Poll: George Washington still tops
George Washington still ranks as Americans’ number one president, according to a new poll out Friday.
A whopping 89 percent of Americans say they see the United States’ first president favorably, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. The nation’s most other popular presidents offer few surprises, with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt rounding out the top ten.
Lincoln, with 85 percent favorability, just missed taking the top stop from Washington. Only two other presidents have a favorability rating over 70 percent — Jefferson at 74 percent and Kennedy at 70 percent.
Richard Nixon is by far the least popular, with 59 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the scandal-ridden former commander in chief. Just 27 percent say they see Nixon positively. Ten other former presidents hit negative numbers in the poll: Lyndon B. Johnson, Warren Harding, Millard Fillmore, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Barack Obama, Chester Arthur, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan and George W. Bush.
Obama comes in with 46 percent saying they see him favorably and 49 percent unfavorably. His predecessor, George W. Bush, gets similar support, with 45 percent positive and 46 percent negative ratings. Americans see other recent presidents in a more positive light — Ronald Reagan is the 14th most popular president, Gerald Ford the 16th and Bill Clinton ranks 17th.
Unlike Lincoln, most of his fellow 19th century presidents don’t have much visibility, according to the poll: 80 percent or more of those surveyed say they have no opinion on Franklin Pierce, James K. Polk, Millard Fillmore or John Tyler. And over half of all Americans, or 56 percent, say they have no opinion of one of the countries’ most important Founding Fathers, James Madison.
Among Republicans, 92 percent see Reagan favorably, while his fellow party member Lincoln garners an 84 percent rating. And Republicans’ most hated president is Obama, with 84 percent unfavorable, followed by Jimmy Carter, Clinton and LBJ.
Meanwhile, 90 percent of Democrats give Kennedy a positive rating — higher than either Washington or Lincoln. Democrats rank Nixon and Reagan as their least favorites, with the Bushes coming in next.
The poll surveyed 1,200 people Feb. 9-12. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent.