MSNBC Downplays Poll Showing Obama Worst Modern Prez; Hyped Same Poll When Bush Was Worst

A Quinnipiac University poll published on July 2 found that 33 percent of Americans view President Obama as America’s worst modern president compared to 28 percent who picked George W. Bush.

Following the release of the poll, Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director and host of “The Daily Rundown” dismissed the findings and argued “these great and worst lists, they’re terrible...because they always reflect the moment in time.” In contrast, MSNBC struck a much different tone in 2006 when Quinnipiac found that President Bush was rated America’s worst modern president. [See video below.]  

Appearing on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports Wednesday afternoon, Todd argued that “these great and worst lists, they are terrible whenever you poll them, they’re terrible poll questions because they always reflect the moment in time. The public isn't having, taking this historical -- you know, if you sat there and then said, here are the accomplishments and failures of each of these presidents, Nixon would come out on top, okay?”  

While Todd was certainly willing to downplay the significance of the 2014 poll, on June 2, 2006 NBC’s Norah O’Donnell called a similar Quinnipiac poll that ranked President Bush America’s worst modern president and a “devastatingly stark message to the president.”

Filling in as host on Hardball, O’Donnell proclaimed “a new poll shows that Americans now consider President Bush an even worse president than Nixon, who resigned from office of course in the wake of the Watergate scandal. President Bush has been badly hurt by Iraq and perceptions that he is too detached from the problems there or within his own administration.” 

Later in the program O’Donnell asked MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough “Can he [President Bush] get anything done that he could have done without Iraq hanging over him? Joe, worse than Nixon?” Scarborough did not dismiss the polls findings and instead argued “if you have worse ratings from the American people than Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter, you`ve earned them.” 

See relevant transcripts below. 


MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

July 2, 2014 

12:18 p.m. Eastern 

CHRIS CILLIZZA: A new poll out today finds that President Barack Obama is viewed as the worst president we've had since World War II. These numbers come as Obama is ramping up his rhetorical fight with Republicans in Congress. Joining me now for our “Daily Fix” is Bloomberg News political reporter Gene Cummings and Chuck Todd, who has many titles, including NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director and host of “The Daily Rundown” here on MSNBC.

Okay, the poll is granted a snapshot in time but I do want to run through this. Quinnipiac University from the great state of Connecticut conducted this poll, they asked, who is the worst president since World War II? 33 percent Obama, 28 percent George W. Bush, 13 percent, Richard Nixon and 8 percent Jimmy Carter. Chuck what do you make of this? This is not in a vacuum, the president’s poll numbers more broadly, approval rating have been bad. 

CHUCK TODD: These great and worst lists, they are terrible whenever you poll them, they’re terrible poll questions because they always reflect the moment in time. The public isn't having, taking this historical -- you know, if you sat there and then said, here are the accomplishments and failures of each of these presidents, Nixon would come out on top, okay? At the end of the day--

CILLIZZA: There’s a recency effect essentially. 

TODD: Right there is some of that. So people just think of where it is in the moment in time. And by the way, when you look inside the numbers, it's a bunch of Republicans are saying this about Obama--

GENE CUMMINGS: Oh yeah. It’s so partisan. 

TODD: And a bunch of Democrats saying are that about Bush. 

CILLIZZA: And they did this is ‘06 and guess what George W. Bush was the president. 

CUMMINGS: The scale of partisanship in this thing is 90 percent. 

CILLIZZA: That may be the takeaway, which we know. There’s more partisanship than ever. 

 

MSNBC

Hardball with Chris Matthews

June 2, 2006

Fill-in host NORAH O'DONNELL: But first, a new poll shows that Americans now consider President Bush an even worse president than Nixon, who resigned from office of course in the wake of the Watergate scandal. President Bush has been badly hurt by Iraq and perceptions that he is too detached from the problems there or within his own administration

...

O'DONNELL: Welcome back to "HARDBALL Hotshots" with Joe Scarborough, Margaret Carlson and Craig Crawford. Next up, ouch. A new Quinnipiac poll sends a devastatingly stark message to the president. Thirty-four percent say that he`s the worst president in history. Richard Nixon takes second place, followed by Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Can anything short of a major, unforeseen event save the Bush presidency? Can he get anything done that he could have done without Iraq hanging over him? Joe, worse than Nixon?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, first of all, I've just got to say, if you have worse ratings from the American people than Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter, you`ve earned them.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.