Majority Rates Obama ‘Same’ as or ‘Worse’ Than George W. Bush

President Obama speaking during a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron Sept. 21, 2011, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Former President George W. Bush speaks at the Summit to Save Lives Sept. 13, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

A majority of Americans rates President Obama “about the same” or “worse” than his predecessor, George W. Bush, according to a new Gallup poll.

When a random sample of 1004 adults  were asked to compare the 43 rd and 44 th presidents, 34 percent of respondents said Obama had been a worse president than Bush, while 22 percent said he was about the same.

Forty-three percent, a plurality, said they preferred Obama’s handling of the presidency.

The poll, conducted Sept. 15-18, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It did not specify criteria for making the comparison between presidents.

Predictably, Democrats were most supportive of Obama, while Republicans favored Bush in the poll. The response from independent voters might be most telling for Obama:  a troublesome 67 percent said they considered him about the same or worse than Bush.

The findings underscore the challenges Obama faces in his bid for a second term, with many voters dissatisfied with the direction of the country and their own economic situations.

Earlier this week, a separate Gallup poll found for the first time that a slight majority of Americans – 53 percent – now blame Obama for the nation’s economic mess. Previously, most Americans spared Obama from blame, seeing Bush as bearing most responsibility for the fiscal crisis and recession.