Only 18 percent of the public has a favorable view of Cheney
Just how low is 18 percent?
By Richard Morin
© 2006, The Washington Post
These must be sobering days for Vice President Dick Cheney as he reflects on recent events from his secret Fortress of Solitude.
Iraq teeters on the brink of civil war. The Bush
agenda is in tatters. And one of his friends is recovering from an
accidental gunshot wound inflicted by Cheney on a hunting trip.
The latest CBS News poll found that only 18
percent of the public has a favorable view of Cheney. How bad is a
rating of 18 percent? According to a quick review of polling archives,
it arguably makes Cheney:
- Less popular than singer Michael Jackson,
bedmate of little boys and world-class screwball. One in four Americans
- 25 percent - told Gallup polltakers last June they were still Jackson
fans after the onetime King of Pop was found not guilty of child
- Less popular than former football star O.J.
Simpson was after his arrest and trial for murdering his estranged wife
and her companion. Three in 10 - 29 percent - of all Americans had a
favorable view of Simpson in an October 1995 Gallup poll.
- Less popular with Americans than Joseph
Stalin is with Russians. In 2003, fully 20 percent said Stalin, blamed
for millions of deaths in the former Soviet Union during the 1930s and
1940s, was a "wise and humane" leader. Thirty-one percent also said
they wouldn't object if Uncle Joe came back to rule again, according to
surveys conducted by Russian pollsters.
- Much less popular than former Vice
President Spiro Agnew in his final days in office. Forty-five percent
approved of the job that Agnew was doing as President Richard Nixon's
veep in a Gallup Poll conducted in August 1973, little more than a
month before Agnew resigned and pleaded no contest to a criminal tax
evasion charge arising from a bribery investigation.
- Far less popular than former New Jersey Gov.
James McGreevey days after he announced in August 2004 that he had
engaged in an extramarital affair with a man and would resign. His job
approval rating bumped from 43 to 45 percent.
But take heart, Dick. About 35 percent of those
interviewed by the CBS poll didn't offer an opinion of you. Perhaps
some of your supporters were shy. And other polls released later in the
week pegged your popularity considerably higher.
Besides, even at 18 percent you're not the
least popular public figure in America. You're slightly better liked
than that fabulously blond and brainless party girl Paris Hilton. She
was viewed favorably last June by 15 percent of the public, according
Morin is The Washington Post's polling editor