According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, more Americans identify President Barack Obama as the worst occupant of the Oval Office since World War II than any other postwar President, including President Richard Nixon.
The poll, released Thursday, found 33 percent of U.S. voters identifying Obama as the worst President, followed by President George W. Bush (28 percent) and Nixon (13 percent). Every other President garnered “worst” votes in the single-digit percentages, led by President Jimmy Carter at 8 percent.
Of course, living memory and present-day partisanship play a role in producing these kinds of numbers: while Obama’s “worst President” numbers were truly brutal, he also managed to garner a surprising number of “best President” votes in a poll that ultimately found him first among the worst. Obama came in fourth in polling of best postwar Presidents — a list topped by President Ronald Reagan (35 percent), President Bill Clinton (18 percent) and President John F. Kennedy (15 percent).
Obama received “best” votes from 8 percent of poll participants. Among Democrats, he came in a distant second to Clinton as their choice of “best” President, collecting 18 percent compared with Clinton’s 34 percent.
Voters remain evenly divided on the matter of whether Obama is a worse President than his immediate predecessor. The question “Do you think Barack Obama has been a better President than George W. Bush, worse, or about the same as President Bush?” elicited a nearly even split, with 40 percent answering that Obama is worse, 39 percent maintaining that Bush was worse and another 20 percent indicating the two leaders’ legacies have been about the same.
Even though Obama won a second term in office, the poll finds that voters may be pining for the alternate version of history that might have unfolded had the Republican candidate he defeated, Mitt Romney, been elected President instead.
“America would be better off if Republican Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election, 45 percent of voters say, while 38 percent say the country would be worse off,” the poll summary observes.
Most of the nostalgia for Romney falls along predictable party lines, with 84 percent of Republicans indicating the Nation would have been better off had he been elected President. Only 10 percent of Democrats, on the other hand, agreed. Interestingly, Independent voters favored a do-over with Romney as President by a 47 percent to 33 percent margin.