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.

SEE: The most significant Trump reversals of Obama orders:

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The most significant Trump reversals of Obama orders in 2017
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The most significant Trump reversals of Obama orders in 2017

DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)

Signed in 2012, Obama’s executive order offering legal protections from deportation to children brought into the country by undocumented immigrant parents offered a legal respite for nearly 800,000 people. While it was not a permanent solution, many Republicans in Congress sided with Democrats in the view that children protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should ultimately be granted U.S. citizenship. But on Sept. 5, 2017,  President Trump put that possibility in doubt. “Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Trump tweeted ahead of an announcement by his attorney general that he was rescinding Obama’s action. The matter now rests with Congress.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

TRANSFER OF SURPLUS MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO LOCAL POLICE

In 2015, in the wake of what some viewed as the outsize police response to the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Obama issued an order banning the sale of surplus military equipment such as grenade launchers and armored vehicles to local police forces. On Aug. 28, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Trump was scrapping the restriction “to make it easier to protect yourselves and your communities.”

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NORMALIZING RELATIONS WITH CUBA

Denouncing the Obama administration’s 2014 decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Trump announced on June 16, 2017, that he was putting travel and trade restrictions with the island nation back in place. “The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people — they only enrich the Cuban regime,” Trump said in a Florida speech.

(A vintage car drives past the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini)

THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

Trump has said he believes that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. His June 1, 2017, decision to walk away from the Paris climate agreement signed by his predecessor ultimately left the United States isolated as the only country in the world not onboard.

(REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo)

OFFSHORE AND ARCTIC OIL DRILLING

Making good on the long-held Republican slogan “Drill, baby, drill,” Trump overturned a 2016 Obama executive order banning oil drilling in parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic.

“This is a great day for American workers and families,” Trump said at a signing ceremony on April 28, 2017. “And today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs.”

(Susanne Miller/US Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via Reuters) 

NET NEUTRALITY 

Obama’s rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet — aka net neutrality — were enshrined in 2015 with a vote from the Federal Communications Commission. But new FCC commissioners are appointed by whichever president is serving, and when Trump took office he installed new leadership, which voted on Dec. 14 to scrap the policy, opening up the internet to what critics fear will result in a tiered system of information and entertainment.

REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot

THE CLEAN WATER RULE

On Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump began his assault on Obama’s executive order that expanded federal oversight of pollution in the nation’s rivers, streams and lakes. Trump’s first step was to order the EPA to “review and reconsider” the restrictions. Then, in June, the administration officially rolled back the environmental protections for over half of the nation’s tributaries.

(Yellow mine waste water is seen at the entrance to the Gold King Mine in San Juan County, Colorado, in this picture released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) taken August 5, 2015. REUTERS/EPA/Handout/File Photo)

CAPS ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AT POWER PLANTS

Keeping a campaign promise to the coal industry, Trump signed an executive order on March 28, 2017, intended to begin dismantling Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required power plants to reduce carbon emissions. Trump’s new “Energy Independence” order also reversed a ban on coal leasing on federal lands and loosened restrictions on methane emissions. Several states immediately filed a lawsuit against the administration, claiming the move endangered the health of citizens.

(The coal-fired Castle Gate Power Plant is pictured outside Helper, Utah November 27, 2012. REUTERS/George Frey)

SCOPE OF NATIONAL MONUMENTS

Applauded by industry and decried by environmentalists, Trump signed an executive order on April 26, 2017, that swept away Obama’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect federal lands from oil drilling, mining and other development. “Today we’re putting the states back in charge,” he said at the signing. In December, the administration announced it would reduce the size of the Obama-created Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, and the Bill Clinton-designated Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent.

(The moon glows over Indian Creek in the northern portion of Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, U.S., October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen)

BATHROOM PROTECTIONS FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

One month into his term, Trump rescinded an Obama directive that allowed students to use school bathrooms that matched their self-identified gender. Trump’s rationale for the reversal was that states, rather than the federal government, should decide how to handle the question.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten decried the move, telling the Associated Press that it “tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans.”

(Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

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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

RELATED: Former Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton attend 12th Presidents Cup:

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Sep 28, 2017; Jersey City, NJ, USA; Former U.S. Presidents (from Left) Barack Obama and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton smile during the first round foursomes match of The President's Cup golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama pose for a selfie with Phil Mickelson of the U.S. Team during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama talk with Phil Mickelson of the U.S. Team during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
When you can take a selfie with three US Presidents, you do it!! https://t.co/E3pNlZ07gs
No caption needed @presidentscup
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Patrick Reed of the U.S. Team, Jordan Spieth of the U.S. Team, Si Woo Kim of South Korea and the International Team and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and the International Team pose with former presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former President Barack Obama shakes hands with Dustin Johnson of the U.S. Team during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Rickie Fowler of the U.S. Team and Justin Thomas of the U.S. Team and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and the International Team and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and the International Team pose with Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama pose during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Cheryl Lee and Mark Lee Jr., honoring Fire Captain Mark Lee Sr., of Engine Company 10 pose with Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the trophy ceremony during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton pose with the U.S. Team wives and girlfriends during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Adam Scott of Australia and the International Team on the frist tee during Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former President Barack Obama shakes hands with Jordan Spieth of the U.S. Team during the trophy presentation during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton pose with the International Team wives and girlfriends during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Captain's assistant Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team speaks to former U.S. President Barack Obama on the first tee during Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attend the trophy presentation prior to Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attend the trophy presentation prior to Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Former U.S. President Barack Obama, Former U.S. President George W. Bush and former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend the trophy presentation prior to Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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