Bush Equals Nixon's Highest Disapproval

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 at 10:24


The Roper Center at the University of Connecticut is an excellent archive for poll junkies, featuring polling archives that go back much further than Polling Report (not that polling report isn't great). The "coup de grace" (I hope I spelled that right) at the Roper Center is their archive of every public, presidential approval poll ever conducted via telephone. It even dates back to the 1930's where you can review FDR's approval ratings from August, 1937 forward.

The reason I bring up this archive is because today Bush reached a historic milestone. His current disapproval rating in the latest Gallup poll, 66%, equals Richard Nixon's highest Gallup disapproval rating of 66%, registered the week before he resigned from office. Back then, Gallup was the only organization conducting presidential approval polls, and thus the Gallup poll is always taken as the gold standard for historical comparisons. This figure also puts Bush only 1% away from the all-time highest disapproval, set by Harry Truman in early January, 1952.

Here is a chart featuring the all-time worst Gallup poll results for every president over the past 70 years:
President Low Approval High Disapproval High Margin
Bush 2 29 66 -37
Clinton 36 50 -14
Bush 1 29 60 -31
Reagan 35 56 -21
Carter 28 59 -31
Ford 39 45 -6
Nixon 24 66 -42
Johnson 35 52 -16
Kennedy 56 30 +26
Eisenhower 48 36 +12
Truman 22 65 -43
FDR 48 43 +5

Note that I mentioned above how Truman's highest disapproval was 67%, but here it is listed as 65%. This is because, for the purposes of this table, I took the single poll for each President that resulted in the lowest overall approval / disapproval margin. Truman's overall worst gap was -45, but it did not come from a single poll. Nxon's overall worst gap was -43, but it did not come from a single poll.

Update: As noted in the comments by Max Fletcher, remarkably, no President had a negative approval / disapproval margin from February 1953-March 1966. In fact, every poll taken during that time period registered at least double-digit approval for the sitting President. No wonder the late sixties are viewed as such a tumultuous time in America, as they were clearly following the most remarkable period of general contentedness we have ever seen. For the flip side, from April 1966 through August 1983, presidential approval ratings were in the net negative more than half of the time.
Chris Bowers :: Bush Equals Nixon's Highest Disapproval

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truman (0.00 / 0)
we obviously know why bush is so dissaproved of because we are living it and can obviously understand why nixon was so low the week before he resigned but i'd be interested to know why/at what point was truman that low. do you know?

Korean War (0.00 / 0)
More specifically, the disagreement with MacArthur (sp). He really crated after firing him, even though I think Truman did the right thing. MacArthur was basically not following orders, and came very close to starting an all-out war with China. Bad news, though I admit my knowledge of that time period is sketchy.

Basically, Truman took on a much more popular figure than himself, and suffered mightily in public opinion as a result.

[ Parent ]
Also (0.00 / 0)
Truman was hit pretty badly by the KMT losing the Chinese civil war, and the rise of Mao.  There was the Alger Hiss communist spy scandal (how Nixon made his name in the first place).  The right was really, really up in arms about how Truman "coddled communists."  And all of this peaked in the Korean war incident cited above.

[ Parent ]
Wow (0.00 / 0)
It's surprising to see that Eisenhower and Kennedy were so popular so consistently, especially given Kennedy's close margin of victory and the fact that Ike served two terms.

But then again, I guess every President since then has had some sort of (relative) disaster happen to their administration (LBJ and Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate, Ford and the pardon, Carter and Iran/oil, Reagan and Iran-Contra (was that even where he hit his low, or was it early in the first term?), Bush I and the economy, Clinton and health care/1994, Bush and Iraq)


hmm (0.00 / 0)
guess his lowest approvals were in 1983. He only dipped into negative territory very briefly in his second term.

[ Parent ]
Bush's disapproval rating (4.00 / 1)
should be a reality show, then people in America would care.  Like, you can win a million dollars, but the lower his disapproval rating, the harder it is.  And, when he reaches the Nixon level, everyone in the audience has to wear a Richard Nixon mask throughout the entire show.

Or, we need an Obama girl that just talks about Bush's low approval with a tight-fitting shirt.

Those appear to be our only two options.


Bush 'could' be considered (0.00 / 0)
a liberal in an inside out backwards an upside down way (like he does everything else).

He's done more to bury the GOP than anyone in living memory. With the help of Rove and Cheney, of course.

Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking


helpful tip (0.00 / 0)
If you aren't sure how to spell something that isn't easily found on one of the various free online dictionaries, try googling it within quotation marks. 9 times out of 10, it'll give you the correct spelling as "did you mean?"

Love the site, by the way.


Heh, I'll bet Lil' George (0.00 / 0)
thinks this poll is good news; he's once again surpassed his father, this time at being awful.


I think the better treatment... (0.00 / 0)
...is to treat it as an unnaturalized French expression: coup de grâce.

On the other hand - do that, and they'll start impugning your choice of cheese on your cheesesteaks!

Seriously, though - love the new digs, expect great things and - wouldn't want to put the mockers on quite yet!


And this is just the beginning. (0.00 / 0)
I think we are going to see records on both ends with Chimpy.

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