Americans say our most recent presidents haven’t handled the job so well, according to a poll released Wednesday.
In a survey of 1,446 registered voters, Quinnipiac University found a third believe President Obama is the worst president since World War II. George W. Bush comes in a close second, with 28 percent awarding him the title.
Political experts say the results aren’t surprising, further indicating deep-rooted political polarization in the country. University of Virginia political analyst Geoffrey Skelley says the results also prove the country’s collective memory is far more forgiving to presidents long past.
"I think this poll just kind of indicates that Americans have a tendency to look at the present and not so much the past, and that we’re not all Ph.D.’s in history,” Skelley said.
According to Skelley, the numbers show a sort of knee-jerk reaction to more recent current events. Otherwise, he says, the Watergate scandal should have put Richard Nixon higher on list.
"If they’re a Democrat, they’re ... going to just kind of reflexively go to George W. Bush, and if they’re a Republican, well they’re currently — most of them are dissatisfied with the current administration, so you’re going to say Barack Obama,” he said.
More voters said Obama is better for the economy than his predecessor, but not without some buyer’s remorse: 45 percent said the country would have been better off with a President Mitt Romney, compared with 38 percent who say the country would be worse off.
Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,446 voters nationwide June 24-30. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent.