Join the discussion: Is Obama really the worst president since WWII?
Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press
Americans think that President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.
The poll found that 33 percent of Americans thought Obama was the worst president since the 1940s, slightly less popular than George W. Bush with 28 percent of the vote and Richard Nixon at 13 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," assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll Tim Malloy said in a statement picked up by Business Insider.
Additionally, Malloy said, 45 percent of participants in the poll said that Mitt Romney would have made a better president than Obama, with 38 percent arguing that Romney would have been a worse president.
The president has recently come under fire for his foreign policy, which has historically been a Democratic strong suit, according to Voice of America, and many of his past actions are now being criticized as going against the Constitution.
“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," Speaker of the House John Boehner said as quoted by Voice of America.
Malloy came back to defend the president’s numbers, stating that Obama has dealt with a historically stubborn Congress and a typically difficult second term.
“It is not easy for a second-term president, ever,” said Malloy, quoted by Voice of America. “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.”
Others have said that Obama’s popularity numbers now, in the middle of his second term, are meaningless.
“It’s just silly” to judge Obama’s performance now that he still has so much of his presidency to complete, wrote Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg View. Additionally, he argues, this story is not an unbiased poll but an example of partisanship.
“Questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless,” he wrote in another Bloomberg article. “What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.”
The poll only showed that Republicans currently dislike Obama more than any other Democratic president, he continued. Given that there is a Democrat in office, it is obvious who the opposite party will rally against. “It’s no surprise that they choose the current occupant of the Oval Office over long-gone Carter, either, let alone the popular Clinton.”
Others have said that this poll is biased because it has come during Obama’s administration, and these results will change with time as they have done with other presidents.
“If there is any consolation for Obama, it is that 34 percent of respondents called George W. Bush the worst president since World War II when a similar question was asked in 2006, the sixth year of Bush's presidency. Obama is now in the sixth year of his,” according to Chuck Raasch of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Current presidents face much more scrutiny than those who have left office, according to other sources.
“Asking voters to rate the current president against his predecessors may not be fair,” wrote Linda Feldmann of the Christian Science Monitor. “Sitting presidents face a daily barrage of challenges, and voters can be harsh, even when a president’s ability to fix a problem is limited. Typically, as soon as a president leaves office, his favorability rating gets a boost. And, historians say, one really should wait a few decades before ranking a president for the ages.”
According to the poll, the most favored presidents were Ronald Reagan with 35 percent of the vote, Bill Clinton at 18 percent, and John F. Kennedy at 15 percent. Eight percent of voters, meanwhile, said that Obama was the best president.
Bethan Owen is a writer for the Deseret News Moneywise and Opinion sections. Twitter: BethanO2