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: oregoner from: oregon
    July 02, 2014 3:21 PM
    This is a poll America should pay attention to why? Because it represents all Americans? Yeah right.

    by: o from: miami
    July 02, 2014 3:18 PM
    It's more that Mr. Obama has not brought anything new to the political arena that a previous administration had not offered or done before. Mr. Obama needed to do things outside the box. Instead, his policies were copies of what had been done before. Example 1, bailing out the automakers was done with President Jimmy Carter and Chrysler. Back then there was a larger manufacturing base in the U.S. At Mr. Obamas bailout, the US economy was 73% consumer spending. That was where the bailout money should have gone to. Say $25,000 per adult US Citizen not on welfare. If the conservatives would point to a free market, well consumer spending is driving it. Example #2 Obamacare, Hillary Clinton in President Clinton's administration offered a similar proposal.
    Mr. Obama was to be a breath of fresh air, new bold ideas, not cower at being called socialist ("for the people, by the people"). Instead he was canned, preserved, policies. Rather than humiliate the US with an Arab coalition to remove forces from the Bush Wars, he stayed the course to clean up that mess. Well, if no moderate president will ever step up to take cautious but bold moves, only well funded radicals will make sizable changes. At what cost?

    by: Dizzy
    July 02, 2014 3:15 PM
    What do you expect when you vote in a community organizer with no experience, who was only elected for his 'style' & color?

    by: James Turnage from: Reno, Nevada
    July 02, 2014 3:14 PM
    Anyone who doesn't think "W" was the worst president in history must have been in a cave between 2001 and 2009

    by: Zach from: CA
    July 02, 2014 3:14 PM
    I think he's also been the most stonewalled president as well. I've never seen another president be so opposed at every turn. I get that he's trying different things and that freaks people out, however it was clear that many things were not working as they were. Most Americans are very short sighted and fail to see that it takes longer and more expensive to get out of a mess than it is to get into one. We need to look at things from a higher level not just in the now. If some of the changes don't work then we change them back and that's fine. We have to quit voting by our pocket books and not be so adverse to new ideas and work as a team, not enemies.

    by: toben crosse from: california
    July 02, 2014 3:10 PM
    Obama inherited the worse mess inherited by all presidents since ww2. George bush ( both of them) are in my opinion the worst with the son being the worst of all presidents. he put us in 2 wars and did not even try to win them. he created the climate for our economic collapse. his decisions cost us millions of jobs. his cabinet was as corrupt as any I know of.
    bush said after 911 ( if your against us then your not with us)
    and days later he acquiesced and boot licked the Saudis for their oil and influence. bush is by far and away the WORST president of all time

    by: Donnie Rhodes from: Columbia SC
    July 02, 2014 3:02 PM
    Im so far frm politics it like I don't care but if Obama was so bad why.was he reelected by the people

    by: Anonymous
    July 02, 2014 3:01 PM
    I'm somewhat suspicious of any poll of 1446 individuals attempting to sample the very geographically-dependent impressions of a country of 313 million. Also, while also noting that two-thirds of these individuals have nothing more than a highschool degree, I wonder if they could even list the last 12 presidents and the most significant ups and downs of each presidency. If that's not the case, then why ask this question? Why even extrapolate it to the entire population? If you want a historical perspective on presidential performances, shouldn't you poll a representative sample of historical experts? Articles like these are nauseating to read...

    by: Sean Sanity from: Illinois
    July 02, 2014 2:58 PM
    How in the hell do people forget the Iraq war disaster, 9/11, hurricane Katrina, and the financial melt down? Hey those happened under W. I think this May be bias.

    by: JMS from: South Carolina
    July 02, 2014 2:54 PM
    GWB was certainly not what anyone would call a great or even passable president by any measure but BHO deserves the ranking he received. Other than the environmental issues, on which I give him a B-, I cant think of one major issue that his admin has not completely screwed up or had to backtrack on. I don't blame ALL of this on him personally but I do blame his administration. A Russian diplomat put it into words how the world sees BHO.... "The American President is no different than shearing a pig, a lot of squealing but no wool.
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