President Donald Trump beat out his predecessor for the ignominious title of worst president since World War II, a new poll found.
Four out of 10 American voters, or 41 percent, ranked Trump as the worst president since 1945, according to a Quinnipiac University poll published on Wednesday. Trump received nearly twice as many votes as the runner-up, former President Barack Obama, whom 21 percent of respondents considered the worst. Richard Nixon came in third, with 10 percent.
Despite Obama's prominent ranking in that category, more respondents (24 percent) considered him the best of the past 13 presidents. That was good for second place, behind Ronald Reagan, who garnered 28 percent. Both Bill Clinton and John Kennedy tied for third place, with 10 percent each.
Though voters appeared sharply divided on where to rank Obama's job performance, respondents were decidedly less conflicted over Trump, who came in fifth in the best president field, with just 7 percent.
"I think it's significant that Trump does this badly," Quinnipiac University poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy told Newsweek. Malloy said no president in the past 73 years has led the country with less public admiration.
Dwight Eisenhower followed Trump for worst president, with 4 percent, then Jimmy Carter with 3 percent, Lyndon Johnson with 2, and Richard Nixon, George H. W.. Bush and George W. Bush all getting 1 percent each, the poll found.
Malloy said one explanation for both Obama and Trump's poor ratings is simply familiarity. "It could be familiarity breeding contempt," he said. "With time, all things are forgiven."
That's why the most recent presidents typically poll worse than older ones, with Nixon being the possible exception, Malloy noted.
"It's not so long since Obama was at that big desk in the oval office, and if you didn't like him then, you still don't like him," he said. "Whereas, if it was 50 years ago, you're less likely to have negativity for someone who you're less familiarity."
Malloy said Trump's continual lambasting of Obama and his administration's policies may not be doing the 44th president any favors either.
"A mantra of the current president is that Obama hurt the country. He's always pounding on Obama," Malloy said.
Overall, 56 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump's performance, compared with 38 percent who approved, according to the poll. Voters were split on how he's managed the economy, with 49 percent disapproving and 46 percent approving. Sixty-one percent disapproved of Trump on foreign policy while 33 percent approved.
The poll was conducted March 3 through 5, days after Trump announced he would impose steep tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. The announcement sent the stock market tumbling and caught lawmakers in his own party off balance.
Pollsters interviewed 1,122 voters nationwide for the survey. It has a 3.5 percent margin of error.
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