In Presidential Rankings, There's a New No. 1

Nearly half of all Americans say No. 44 was best president of their lives in Pew survey
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2018 10:50 AM CDT
Americans Have a New Pick for Best President
In this Dec. 16, 2016, photo, President Obama speaks to the media during a news conference at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ask Americans who the best president has been in their lifetimes, and one man ranks significantly above all others—though he didn't always. Barack Obama won the top spot in the Pew Research Center survey, based on phone interviews with 2,000 US adults during the week of June 5-12; 44% of respondents ranked No. 44 as either the best or second-best president during their years on Earth. Bill Clinton came in second with 33%, while Ronald Reagan ranked third at 32%. Though Donald Trump gained only 19% of the vote, Courthouse News notes those numbers seem to align with how sitting presidents typically do in the Pew survey: In 2011, while he was still in his first term, Obama took in a 20% share. Here, the rankings based on the combined percentages of being selected as either a first or second pick:

  • Barack Obama, 44%
  • Bill Clinton, 33%
  • Ronald Reagan, 32%
  • Donald Trump, 19%
  • George W. Bush, 14%
  • John F. Kennedy, 12%
  • George HW Bush, 10%
  • Jimmy Carter, 4%
  • Dwight Eisenhower, 2%
  • Franklin Roosevelt, 1%
  • Richard Nixon, 1%
  • Lyndon Johnson, 1%
  • Harry Truman, 1%
  • Gerald Ford, 1%
More on how the presidents rated, including within different generations and political parties, here. (More president stories.)

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