President George W. Bush tops the list as the worst U.S. President in the last 61 years. Bush is named by 34 percent of voters, followed by Richard Nixon at 17 percent and Bill Clinton at 16 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday. Leading the list for best President since 1945 is Ronald Reagan with 28 percent, and Clinton with 25 percent.
President Bush is ranked worst by 56 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of independent voters and 7 percent of Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Best ranking for Reagan comes from 56 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independent voters. Among American voters 18 – 29 years old, Clinton leads the “best” list with 40 percent.
Among young voters, 42 percent list Bush as worst. Clinton tops the “worst” list among white Protestants – 24 percent, and white evangelical Christians – 29 percent.
American voters disapprove 58 – 35 percent of the job Bush is doing, compared to 58 – 36 percent in a March 2 survey. Even voters in red states, where Bush’s margin was more than 5 percent in 2004, disapprove 52 – 39 percent.
“Democrats just plain don’t like President Bush. His father, the 41st President, was voted out of the White House after one term. Nixon quit under fire. But most Democrats think Bush 43 wins the worst-president race,” said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“Kennedy and Truman get big Democratic votes, especially among Baby Boomers (45 – 64 years old) and seniors (over 65), but recent memory counts,” Carroll said. “Democrats say Clinton’s the best and Republicans say he’s the worst. Republicans don’t think much of Jimmy Carter either. There’s no contest for the GOP favorite: It’s the Gipper.”
“Bush’s job-approval numbers remain in the cellar. But he might finally have hit bottom.”
The main reasons cited by American voters who approve of Bush are that he is a strong leader who does what he thinks is right – 18 percent; and that he is doing a good job handling terrorism – 15 percent.
The main reason cited by voters who disapprove of Bush is the war in Iraq, listed by 43 percent.
A total of 38 percent of voters are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the way things are going in the nation today, while 62 percent are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” matching the previous satisfaction low point from March 2.
In an open-ended question, where respondents can give any answer, 16 percent of voters say the war in Iraq is the most important problem facing the U.S. today, down from 23 percent in March. Another 12 percent list economic issues and 11 percent list immigration, the first time this issued has hit double digits in a national poll.
American voters say 56 – 39 percent that going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do.
The U.S. should remove all troops from Iraq, 29 percent of voters say, with 28 percent who want the U.S. to decrease the number of troops; 26 percent who want to maintain current troop levels and 11 percent who want to increase troop levels.
From May 23 – 30, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,534 registered voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida and nationwide as a public service and for research.