John Edwards's Poll Numbers Tank. But, Rest Easy, He's No Bin Laden

Here’s a record John Edwards probably won’t brag about: a new Gallup poll finds the two-time Democratic presidential hopeful, who has been caught up in personal drama over an affair with a former campaign worker, has suffered the single biggest slide in public opinion ever recorded for a prominent public figure in consecutive polling. According to Gallup, more people than ever—59 percent—view Edwards negatively, while just 21 percent view him “favorably.” That’s a 27 percent decrease in approval since January 2008, the last time Gallup gauged Edward’s popularity with the public. By Gallup’s measure, that’s the biggest decline it’s recorded since 1992, when they first began polling people on the “favorable” or “unfavorable” question.

By comparison, Edwards’s fall from grace narrowly outpaced home-run king Sammy Sosa, who saw his favorable number slip 24 points in 2003 amid allegations he may have cheated to get into the record books. Even Tom Cruise didn’t fare as badly. The actor’s approval rating went from 58 percent to 35 percent after his much-publicized rant on the Today show about Brooke Shields’s use of meds to combat postpartum depression. Unfortunately for Edwards, it’s probably not too likely Oprah will allow him to dance around on her couch in an attempt to rebuild his reputation—not after his most recent appearance on her show.

But rest assured, senator, there’s always a bright side. In perhaps the most unintentionally funny analysis ever, Gallup notes Edwards isn’t quite the most “reviled” person in America—not yet anyway. Osama bin Laden’s unfavorable rating is way worse: 97 percent. So is Fidel Castro’s, who once measured in at 83 percent. Even Saddam Hussein was more reviled back in the day, when his unfavorable rating once registered at 96 percent, according to Gallup. Obviously, that must make Edwards feel a better. He’s no terrorist mastermind or communist dictator. All he did was cheat on his wife and lie about it—oh, and maybe break a few campaign laws, but that’s still being determined by a grand jury. But is the big news here that 21 percent still view Edwards favorably? You know what that means: there's still a chance for a comeback.

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