How unlikable is Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's U.S. presidential nominee? Former President George W. Bush beat him in a popularity contest, according to new poll results released this week.
Only 43 percent of Bloomberg News poll respondents had favorable views of the former Massachusetts governor, while 46 percent had favorable views of the ex-president.
Bush had a tenuous eight years in office and left the presidency with the U.S. plagued by a very troubled economy. He was also unpopular over the war in Iraq, which the U.S. entered based in part on faulty intelligence that Saddam Hussein was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Current President Barack Obama didn’t fare much better than Romney in the poll, although most respondents -- 52 percent -- viewed the president favorably, while 44 percent of them viewed him unfavorably.
Both presidential candidates had the same proportion of respondents -- 31 percent -- view them in a “very unfavorable” way.
Their running mates were even less popular than Obama and Romney: Vice President Joe Biden was viewed favorably by just 42 percent, while U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was viewed favorably by only 41 percent.
The poll included favorable and unfavorable ratings for nine political personalities, both major political parties, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, which fared the worst among poll respondents.
The Mormon Church was favorably viewed by 33 percent and unfavorably viewed by 27 percent. Forty percent of respondents were unsure how they felt about Romney’s religion.
The most popular figure among those in the poll was former President Bill Clinton, who was viewed favorably by 64 percent of the more than 1,000 adults who participated in the Bloomberg survey. Only 29 percent of respondents had unfavorable views of Clinton -- the same percentage as Ann Romney and Michelle Obama.
The first lady was the second most popular person polled in the survey: She had a 63 percent favorability rating, just one percentage point behind Clinton.
Ann Romney did better in the poll than her husband, with 49 percent saying they like the potential first lady.
Both parties polled at less than 50 percent, with the Democratic Party viewed as favorable by 46 percent and the GOP viewed as favorable by 41 percent.
The least popular political figure was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. Only 29 percent of those polled had favorable views of Bernanke, while 28 percent had unfavorable views of him. The lion’s share of respondents -- 43 percent -- were unsure how they felt about the Fed head.
The Bloomberg poll was conducted Sept. 21-24, when 1,007 adults and 789 likely voters were interviewed. With results released Wednesday, the survey had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.