SURVEY: Republicans and Democrats divided on which President did the best job over the past 40 years

When asked to name the president who has done the best job over the past 40 years, a majority of Democrats name Barack Obama.

Republicans, by contrast, are divided between a president who served in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, and the one who left office this year, Donald Trump.

About four-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (42%) say Reagan has done the best job as president over the past 40 years, while slightly fewer (37%) say Trump has done the best job.

Around six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (59%) say Obama has done the best job as president of any president of the past 40 years. Far fewer name Bill Clinton (19%) or Joe Biden (5%), who will complete his first year in office next month.

Seven presidents have served in the last 40 years, four Republicans and three Democrats. Among U.S. adults overall, 35% say Obama has done the best job over this period, followed by Reagan (23%), Trump (17%) and Clinton (12%).

Relatively small shares among both the general public and among Republicans name either George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush, according to the survey, conducted in September on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

Among Republicans who name Reagan or Trump as the best recent president, there are sizable differences in choices for the second-best president.

Among Republicans who say Trump, about three-quarters (73%) say Reagan is the second-best president of the past 40 years. However, among those who point to Reagan, views of the second-best president are more varied: 54% say Trump, while 34% name other Republican presidents and 11% name Democratic presidents.

Nearly three-quarters of Democrats ages 18 to 29 (74%) say Obama has been the best president over the past 40 years, by far the highest share of any age group. And while 69% of Black Democrats name Obama, smaller majorities do so among Hispanic and White Democrats (56% each). Among Asian American Democrats, 64% name Obama.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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