Saturday, May 10, 2008

Survey Results: Who is the Best President since 1950?

Put down your pencils. The polls are now closed.

The readers of have spoken... the best President since 1950 (from the choices given) is... William Jefferson Clinton.

This is Clinton's first Survey Victory and came as kind of a surprise to me. With 33% percent of the vote he narrowly edged out Ronald Reagan who received 29% of the vote.

Here are the full results after 72 votes:

Harry Truman - 11% (8 votes)
Dwight D. Eisenhower - 5% (4 votes)
John F. Kennedy - 20% (15 votes)
Ronald Reagan - 29% (21 votes)
Bill Clinton - 33% (24 votes)

Despite his impeachment trial, in 1998 and 1999, Clinton's approval rating still ranked among the best in history at 73%. He ended his term with an approval rating of 68%. And according to Wikipedia, (I know... not the most reliable source) his final rating is higher than that of any other departing president since approval ratings began more than seventy years earlier.

Why was his approval so high?

How about 8 years of relative peace and prosperity. A good economy leaves people happy. Nobody can doubt his intelligence, and how he used his intelligence to be the best fiscal leader we've had in a long, long time. This rationale could be the same reason Ronald Reagan ranked so high.

Thank you to all who contributed, and more importantly to those that commented and opened up a dialogue. I'd like to hear from more of you concerning the results. Does this surprise you?

To get it started - here is my grandfather's reaction
I just reviewed your survey. It seems to me that the answers were progressive. By that I mean young people with very little knowledge of past history voted the current appeal.They knew little or nothing of Truman and Eisenhower. I wouldn't say IKE was a good President,but he could have run on any ticket and been elected. He was that popular.It would be the same for Colin Powell. It's unfortunate that we are faced with our present dilemma. The good ones don't have national appeal and the ones with national appeal are awful. They are supported by young liberals who would have been better to serve Army time to open their eyes. GP
I welcome thoughts on GPs comments as well...

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Jeremy Young said...

Part of the problem was that your poll didn't include enough choices. I voted for Kennedy, but my top two choices, LBJ and Carter (in that order), weren't in the poll.

klkatz said...

thanks jeremy. you're right in that it wasn't a true "best president since 1950" poll, because of the truncated choices. but i purposely left some out. would be interesting to see how the poll would have turned out with everyone included.

my thoughts are that carter would have been towards the bottom (i know he did great things as a humanitarian, but anyone who alienates himself from his congress and cabinet as much as he did can't be that great)... and LBJ who many believe carried Kennedy's torch in achieving a lot of social and civil rights victories, may have wound up somewhere in the middle. my gut tells me that Clinton and Reagan would have surfaced to the top... especially considering today's economy...

thinklib said...

don't know who the best president might be... but sure is easy to pick the worst.

Rebecca said...

I wasn't really surprised by the results. But I have to agree with your grandfather's points though.
As a young person myself, I don't know a lot about past presidents.

Here's a question to throw out though. What's makes a president "the best"? Popularity, what they did for the country, how they handled world events? All of the above? I'm curious...

My Adventures in History

Anonymous said...

I do agree with your grandfather. Young people today have no idea how to vote for the right person. Today they aren't taught about there own country and can't even answer a simple history question. I can say Yes, Clinton was a good president but where were his morals? Yes, Kennedy was a good president and probably would of been among some of the great ones if he had lived. I personally feel that Regan should of been the One in your pole to be the top winner. Just look at everything he did for this country!

Rebecca said...

I agree that Kennedy could of done some incredible things if he hadn't been killed. And I don't think Clinton handled world situations that well.

As a young person, I see it all the time. Whoever is the big name out there gets votes. It's frustrating. I probably could answer a history question but I might be an exception... :)


Trestin Meacham said...

I am really socked that Reagan did not do better. He plays a very important role in history. I like the pole idea it gets people thinking.

Darrin Dickey said...

You've got to remember it's been two decades since Reagan left office. Even people born during his presidency wouldn't remember him and they're already in their 20s. Many readers just aren't old enough to remember Reagan.

On top of that, you've got two decades of idolization of him from the right and damnation of him from the left. People who didn't live through that period just don't really know much about him.

klkatz said...

though i see your point, it's making an assumption that the readers of this blog don't read or do research. should we assume that nobody can comment on whether Washington was a good president because we weren't alive during his presidency and couldn't possibly remember him?

Darrin Dickey said...


Good point. And I don't know that readers of this blog are too young to remember the Reagan years. It was just an observation. I still think we're too close to the Clinton years and too far from the Reagan years to get a good response in most polls.

No one alive today experienced the Washington presidency, so we all pretty much have the same frame of reference in looking at those years - what we learned in history books. Not quite the same for Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bush's. Still lots of personal baggage connected to those presidencies for many of us.

Viagra on line pharmacy said...

in my personal opinion one of the best president since 1950 has been John F. Kennedy , he is one that has done more things for our country that another ones.

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