President Barack Obama may have left the White House a year and a half ago, but he is far from forgotten.
In fact, Americans reflect on him so fondly that he is now seen as the “best” president of recent years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The survey, which asked the open-ended question of “Which president has done the best job during your lifetime?”, found that 44% of respondents consider Obama to be the best or second best president that they’ve witnessed.
Obama was closely followed by Bill Clinton with 33% and Ronald Reagan with 32%. Meanwhile, President Trump, not even halfway through his term, was voted best or second best by 19% of respondents. Nevertheless, Trump landed where Obama did at a similar point in his presidency. In his second year in office, 20% of respondents viewed Obama as one of the best presidents.
That number has now more than doubled (maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder), with a plurality of respondents viewing Obama the most favorably of all presidents. Much of this support, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes from younger voters and Democrats.
Millennials, who have only lived to see a handful of presidents, were the most likely to name Obama as the best president, with 62% of millennials viewing him as one of the top two and 46% naming his as the top. Older generations, on the other hand, were more likely to deem Reagan the best commander-in-chief, with 45% of Gen Xers naming him, and a close 41% and 39% naming Obama and Clinton respectively.
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, 71% name Obama in the top two, with 51% calling him the best president and 20% naming him the second best. Republicans are more likely to support Reagan, although their enthusiasm is not as strong, with 57% ranking him in the top two.
Reflecting the growing partisan nature of politics in the U.S., 40% of Republicans name Trump as one of the top two presidents of their lifetime, compared to just 3% of Democrats.
The survey polled 2,002 adults between June 5 and 12.