Americans view each of the four former living presidents more positively than negatively, while giving Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush higher favorable ratings than George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Current President Barack Obama has a net-negative favorable rating.
The younger Bush’s current favorable rating is likely lower than other former presidents’ ratings because his term, marked by job approval ratings well below 40% during his final two years in office, is the freshest in Americans’ minds.
Though Carter left office with similarly poor job approval ratings, his lower favorable ratings today are mostly attributable to one in six Americans not having an opinion of him. That includes 36% of those younger than 30, all of whom were born after Carter left office in 1981. The only other time Gallup measured opinions of Carter with this question format, in 2007, 69% rated him favorably, 27% unfavorably, and 4% had no opinion.
If the media was even remotely balanced we surmise Clinton’s ratings would be much lower considering the foreign policy mess Bush 44 inherited, namely Clinton’s refusal to go after Osama bin Laden. But the media has done yeoman’s work to help cover up that indelicate fact. Still, it says plenty that despite the ongoing media love affair with Obama most Americans consider him a joke.