Quick - Who's your favorite President? A new Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press poll released this morning asks Jerseyans that question. If you think George Washington or Abraham Lincoln would top most people's lists, you'll be surprised to find that neither of them cracks the top three.

Bill Clinton
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In order, they are Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.

"The top spot is President Clinton at 21% followed by Reagan at 16% and Obama at 14%," says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "Close behind is Abraham Lincoln at 12% and then John F. Kennedy rounds out the top five at 9%"

Preference for Clinton has held steady compared to a poll taken three years ago when 22% of New Jerseyans named him as their favorite president. Reagan has slipped from the top spot (24%) in 2010 to number two this year. Obama increased his share of the Garden State "vote" for best president from 7% three years ago to 14% today. Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington each garner only 4% of the vote. The Presidents Day holiday was first established by Congress in 1879 as "Washington's Birthday," which is still its official name.

Murray says, "Three years ago, Ronald Reagan garnered the most support of any president in our poll, but he seems to have lost some of that support to the nation's first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln."

For New Jerseyans age 18 to 34, Clinton is tops (32%), followed by Obama (17%) and Lincoln (16%). Among those age 35 to 54, Reagan (22%) and Clinton (22%) are tied for favorite president, followed by Obama (14%) and Lincoln (11%). Among Garden Staters age 55 and older, Reagan (19%) edges out Kennedy (15%), Obama (12%) and Lincoln (11%) as favorite president.

"Only about one-in-ten (11%) New Jerseyans harbored thoughts that maybe one day they'd like to be President when they grew up," explains Murray. "However, 46% want to see their son grow up to be President and 47% say they want their daughter grow up to be President."

Men are more likely to encourage Presidential ambitions in either a son (53%) or daughter (54%) than are women - just 39% would like to see either a son or daughter become president.

Murray says, "Perhaps the gender disparity in these results is not because women think they are not up to the job of president, but because they wouldn't wish the job on anyone - male or female."

The poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 6 to 10, 2013. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.

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