Quick: Who’s the second greatest president we’ve ever had?
Who’s at the top of America’s collective list of all 44 chief executives? Our 40th president—Ronald Reagan—grabs the top spot, according to a Gallup poll last year. That’s not surprising, considering our report earlier this week that a presidential candidate’s comparison to Reagan is more favorable than any other recent president.
So, our question today is:
Who’s second best?
Answer: The Great Emancipator—Abraham Lincoln—comes second, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. The father of our country earns the 5th spot.
Who’s at the bottom of the list? Only 17 of our 44 presidents were named frequently enough in the Gallup Poll to be listed in the final report. That means a majority of our presidents simply don’t come to Americans’ minds when searching for models of greatness. Of the 17 presidents who made the list in the final Gallup report, the least-mentioned names were George H. W. Bush, Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon—all them named by only 1 in 100 respondents or less.
During the dozen years that Gallup has been asking the “greatest president” question, three names have consistently come up at the top: Kennedy, Reagan, and Lincoln.
Are you surprised that Reagan now tops the list?
Surprised that Lincoln ranks so high?
Who’s at the top of your list—and why?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.