Bush Defeats Truman

Three other postwar presidents have gone lower than Bush's career-low 32 percent — Truman at 22 percent; Richard Nixon, 24 percent; and Jimmy Carter, 28 percent. Similarly, just two presidents have seen lower full-year averages than Bush's in 2007 — Nixon and Truman.

HIGHS and AVERAGES — There's some irony in the fact that Bush, now record holder for the longest period below majority approval, also holds the highest approval rating — 92 percent in an ABC/Post poll a month after the 9/11 attacks, unsurpassed in polling by ABC News since 1981 and by Gallup before it since December 1943.

The next highest rating was Bush's father's, at 90 percent during the 1991 Persian Gulf War; third was Truman — irony again — at 87 percent in June 1945, a month after VE Day.

Boosted by his pre-2004 ratings, Bush's average approval rating across his career is 51 percent. But he's still in the lower tier of postwar presidents. In the top rank are John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush, with average ratings of 71, 65 and 63 percent, respectively. In the middle, Reagan, Clinton and Lyndon Johnson, at 57, 57 and 56 percent. And in the lower tier, Bush (so far), Nixon, Gerald Ford, Truman and Carter, with career averages ranging from 46 to 51 percent.

METHODOLOGY — This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone April 10-13, 2008, among a random national sample of 1,197 adults, including an oversample of African-Americans for a total of 213 and an oversample of Catholics for a total of 292 (both weighted to their correct share of the national population). The results have a 3-point error margin for the full sample. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

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