George W. Bush Still Very Unpopular

Four years out of office has done little to improve the image of the 43rd President of the United States:

According to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, conducted April 5-8, 35 percent of Americans view him favorably, versus 44 percent who view him negatively.

Those numbers are virtually unchanged from the five other NBC/WSJ polls that have measured Bush since the summer of 2010, although they’re an improvement from when he left office (31 percent fav/58 percent unfav).

Indeed, out of the six public figures the current NBC/WSJ poll measured — including President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen.Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and New York City Michael Bloomberg – Bush had the worst net fav/unfav score.

Not surprisingly, Bush’s favorability numbers among demographic groups tend to mirror those of the Republican Party:

The subgroups that have a net-positive view of Bush are Republicans (65 percent favorable/14 percent unfavorable), conservatives (60 percent/19 percent), seniors (48 percent/31 percent), rural Americans (43 percent/35 percent), Southerners (43 percent/37 percent), and whites (40 percent/39 percent).

But he is deeply unpopular among most other subgroups, including the biggest parts of Obama’s coalition — 18-34 year olds (26 percent/46 percent), African Americans (19 percent/64 percent), and Latinos (27 percent/44 percent). In fact, Bush’s worst age group is the 18 to 34 year old, and his best are seniors.

He also has a net-negative with the swing demographic groups: suburban residents (37 percent/41 percent) and independents (30 percent/45 percent).

And while Bush has a net-positive rating in the South, he’s negative everywhere else: Northeast (30 percent/53 percent), Midwest (32 percent/46 percent), and West (32 percent/42 percent).

In other words, the GOP still has a millstone named “George W. Bush” weighing it down.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Who’da thunk crashing the economy and torturing folks would be so unpopular???

  2. george says:

    In other words, the GOP still has a millstone named “George W. Bush” weighing it down.

    I’d argue the millstone is their policies and attitudes (which are now, if anything, crazier than when Bush was President).

    In fact, Bush seems pretty reasonable in comparison to the current crop running the party.

  3. merl says:

    I always thought of him as just a big doofus and an unwitting puppet of Dick Cheney.

  4. merl says:

    @george: And Reagan and Nixon look like liberals

  5. wr says:

    Wonder what good ol’ Jeb thinks of this poll?

  6. SoWhat says:

    Can’t wait to see what Obama’s legacy will be since he is heading the fourth term of the Bush Administration. It seems every bad policy Bush initiated (drones, massive spending, big government, etc.) Obama has doubled down on.. At least when Bush went to war he went to the UN and Congress before he acted—Obama don’t need no stinkin’ authority to make war!

    And really, do we know for sure that Obama hasn’t tortured anyone? If he did, do you really believe the establishment press would tell us?

    I guess it’s better just to kill terrorists with drones rather than risk interrogating them.

    After 16 years of Obama/Bush policies, the public will likely have a gut-full of ’70s style liberalism and
    “compassionate conservatism” a/k/a 70s style liberalism..

  7. anjin-san says:

    since he is heading the fourth term of the Bush Administration

    Well, if that was true, we would be in our fifth year of a depression…

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @george: @merl: YES

  9. Facebones says:

    @C. Clavin: Unfortunately, I’ll best most Americans wouldn’t care about the torture if the economy had been humming along.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Given that we’re still saddled with the ongoing effects of the financial crash of 2008, and a completely unnecessary war that has cost trillions of dollars, it is not surprising that most Americans have a decidedly negative view of GW Bush.

    It is somewhat analogous to how people came to view Hoover in the years that followed. Whether the people will see Bush as an albatross for the next 10 years is another question altogether. I will say this though, if the GOP continues to embrace stupidity and retrograde attitudes then they’re going to be in trouble in 2016 too. Too early to tell.

  11. Kylopod says:

    @Facebones:

    Unfortunately, I’ll best most Americans wouldn’t care about the torture if the economy had been humming along.

    Agreed. As unfortunate as it is, torture is popular with the American public. Bush’s program of torture may have hurt his standing with some voters, but I doubt it’s a major reason for his scathingly low poll numbers. I would have rephrased C. Clavin’s comment as follows:

    Who’da thunk crashing the economy and getting us bogged down in a long and pointless war would be so unpopular?

  12. wr says:

    Of course, as we’ve learned from Doug in the gun threads, it doesn’t matter how unpopular he is with the vast majority of the American people. As long as a tiny minority — supported by large amounts of money — want him in office, he should be reinstated as president.

  13. Me Me Me says:

    What do the 35% see that I’m not seeing?

  14. de stijl says:

    @Me Me Me:

    What do the 35% see that I’m not seeing?

    There’s a pretty shockingly high number of Americans who have a straight-up tribal view of politics.

    “A President who hates the people I hate is a good President.”

  15. An Interested Party says:

    After 16 years of Obama/Bush policies, the public will likely have a gut-full of ’70s style liberalism and
    “compassionate conservatism” a/k/a 70s style liberalism..

    Umm, sorry, but that flawed, disingenuous message won’t do much to help the GOP in 2016…

  16. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    It’s not too late to seat grand juries.