In honor of President’s Day, Gallup conducted a poll to find out who Americans consider to be our nation’s “Greatest President.” Posted below are the results. I have to say, I’m particularly fond of “none” and “no opinion”, but I suppose those choices were decidedly more prudent than number 13 down there. Come on 1% of Americans. Jimmy Carter? Really?
Topping the list was none other than the Gipper himself, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
AMERICA’S GREATEST PRESIDENTS
- Ronald Reagan (19%)
- Abraham Lincoln (14%)
- Bill Clinton (13%)
- John F. Kennedy (11%)
- George Washington (10%)
- Franklin Roosevelt (8%)
- Barack Obama (5%)
- No opinion (5%)
- Theodore Roosevelt (3%)
- Harry Truman (3%)
- George W. Bush (2%)
- Thomas Jefferson (2%)
- Jimmy Carter (1%)
- Dwight Eisenhower (1%)
- George H. W. Bush (1%)
- None (1%)
- Andrew Jackson (less than .5%)
- Lyndon Johnson (less than .5%)
- Richard Nixon (less than .5%)
You can see the full list and details of the poll here….
Here’s a breakdown by political party…
George W. Bush folks? 5% of you? That’s almost as laughable as the 22% of Democrats who put William Jefferson Clinton four spots ahead of Lincoln.
I guess its only natural for more recent presidents to find their way on to any such list, but I do think the Dem results are rather telling. First of all. Lincoln in 5th place? For the party that loves to pride itself as the champion of Civil Rights and equality, I would have thought the President that set those wheels to turning would be held in higher regard. And continuing that thought, no Lyndon Johnson? They seem to remember JFK, but I guess their memories of the man that actually implemented JFK’s “great ideas” are a little foggy.
The other thing that immediately jumped out at me when viewing the Dem results was the relative lack of love they seem to have for big government progressives. Combining Barack Obama and FDR, they still fall a point behind Bill Clinton – who was by all accounts a relative moderate (speaking in Dem terms of course); and just ahead of John F. Kennedy who would by today’s standards likely be a Republican (albeit the Scott Brown “moderate” type).
And where’s Woodrow Wilson? I thought the Left was longing for a borderless “flat” world order? It seems kind of odd that they wouldn’t pay homage to the man that attempted to make such a “dream” a reality.
Could it be? Could the vast big government, Eurocentric, nannystate movement to the Left really be nothing more than a fiction conjured up by a tiny faction of individuals hoping to impose their will upon the greater whole? Could the Left really be leaning to the Center?
Perhaps, but this is just a poll; so lets not get too excited. Had these results shown just the contrary we’d probably be talking about how such a poll is absolutely without merit; biased; poorly conducted; and vague. The truth is that polls like this tend to change with times. If you take a look at the complete results, you will see that “America’s Greatest President” has flip-flopped more than a few times just in the last decade. Frustrations with the current administration tend to reflect poorly on past presidents that shared the same party banner, and time placed between a president and his presidency certainly have an impact on how said president is viewed. Its just the natural course of things.
That said, President Reagan is a solid lock in the top three regardless of the aforementioned circumstances. His “greatness” has withstood the test of time, and I do believe it will only grow as each generation longs for another Ronald Wilson Reagan. The Abraham Lincolns and George Washingtons of the world were men that did extraordinary things in extraordinary times. Accordingly, they will always be viewed in a different context. That context makes it all the more amazing that President Reagan sits among them having been a President not in a time of revolution or civil war, but in times of relative normalcy.
Like I said, it is just a poll; but I’m not going to lie. I like the results.