By Pew Research
When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama is the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared with about a third who mention Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%).
Not yet halfway through his term, 19% say Donald Trump has done the best or second best job of any president of their lifetimes. That is comparable with the share who viewed Obama as one of the best presidents in 2011 (20%).
The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, asks people in an open-ended format which president has done the best job in their lifetimes. The analysis is based on their first and second choices.
About one-in-ten adults (12%) say John F. Kennedy did the best job in office during their lifetimes. But Kennedy is named as the best or second best president by about a quarter of those who were alive during his presidency: 24% of Baby Boomers and 25% of those in the Silent Generation.
Generations’ views of the best president
People’s views of the best president of their lifetimes are partly tied to their ages. Millennials, who are currently ages 22 to 37, are far more likely than older generations to name Obama as one of the best presidents in their lifetimes: About six-in-ten Millennials (62%) view Obama as one of the top two, with nearly half, 46%, naming him the best president.
Older generations are much more likely than Millennials to name Reagan as one of the best presidents. Reagan was president before most Millennials were born.
Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53) are divided in their assessments: 45% of Gen Xers name Reagan, while nearly as many mention Obama (41%) or Clinton (39%).
Reagan is the top choice among Boomers (ages 54 to 72) and Silents (ages 73 to 90); about four-in-ten in the two older generations name Reagan (42% of Boomers, 38% of Silents). But within both generations, there are a range of opinions, with Obama, Kennedy, Clinton and Trump all receiving mentions from 15% or more Boomers and Silents.
By Pew Research Centre – Pew Research Center is a nonprofit organization and a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.