A new Pew Research Poll found that Barack Obama topped Bill Clinton as the best president of the American public’s lifetime.
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.
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%).
Obama appreciation continues to grow
Appreciation for the job that Obama did and the person that he was while occupying the Oval Office has only continued to grow. Trump views the mission of his presidency as the destruction of the Obama legacy, but Trump will never be able to diminish the respect and stature that the former president holds in American society. One should not undervalue, given the daily assault of unpresidential behavior that the American people are currently subjected to, how much they value the competency, temperament, thoughtfulness, and intelligence that Obama brought to the White House. Those values are influencing elections today as former Obama staffers run for office.
There are a generation of voters coming of age right now who are Obama kids. They grew up with Barack Obama as their president, think of the Parkland students, and these young Obama influenced people are the voters who will lead the country into the next generation.
It took a president as a bad as Donald Trump for some Americans to realize the greatness of Barack Obama.