According to its website, the Public Policy Polling firm got its start in 2001, so it's only been polling for nine years. Given the low numbers for politicians generally, though, it still seems like a pretty remarkable achievement to be named the "most unpopular person we've polled anywhere at any time," as one of the survey's authors described former presidential candidate John Edwards.
The poll found that Edwards was viewed positively by only 15 percent of voters in North Carolina, his home state. I guess it depends how you look at it, though. Given that, as the Huffington Post put it, Edwards "cheated on his cancer-stricken wife while possibly fathering a child out of wedlock, all while running for the presidency of the United States," maybe what's most remarkable is that 15 percent of voters still view the guy positively.
Predictably, the numbers varied according to party, with 25 percent of Democrats still somehow having a positive view of Edwards, a number that dropped to nine percent of independents and three percent of Republicans. It seems unlikely to me that even three percent of Republicans still think John Edwards is a super guy. Probably they thought the pollsters were asking about Jonathan Edwards, the preacher known for the light-hearted romp "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God":
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.
And that was back before you could even get a four-hundred-dollar haircut.
The pollster, Tom Jensen, said that the previous unpopularity-record holder was Sen. Roland Burris, also a Democrat, although Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) was "in that territory as well." Jensen said that Republican creeps like John Ensign (R-Nev.) have tended to fare somewhat better than Democratic ones. "What we find," he said, "is that Republicans will forgive you for cheating on your wife as long as you are a Republican." But "Democrats are not forgiving Edwards."