Who Are the Best US Presidents in Modern History?
New poll finds public gives Reagan, Clinton higher marks than other recent presidents.
There’s a reason the Republican presidential candidates name drop Ronald Reagan nearly every chance they get.
A new Gallup poll finds that the nation regards Reagan as the best president in modern history. Sixty-nine percent of the 1,029 Americans surveyed from Feb. 2 to 5 say that Reagan will be remembered as an outstanding/above average president. Sixty percent say that Bill Clinton will go down in history as an outstanding leader. The eight presidents featured in the poll date back to Richard Nixon, but the public graded none of them as highly as they graded Reagan and Clinton.
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“Their positive ratings could be tied to the fact that both were in office during strong economic times,” noted Jeffrey M. Jones, author of the Gallup study.
The jury’s out on President Barack Obama since he’s still in the middle of what could be two terms in office. So far, 38 percent of the public believes that he’ll be remembered as an outstanding president, while 35 percent of Americans say Obama will be remembered as below average. Twenty-six percent say he’ll be remembered as average.
Richard Nixon, scandalized by Watergate, is the president most Americans say will be remembered as the worst U.S. leader in recent memory. Fifty-five percent of Americans predict Nixon will go down in history as a “poor” president. Next in line in the below average category is George W. Bush, with 47 percent of Americans identifying him as such. Thirty-eight percent of the public say Jimmy Carter will be remembered as a below average president.
Two presidents on the list left no real impact whatsoever on the public. Both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush earned the highest marks from the public in the average category. Fifty-four percent say Ford will be remembered as average, while 44 percent say George H.W. Bush will be. Not sure that’s much of compliment. Who wants to go down in history as just “meh?”