completely changed our health care system. People say "we want better health care", but then you change the system completely and most can't handle dramatic change. People say "we want the world to be a safe place", but then you try to rid the world of an evil dictator and people can't handle it. The fact is, we are too tied up in Republican vs Democrat. If Obama started the Iraq war Democrats would support it. If Bush created BushCare Repubs would support it. A non-partisan democracy would force people to actually look at a representative's policies before voting. Instead, we have our defend our affiliation's whether right or wrong and blast others without truly listening to their side. So, long story short, we need more Bill Clinton's, but the type who don't get BJ's from interns at work.

    by: stan from: Stockton, CA
    July 02, 2014 3:40 PM
    This info came from a Reuters Poll. I didn't see anybody questioning their polls when everything was coming up roses for Obama. The honeymoon is over, I'm just surprised it took people so long to realize that he wasn't qualified, prepared or competent enough to run this country. But he did have that speech in 2006 at the DNC. He's made his 15 minutes of fame last over 8 years. Impressive.

    by: Susan from: California
    July 02, 2014 3:34 PM
    Obama will go down in history as one of the great presidents for all his accomplishments. Right now the right wing media is busy slamming his name into the ground. The Republican party has become so nasty in their tactics. It is really amazing all Obama has done with such a do nothing congress to deal with. Most people don't really understand what is going on. It is amazing the things they blame on Obama. I will give the Republicans credit for one thing, they have been successful in leading the poor little sheep astray.

    by: charlotte from: deep south
    July 02, 2014 3:26 PM
    This an accurate poll regarding this sham of a POTUS! To supposedly have been Harvard educated and a Constitutional expert he is a disgrace. He should surrender his diploma like he did his law licence!

    by: Herb from: Carrabelle. Fl
    July 02, 2014 3:24 PM
    Obama has failed miserably on stopping illegal immigration. Who is going to pay for all these illegals? Better not be the American Taxpayer! He is a looser in every other category. The only thing he did not do is get another 4,000 American Troops killed. YET!

    by: joe from: montana
    July 02, 2014 3:24 PM
    Do we really need a poll to know this?

    by: Rick from: San Diego
    July 02, 2014 3:23 PM
    Obama inherited the biggest mess in US history when Bush left office: Bush gave us a record breaking deficit, 2 wars that we couldn't seem to leave, 9/11 happening under Bush's watch, very high unemployment, invasion of Iraq based on lies, letting Osama bin Laden escape when we had him surrounded at Tora Bora, giving huge tax cuts to billionaires to increase the deficit, etc etc etc etc etc.... Bush was the worst president of all time - nobody else comes close to his record.

    by: BRG from: Texas
    July 02, 2014 3:21 PM
    Wow this article is horribly bias. And that is modest assessment. And to say Reagan was one of the best??? How has that war on drugs worked out???? Billions spent to kick in pot heads doors and billions more spent to lock up perpetrators of victimless crimes. And then wonder why the guy that got locked up for pot is now a gang member? I wonder why? Obama is doing well in my opinion, I personally like how he just doesn't act and reviews all possible solutions unlike other predecessors . And how is Iraq his fault? They (Iraq/middle east) have been killing each other for hundreds if not thousands of years and we think we can stop that from the other side of the world. I mean everyone was complaining on the resources spent yet when we return the country it goes to h3ll and it is Obama's fault. But I have herd this before, my car broke down It's Obama's fault. Its sad people can't see past the BS. In these peoples eyes Obama can't do anything right. What about the entire economy he fixed? During wonderful Bush Jr. I hope these article improve......
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