According to a Quinnipiac poll released today, President Obama finds himself rated as the worst president of the last 69 years. The findings are a bit surprising, considering that span includes such luminaries as Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. George W. Bush was rated as the second worst.
The poll asked respondents to rate all of the presidents since World War II with regards to whether they thought negatively or positively of the 12 on a number of key issues. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ever popular Ronald Reagan scored the highest overall, with 35 percent of the vote.
That span includes Bill Clinton as well, who received the second highest overall score at 18 percent, despite being impeached for perjury while in office. Not even Lyndon B. Johnson, mostly remembered for the Vietnam War and the Affordable Care Act’s granddaddies, Medicare and Medicaid, was rated worse.
Looking at the data, however, it seems people voted based on their party ideology, and the mythology surrounding heroes of the past. JFK came in third, having practically attained godhood amongst the left, but only 6 percent of Republican-identifying respondents voted for him. And, despite receiving the most overall votes, Reagan, likewise deified by the right, received a whopping 66 percent of Republican votes, but only 6 percent of Democrats.
While looking at the date more closely, it seems Democrats simply split their votes between JFK and Clinton, leaving Carter, Truman, LBJ and Obama out, while GOP respondents had only Tricky Dick, the two Bushes, Ford, Eisenhower and Reagan to choose from. Not a very difficult choice.
There was also a break between age groups, with older respondents voting more for Truman and less for Clinton, likely because the younger respondents don’t remember Truman. Younger respondents also gave the fewest votes to Reagan of any other group, though the youth vote generally skews left these days. The exception would be JFK, who garnered more support from those 18-29 than any other group.
In other words, the poll only reflects that people will pick someone from their party, and the GOP has had fewer good presidents to choose from. Or maybe it’s that the Democrats had only bad presidents to choose from. Or maybe that old people really like Truman and young people buy into the Camelot mythology. Whatever the truth, it seems nobody likes our last two presidents, both having presided over very unpopular wars and massive expansion of federal governmental power.