Typically Americans have a favorable view of the nation’s first president. A new Monmouth poll finds that to be still true but finds that a majority of Democratic voters say former President Barack Obama was a better president than George Washington.
According to Monmouth, 71 percent of respondents told pollsters that Washington is a better president than President Donald Trump, while 15 percent say Trump is a better leader. When speaking of Obama, 53 percent of respondents said Washington was better and 33 percent said Obama was the better president.
But when Monmouth looked at responses based on voters’ party affiliations, it found that 63 percent of Democrats believe Obama was better than Washington, while 29 percent pick Washington.
Republican voters gave Washington a slight edge, with 44 percent saying he was a better president than Trump and 37 percent saying the same of the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that the question is “fun” but adds, “I’m not sure what it means.”
“There is a combination of factors at work when you ask a question like this. Democrats may be more likely than Republicans to be influenced by recency bias, valuing what they are familiar with over historical opinion. It’s a fun question to ask, but I’m not sure what it means.”
The question was “inspired” by a recent Economist/YouGov poll that asked voters whether they thought Trump or Abraham Lincoln was the better president. That poll found that 53 percent said Trump was the better president while 47 percent said the same of Lincoln.
The Monmouth Poll also found that Trump’s approval rating sits at 46 percent, a three percent increase from when news of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky first broke in September.
However, it notes there is a large spread between the voters who have a strong opinion of him. Some 33 percent of respondents say they have a “very favorable view” of him, while 47 percent say they have a “very unfavorable view.”
Moreover, the poll found that a majority of respondents, 56 percent, say they would prefer a candidate who they feel would have a better chance of beating Trump than someone they agree with on most of the issues.