Poll: Americans name Obama among the best president in their lifetime


More Americans say Barack Obama was among the best presidents they have seen in their lifetimes than say the same about other U.S. commanders in chief.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 44 percent of Americans think Obama was the best or the second-best president of their lifetimes. The warm regard for the 44th president stands in stark contrast to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey that found only 20 percent of respondents thought he was the best or second best president of their lifetimes. Former President Bill Clinton topped the list at the time at 49 percent.

Currently, about 33 percent say Clinton was the best or second best, and 32 percent say President Ronald Reagan was the best or second best.

Not quite halfway through his first term in office, 19 percent of respondents say current President Donald Trump is the best or second best president of their lifetimes – similar to the total Obama drew in the Pew survey conducted during his first term.

Twelve percent list President John F. Kennedy as performing the best in office during their lifetimes. However, Kennedy was named as the best or second best president by about 25 percent of survey respondents who were alive while he was in office: 24 percent of baby boomers, ages 54 to 72, and 25 percent of people in the silent generation, ages 73 to 90.

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People's views of the presidents differed among generations. Millennials, ages 22 to 37, were more likely than other generations to list Obama as the best or second best president, at 62 percent, with Gen Xers, ages 38 to 53, second most likely at 41 percent. The silent generation was least likely to choose Obama, at 24 percent, and most likely to choose Reagan, at 38 percent, as the best or second best president. Baby boomers were also most likely to choose Reagan, at 42 percent.

When it comes to Trump among the generations, baby boomers were most likely to choose him as the best or second best president, at 21 percent. Millennials and the silent generation were next, both at 19 percent, and 15 percent of Gen Xers said the same.

Unpopular presidents include Presidents Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford, according to the survey. They all received 5 percent of votes or less.

Among political parties, most Democrats, at 71 percent, vote Obama as having done the best job. With 49 percent, Clinton comes in second. Most Republicans, at 57 percent, vote Reagan as having done the best job, and Trump comes in second with 40 percent.

The survey was conducted from June 5-12 among 2,002 adults aged 18 and older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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