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Fox News Poll: More voters like Bush than Obama (& even more like Clinton)

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May 31, 2013: Former U.S. President George W. Bush (L) walks next to U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) while former first lady Laura Bush (2nd R) walks next to first lady Michelle Obama before the unveiling of the Bushs' official White House portraits in the East Room of the White House in WashingtonReuters

More voters have a positive opinion of former President George W. Bush than President Barack Obama, according to the latest Fox News Poll.  But former President Bill Clinton is liked best of the three.

The poll finds 50 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Bush, while 47 percent have an unfavorable view.  

By contrast, Obama has a net negative rating:  46 percent have a favorable opinion of him, while 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Views of Clinton are far more positive:  70 percent favorable vs. 26 percent unfavorable.  That gives him a huge net positive rating (+ 44 points).  

The two former presidents and President Obama attended the memorial service for South African leader Nelson Mandela on December 11, and Bush joined Obama on Air Force One for the flight to Johannesburg.  

Obama’s favorable rating has been more positive than negative for almost his entire presidency.  However, in the last few months, during the botched health care roll-out, opinion of Obama has reversed.

At the end of Bush’s second term he had a 34 percent favorable rating (December 2008), but that’s been increasing the last few years during his retirement.

There’s a large partisan gap in views of Obama and Bush; for example, there’s an 80-point difference in Obama’s favorable rating among Democrats and Republicans.  And there’s a 60-point gap in Bush’s positive rating from the two parties.  

Eighty-five percent of Democrats have a positive view of Obama, while just five percent of Republicans feel that way.

Likewise, 85 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Bush, while just 25 percent of Democrats agree.  

Fully 93 percent of Republicans rate Obama negatively.  In contrast, Bush’s unfavorable drops to 74 percent among Democrats.

Presidential Job Performance Comparisons

President Obama ends his fifth year in office under water on his job rating by 12 percentage points: 41 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing, while 53 percent disapprove.  

President Bush ended his fifth year in office in negative territory too, by nine points:  42 percent approved of his job performance and 51 percent disapproved in the Fox News poll conducted mid-December 2005.  

Obama’s average approval rating for 2013 is 44 percent, just slightly below the 2005 average approval of 46 percent for Bush.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,027 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from December 14-16, 2013.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.