Topping Nixon, Bush disapproval soars to highest level ever recorded in Gallup poll
For the first time, George W. Bush has surpassed Richard M. Nixon in unpopularity in the Gallup Poll, receiving the highest "strongly disapprove" rating for a president in Gallup's history.
The little noticed statistic -- publicly noted on Gallup's poll writeup -- made a single headline in Google News. The story, at Editor and Publisher, was titled "GALLUP: Bush Finally Tops Nixon -- In Unpopularity -- As Call for Iraq Pullout Hits New Peak."
Gallup details Bush's falling numbers in a series of graphs that appear below. They note that Bush's "strongly disapprove" rating is the highest Gallup has ever measured for a US president, though the category is not polled in every survey.
"Gallup has followed its classic job approval measure with this “strongly” probe on only an intermittent basis over the years, so it is important to note that the historical context is fairly limited," the pollsters note. "Additionally, other variations in polling over the years make comparisons of this measure inexact. Still, it is worth noting that the current 50% “strongly disapprove” figure for Bush is as high as Gallup has ever measured. (A February 1974 poll showed Richard Nixon’s strongly disapprove number at 48%, statistically equivalent to Bush’s current reading on this measure.)"
On Feb. 6, 1974, the House voted to authorize the Judiciary Committee to investigate grounds for impeaching President Nixon; in March of that year, seven of Nixon's former staff were indicted for Watergate-related crimes.
Nixon resigned the presidency August 9, 1974.
Gallup's survey was conducted last Friday through Sunday and involved 1,024 Americans.