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Obama’s favorability falls below Bush, Carter

Published time: June 23, 2014 18:21
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

United States President Barack Obama has landed himself a last-place spot according to a new poll that measured the favorable ratings of the five living former and current American commanders-in-chief.

Results from a Gallup poll released over the weekend suggest that Bill Clinton is the living US president viewed in the most positive light, earning himself a favorable rating of 64 percent.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans think favorably of former president George H.W. Bush, who beat out his son George W. Bush by 10 whole percentage points. Among the living former US presidents, Jimmy Carter came in last place with a 52 percent favorable rating over 32 percent unfavorable and 16 percent with no opinion.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

The current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, was considered favorable by only 47 percent of the Americans polled by Gallup. Obama is also the only president who’s unfavorable rating — 52 percent — surpassed the proportion of those who think positively of him, earning himself a net-negative reading.

On the Gallup website, however, writers there say the implications of the latest survey aren’t anything to be taken too seriously.

“Americans are largely forgiving of former presidents, as each of the four living ex-presidents had times in office when they had job approval ratings below 40 percent, if not 30 percent,” pollsters write on the Gallup site.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar)


“Obama's current favorable ratings are the worst of his presidency, and they are worse than former presidents' ratings. No matter how popular or unpopular he is when he leaves office in a little more than two years, Americans' views of Obama personally should improve once he becomes a former president.”

The results also clash to a degree with a separate survey taken last November by Gallup in which pollsters asked for Americans to describe the last 11 presidents as leading administrations that were outstanding, average or poor. According to the results of that poll, 28 percent of Americans said Pres. Obama will go down in history as being an “outstanding/above average” president, coming in fifth place behind Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and Eisenhower. According to that survey, Americans believed they would go on to remember the Obama administration as being more successful than that of Carter and both Bush presidents.

Pollsters at Gallup conducted the latest survey over the telephone between June 5 and 8 earlier this month from a sample of 1,027 adults.