Greatest president of your lifetime? More Americans say Obama
When asked to name the greatest president of their lifetimes, more Americans named Barack Obama than any other president in a recent Pew Research Center poll.
Thirty-one percent named Obama the best, while another 13 percent named him second best.
President Donald Trump also received a significant showing in the poll, with 10 percent naming him best and another 9 percent naming him second best, but Bill Clinton and Ronald were more common responses. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon and Ford all tied for the lowest occurrence, at 1 percent apiece.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told New Jersey 101.5 the results are “somewhat impacted by both partisanship and recency. Few presidents since World War II have had a historic impact in the context of the times when they were elected.”
Seventy-one percent of Democrats named Obama as a first or second choice, while Republicans strongly favored Reagan, with a 57 percent total.
Age also appeared to be an influential factor. Reagan was the most popular choice among the Silent Generation (ages 73-90), Baby Boomers (ages 54-72) and Generation X (ages 38 to 53), but Obama was heavily favored among Millennials.
Murray said the goal of the survey was to “take the pulse of the nation on key policy and quality of life issues,” not to reach a scientific or historical consensus on who the greatest presidents in recent history are.
“This is a poll of how Americans view the presidents they’ve known at a gut level – it was never designed to be an academic assessment of historical contribution. That’s why opinion of some less historically impactful presidents ebb and flow,” he said.
Murray said it is not surprising that Kennedy is one of the top picks among older Americans, or that that Obama is by far the top pick among Millennials.
Pew conducted a similar poll in 2011, with comparable results. Obama, still in office at the time, received 20 percent total, just one percentage point higher than Trump's current total of 19 percent. Obama's popularity has risen since then, while Kennedy, Reagan and especially Clinton have lost points.
More from New Jersey 101.5: