Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Poll: 35% Say Obama Has Handled Foreign Policy Better Than George W. Bush; Americans Who Were 20-Somethings in 2003 More Critical of Bush


Despite promises to improve America's foreign policy handling, only 35 percent of Americans think President Obama has done a better job than his predecessor George W. Bush, according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll. Another 28 percent say Obama has done no better nor worse than President Bush, and 33 percent say he's done an even worse job.

One age group stands out in their evaluation comparing Obama to Bush—and it's not today's college-age kids. Americans who were between the ages of 18-29 in 2003 when President Bush led the country into war in Iraq are the most likely group (48%) to say President Obama has done a better job handling foreign policy than Bush. In contrast, only a third or less of virtually every other age group agree—even today's youngest cohort who hadn't yet turned 18 in 2003.

Research shows that young adults are most politically impressionable in early adulthood, particularly the ages of 18-29. Americans who were in this age group in 2003 and witnessed the national debate and invasion of Iraq in their formative years continue to be much more likely to favor President Obama's approach to foreign affairs compared to his predecessor.

Increased support for Obama's foreign policy is not simply a product of youth. Today's very youngest adult cohort, those who were under 18 in 2003, are no more likely than older age groups to view Obama's foreign policy as an improvement. Instead, those who were 18-29 in 2003 (and now between the ages of 30 and 40) remain an outlier in their preference for Obama over Bush.

These data suggest Americans born between the mid 70s and 80s may carry with them into the future distinctive foreign policy views, uniquely shaped by the rhetoric and actions of President George W. Bush.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1004 adults on cell phones (503) and landlines (501) October 1-6, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.8%. Full poll results can be found here including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls). 

NEXT: Poll: 35% Say Obama Has Handled Foreign Policy Better Than George W. Bush; Americans Who Were 20-Somethings in 2003 More Critical of Bush

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hahaha! Trick questions!

    Cause Obama IS Bush – his third and fourth terms. Only stupider. So everyone’s right on this one.

  2. It’s not a high bar when you think about it. Hell, it isn’t a high bar vs. Clinton’s foreign policy.

  3. I was 29 in 2003 and at the time I was honestly worried that the US was about to become a fascist police state. I also solely blamed the Bush administration for this. It didn’t take long, though, to realize that it was like that all along and what was happening was only another step along that path. I guess 9/11 caused a lot of people to “wake up” and start actually paying attention and that’s why everything seemed to bad and seemed like it was entirely Bush’s and Cheney’s fault. Anyway, I do think Obama has done MUCH better with foreign policy than Bush, but that’s not saying much. I’m not saying that Obama’s policy is good, just better than Bush’s.

    1. I would point to Syria to say, he’s about the same as Bush. Everyone still hates us, it’s just for different reasons.

      As for the police state… once you get past the “us v. them” party affiliations and realize the entire system is geared towards that goal (democrat AND republican)….. it is much clearer and less likely for you to vote for the bastards anymore. 🙂

      At least that is what happened in my case.

      1. Bush actually had a largely coherent foreign policy with specific strategic aims. Granted some of them were terrible, and unachievable, but there was a rationale for everything he did.

        For example the Iraq war made a great deal of sense in that
        a) It ended the threat of an invasion of Saudi Arabia by Iraq,
        b) allowing the removal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia (the causus belli for Al Queda attacking Americans)
        c) and creating an opportunity to place bases in Iraq that would be able to interdict the supply lines between Iran and Syria and disrupt their alliance

        As best I can tell, every hellfire missile, every bombardment that Obama orders is to prevent people saying mean things about him in tomorrow morning’s papers. He flubbed the Arab Spring so badly that neither the stronmen nor the revolutionaries want anything to do with the U.S. For christ’s sake, ISIS is clearly the gulf arabs’ fuck you to the U.S.

        I cannot imagine by what criteria anyone can judge Obama’s foreign policy to be better than Bush. He has multiplied the enemies of the U.S. He has lost allies. He has blundered into near shooting wars with Russia, and had to be saved by his enemies.

        1. You are truly an idiot. Iraq was the only true foreign policy disaster since Vietnam.

          1. You forgot one: Everygoddamnthing Obumbles has done since 2008.


            Seriously, Clark?


            Here’s a few that I can think of off the top of my head, and I was a toddler during the Gulf War.

            – Mogadishu
            – Iran Hostage Crisis (and Carter’s failed rescue)
            – Our handling of the Iran-Iraq war (the fact that we had to shoot our own rabid Iraqi dog)
            – Our handling of the Iranian revolution
            – Our handling of Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation (supplying the Mujahadeen, just to have them turn on us 15 years later)
            – That stupid standoff still going on at the Korean border
            – Bosnia
            – Clinton selling nuclear missiles to China
            – Benghazi (oh yeah, Faaaaake Skandullll)
            – Arab Spring
            – Completely ignoring the sub-saharan genocides while jumping any opportunity to fight in the middle east and eastern europe.
            – War on drugs

            These are only the big ones… there are more if we move down to faux pas like puking on the Japanese Prime Minister.

            Need I continue?

          3. reading comprehension fail. He didn’t offer a judgment on Iraq, just said that Bush had a rationale for it. Someone can have a plan that turns out badly; Obama, meanwhile, has the ad hoc approach which is practically guaranteed to fuck up.

        2. I would say his aims may have been more coherent, but his policy implementations were off the mark. His administration really underestimated the troop strength necessary to hold Iraq, and the same held true for Afghanistan, to a lesser degree early on. It was fixed, but not after we nearly botched it up very badly.

          Obama’s a drone freak anyway. Anyone who kills American citizens without due process is a cocksucking pig no matter how you slice it.

        3. “I cannot imagine by what criteria anyone can judge Obama’s foreign policy to be better than Bush.”

          Are you kidding?

          Bush turned off most major allies and entered us into a debacle in Iraq which Obama’s missteps combined cannot match in lost treasure, blood and diplomatic capital.

          1. Bush’s coalition is bigger than that of Mr. Nobel Peace Prize.

            And Obama’s reset button worked wonders.

            Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between their foreign policies.

            1. Obama’s coalition in the airstrikes?

              You really find that comparable to Iraq War II?

          2. And Obama has done a good job with major allies? Really?

            After the Peace Prize bullshit even the socialists in Europe got snubbed by the Enlightened One.

            1. I don’t see anything like the animosity that existed between usually major allies like France and the US during Bush’s Iraq debacle.

              1. The major ally that withdrew from NATO because they were jealous of the UK, and refused to let us fly over their country to put the hurt on Qadafi (back when he deserved it)? The American perception of the French as cowardly assholes is an exaggeration but it’s rooted in real events.

          3. Bush turned off most major allies and entered us into a debacle in Iraq which Obama’s missteps combined cannot match in lost treasure, blood and diplomatic capital.

            …which Obama continued for most of his first term, and wanted to continue longer but the Iraqis refused to renew the SOFA. We’ve lost a LOT more diplomatic capital under Obama, btw.

      2. Syria = Iraq – EXACTLY THE SAME!

        Except for the $2 trillion pissed away and 4500 dead US troops and taking out the only secular type force.

        Other than that the same!

        1. I was talking about the spanking he received publicly from Putin. And now that we’re “bombing ISIS”… we’ll see how long it takes before Iraq 2.0 becomes Obama’s albatross.

          He’s a clown, and you fall for it.

          1. The ‘spanking he received publicly from Putin?’ Not like the brave line in the sand Bush drew regarding Georgia I guess?

            No US President was going to do more about a conflict on Russia’s border. Nor should they to be honest.

            1. That’s the point, Bush didn’t draw a line in Georgia, or threaten “costs”, etc. He knew not to write a check with his mouth that is ass couldn’t cash.

              That’s like, rule #1 of dealing with dangerous people: never jeopardize your credibility. Bush was credible from beginning to end.

            2. Bush never “drew a red line” about Georgia.

        2. The war that Obama ended in summer 2009? Or the one that Obama sorta kinda “ended” after he was told to go home by the Iraqis.

          He told us Hope and Change, not more of the same warmongering.

          Also hopin that those arms Obama sold to the Syrians don’t kill Americans.

  4. As of… I’ll say, two years ago, various people trotted out on NPR insisted that he had “improved our image in Europe” and seemed to indicate that’s all that mattered.

    1. Polls show that he has significantly improved our image overseas.

      But not in Dumbfuck, Alabama.

      1. Polls show that people like cake

        can you provide a single reference (2012 or newer) that shows Obama’s relative appeal vis a vis ‘america’ overall? because you have a habit of talking with your colon.

        1. The problem for Obama is that it’s a lose lose situation.

          He’s fundamentally no different, and much worse (on many issues) than Bush, but might have improved our image over seas. Which leaves the question, “Why?”

          The answer is “perception”. Europeans saw Bush as somehow more intrinsically “American” than Obama, and all one needed was to strip away the aw-shucks accent, and his poll numbers would soar with Europeans.

          If he hasn’t improved our image over seas, then that actually means that people now see through Obama’s facade

          1. See my link below. America’s image overseas has plummeted since 2009. Apologizing to people who hate you and alienating people who were your allies tends to do that. The jugeared fuckwit is as deluded as his mentally unbalanced supporters.

          2. Euros saw Bush as more “American”? You are full of shit.

            They saw Bush as a shoot-first ask questions later imbecile Cowboy.

            1. They saw Bush as a shoot-first ask questions later imbecile Cowboy.

              Exactly. Obama just looks more like 007 when he shoots first.

              1. When I have foreign guests, they always want to go to the shooting range. That’s what defines us to the outside world. It’s like going to the “coffee shops” in Amsterdam.

                1. which was weird, because no one was drinking coffee?

      2. So when polls disagree with your delusions, they’re wrong and not factual, but if they support your psychosis…. it’s a fact?


      3. As usual, you lie. Goddamn shreek, you are one vile, mendacious piece of shit.…..ack-obama/

        1. Read the fucking link, you idiot. It supports the view that Obama is far more respected than Bush even if that respect has slid since 2009.

          1. This is what you said – “Polls show that he has significantly improved our image overseas.”

            How does one look at consistently dropping numbers across the board, some dropping by nearly half, and conclude that that is a significant improvement?

            Down is up?

            Jebuz shreek, are you stoned again?

            1. Moron. Obama numbers are far higher than the Bush numbers. By 50 points in some countries.

              1. Kenya and Indonesia FTW!!

        2. Just looking at those numbers you can see just how skewed they are towards perception. Look how favorably Obama was viewed when no one knew anything about him.

          Then look at which countries have hardly changed their opinion, even after drone-murdering god knows how many wedding parties and starting multiple “kinetic military” actions.

    2. Re: NPR via Paul’s link. It took me ten seconds to google polls showing that every country in europe, and the rest of the world as well, hate us more than ever. The only bright spot is Israel. We improved 5 pts there.…..ack-obama/

      1. That only covers since Obama became president. If you scroll down, Obama’s numbers are still considerably better than Bush’s were in 2007. Not that I have confidence in Obama or that there isn’t a clear trend of declining confidence in Obama by the rest of the world.

        1. Bush was a known commodity in 2007 and didn’t have any time to redeem himself. Compare Obama’s numbers to Bush’s at the same time in his term and then it ain’t so clear.

      2. Heh, the only countries where he’s declined more than he has in the US are Spain, China, and Indonesia. I assume China is because the PRC has been cranking the anti-US propaganda up to 11 the past couple of years, Indonesia because he had lived there and people thought he loved Muslims, and Spain… not sure, maybe because they’re worried about what’s going on in North Africa.

  5. I haven’t liked how U.S. foreign policy has been handled in a long time, if really ever, but as between Bush and Obama, at least countries feared the U.S. under Bush. Now it’s more, I dunno, pity?

    1. I go with “contempt”, but my personal feelings may be coloring that reply.

    2. They feared Bush like they feared an unstable man with a bomb.

  6. You can get 35% of people to say they love fried cat turds. Speaking of turds, this poll is only measuring which people think is the less stinky one. And speaking further of turds, I see a lying one is posting in this thread.


  8. Poll: 35% Say Obama Has Handled Foreign Policy Better Than George W. Bush

    35% of Americans are really, really stupid.

  9. I am tired of Reason polls, but not surprised since reviewing AP Government with my son this AM – apparently, and this is according to official test-prep handbooks:

    Democrats are in-favor of improving social welfare, reducing taxes of low and middle class (juxtapose with Republicans who favor reducing taxes for everyone, including corporations and wealthy), liberals believe government should remedy the social and economic injustices of the marketplace (Repubs believe individuals should be responsible for themselves); Dems are against private ownership of ASSAULT weapons…

    With this level of indoctrination, any question as to poll results?

  10. I’ll betcha neither G. Bush OR Obama has ever tongue-flitted a sweet clit until the fem-bod climaxed.

    Never. Ever. Too fuckin’ Harvard and Dumb.

    1. In Obama’s defense, doing so would either be risking a career-destroying adultery scandal, or….engaging in something far more unspeakable.

  11. The ones who think Obama is worse are clearly racist, but what about the ones who think Obama is as bad as Bush? Are they racist? I’m going with yes, but It’s not as clear cut for me.

    1. Shouldn’t you be doing some cocaine?

  12. Bush was often wrong but competent.

    Obama is usually wrong and completely incompetent.

    There’s your difference. Both have squander vast sums of wealth and American lives to no real benefit.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.