John F. Kennedy remains the most popular modern U.S. president, according to a new Gallup poll of the nine most recent presidents, while Jimmy Carter’s approval rating has dropped 9 percentage points since 2006.
Since Gallup began its retrospective job approval poll in 1990, Kennedy has consistently topped the list of most popular presidents, while Richard Nixon has received the lowest approval rating in every poll except the one conducted in 1993. Lyndon Johnson, who now has a 47 percent rating, was ranked last that year.
Kennedy got a thumbs up from 85 percent of respondents.
Carter has a 52 percent rating this year, down from 61 when the last poll was conducted in 2006. That puts him sixth on the list (above Johnson, George W. Bush and Nixon). Carter’s approval reached its peak in 1999, according to Gallup, but has consistently dropped since then due to a loss in support from Republicans and independents in recent years.
“These changes may reflect Carter’s outspoken criticism of then-President George W. Bush over the Iraq war, at one time calling Bush’s presidency ‘the worst in history’ on international matters,” Gallup said in a press release. “Whatever the reason for the decline, Carter remains better regarded today, overall, than he was in the early ’90s.”
New to the list this year: George W. Bush who ranks eighth with 47 percent approval – up 13 points from when he left office in 2009. (It’s also one percent higher than President Barack Obama’s current rating, as POLITICO points out.)
After staying out of the spotlight, Bush has hit the road in recent weeks to promote his new book, “Decision Points,” which was released Nov. 9 – one possible explanation for the bonhomie respondents of the latest Gallup poll seem to be sending his way.
Gallup also noted that Johnson, Nixon and Clinton have maintained job approval ratings that approximate how they were viewed at the end of their terms.
The poll was conducted between Nov. 19-21 on a sample of 1,037 adults using landline telephones and cellular phones.
You can find the complete results of the poll here.