The Washington Post

Do you think Obama is better than George W. Bush? Depends on your party and age.

George W. Bush and Laura Bush listen while President Obama speaks during a dedication ceremony at the George W. Bush Library and Museum on the grounds of Southern Methodist University on April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Five and a half years after Barack Obama succeeded George W. Bush in the White House, is he seen as a better or worse president? Voters are split down the middle on the question, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows.

Forty percent say Obama is worse; 39 percent say he is better. Twenty percent say the two are about the same.

Party affiliation -- surprise! -- has a lot to do with it. Almost eight of of 10 (78 percent) Democrats say Obama has done a better job, while a nearly identical percentage of Republicans (79 percent) say he is worse.

Age is also a big factor. Nearly half (48 percent) of voters age 50-64 or 65 and older (49 percent) say Obama is worse. Younger people see things differently: 45 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds say Obama is better.

Forty-one percent of independents say Obama is worse; 31 percent say he is better. Women narrowly say (+4) Obama is better, while men say he is worse by a slightly larger margin (+7).

It probably doesn't help Obama that his approval rating is a paltry 40 percent right now. People react to what's current -- and currently, Obama is viewed poorly by much of the public. Bush has been largely out of the public eye since leaving office, allowing time for opinions of him to be less intense.

On the question of who is better on the economy, Obama has a slight edge -- 37 percent to 34 percent.

The poll also shows that 45 percent say the country would be better off under Mitt Romney, compared to 38 percent who say it would be worse off.

But as The Fix's Philip Bump points out, longing for the losing candidate is nothing new, since 18 months into Obama's first term, the pollsters asked if the country would have been better off under John McCain than Obama. A plurality said it would be.

The poll was conducted from June 24-30.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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