Americans Rate Obama as Best President of Their Lifetime in New Pew Poll

| JUL 11, 2018 | 7:08 PM

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A new poll released by Pew Research Center on Tuesday ranks presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Donald Trump using the question, “Which president has done the best job in your lifetime?” Former President Barack Obama came out on top.

Pew Research Center conducted the study via phone calls to 2,002 people over the age of 18 living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Respondents were asked to answer the question with their first and second picks.

Overall, Obama earned 44 percent of respondents' answers. In second place was Bill Clinton, followed by Ronald Reagan and then Donald Trump, who earned 19 percent. The list ranking the presidents is as follows:

  1. Barack Obama (44%)
  2. Bill Clinton (33%)
  3. Ronald Reagan (32%)
  4. Donald Trump (19%)
  5. George W. Bush (14%)
  6. John F. Kennedy (12%)
  7. George H.W. Bush (10%)
  8. Jimmy Carter (4%)
  9. Dwight D. Eisenhower (2%)
  10. Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt all tie at 1%.

Presidents and First Ladies
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However, the rankings differed when Pew divided the answers based on the demographics of the respondents.

Obama was most popular with the Millennial generation, defined here by respondents ages 22-37. Reagan was the most popular among Generation X (ages 38-53), Baby Boomers (ages 54-72), and the Silent Generation (ages 73-90). 

Most of Trump's support came from the Baby Boomer generation, who gave him 21 percent of their support. He was least popular with Generation X, while Obama was least popular with the Silent Generation. 

When divided by political party, Democrats, or people who lean Democrat, overwhelmingly supported Obama, with 71 percent ranking him the best president in their lifetime. With Republicans, Reagan still came out on top with 57 percent. However, Trump was a relatively close second, with 40 percent of Republicans naming him one of the best presidents in their lifetime only halfway through his term.

The last time Pew conducted this study was in October 2011, less than three years into Obama's presidency. At that time, he was ranked the third-most popular, following Clinton and Reagan.

Pew stated that the study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.