Pew Releases "Final Verdict" on Bush

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 8:35 PM EST

As Bush's reign of error winds down, his supporters are working hard to sugarcoat his legacy, first with the Bush legacy project, and then the "Speech Topper on the Bush Record." But as Karl Rove and Bill Kristol recently discovered when arguing against the motion "Bush 43 is the worst president of the last 50 years," it's an uphill battle.

Pew's "final verdict" shows that Americans aren't falling for these last-ditch efforts. That is to say, only 24 percent of Americans currently approve of the administration, down from a high of 86 percent following 9/11.

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Here are a few highlights, including how George W. compares to Clinton, Bush Sr., and Reagan:

  • Nearly three-quarters of 18-29 year olds disapprove of President Bush, the most of any age group.
  • More than one-third of respondents believe that Bush will go down in history as a poor president, as compared to Clinton (11 percent), Bush Sr. (4 percent), and Reagan (5 percent). (The options were outstanding, above average, average, below average, poor, and don't know.)
  • Approval of state and local government has declined 3 and 4 percent respectively since 2002. The federal government's favorability rating has fallen 36 percent.
  • 83 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Independents, and 33 percent of Republicans believe the Bush administration will be best known for its failures. In 2001, only 13 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Independents, and 43 percent of Republicans said the same about Clinton.
  • Blacks disapprove of Bush more than whites by a fairly wide margin, 83 to 64 percent. And women disapprove more than men, 70 to 65 percent.
  • Interestingly, college graduates are slightly more approving of Bush than Americans with no college education.