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Obama tops best US presidents list

Former President Barack Obama was the public's choice for the greatest US president in their lifetime, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 6:32 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 6:39 PM

The "Yes We Can" years still mean a lot to many Americans.

Evidence of that is borne out in a new Pew Research Center poll released this week that places former President Barack Obama at the top of a list of best presidents of Americans' lifetimes.

Fourty-four percent of Americans say Obama had done the best job as president during their lifetimes.

He's followed by:

  • Bill Clinton at 33%
  • and Ronald Reagan at 32%.

  • President Donald Trump, not even halfway through his first term, came in fourth with 19%.

The numbers reached in the telephone survey of 2,002 adults combined the respondents' first and second choices.

Age played a factor

How you feel about a president's performance in office often is closely related to how old you are.

Sixty-two percent of millennials, which this survey counted as being from ages 22 to 37, named Obama as either their first or second choice for best president.

But 42% of Baby Boomers (ages 54-72) and 38% of the Silent Generation (ages 73-90) listed Reagan as either their first or second choice.

Gen Xers (ages 38-53) were split, naming Reagan (45%), Obama (41%) and Clinton (39%) as their first or second choices for best president in their lives.

So did partisan differences

It's not surprising that political affiliations color how Americans feel about their presidents.

Among Republicans and independents who lean right, Ronald Reagan is their first or second choice with 57%, followed by Donald Trump at 40%.

Among Democrats and left-leaning independents, Obama tops their list at 71%, Clinton comes in at 49% and John F. Kennedy is third at 14%.

Which president has done the best job during your lifetime?

Barack Obama -- 44%

Bill Clinton -- 33%

Ronald Reagan -- 32%

Donald Trump -- 19%

George W. Bush -- 14%

John F. Kennedy -- 12%

George H.W. Bush -- 10%

Jimmy Carter -- 4%

Dwight Eisenhower -- 2%

Gerald Ford -- 1%

Richard Nixon -- 1%

Lyndon Johnson -- 1%

Harry Truman -- 1%

Franklin D. Roosevelt --1%

Source: Pew Research Center

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