Barack Obama
**FILE** Barack Obama (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Former President Barack Obama has topped the list of a new poll that asked Americans who’s the greatest president of their lifetime.

Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan finished second and third, respectfully, while current President Donald Trump finished fourth.

The results of the poll, conducted from June 5-12 by Pew Research Center, were released Wednesday. It surveyed 2,002 adults and asked them open-ended questions about which president has done the best job in their lifetimes.

Pew based the results on the respondents’ first and second choices.

When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetime, 44 percent said Obama is either the best or second-best.

About one-third, or 33 percent, said Clinton while 32 percent named Reagan.

Approximately 19 percent said Trump has done the best or second-best job of any president in their lifetimes.

About one in 10 adults (12 percent) 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 percent of baby boomers and 25 percent of those in the silent generation.

People’s views of the best president of their lifetimes are partly tied to their ages, Pew officials said.

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 10 millennials (62 percent) view Obama as one of the top two, with 46 percent naming him the best president.

Older generations are much more likely than millennials to name Reagan, who was president before most millennials were born, as one of the best.

Generation X (ages 38 to 53) is divided in its assessments: 45 percent name Reagan, while nearly as many mention Obama (41 percent) or Clinton (39 percent).

Reagan is the top choice among boomers (ages 54 to 72) and silents (ages 73 to 90); about four in 10 of the two older generations name Reagan (42 percent of boomers, 38 percent of silents).

But within both generations, there are a range of opinions, with Obama, Kennedy, Clinton and Trump all receiving mentions from 15 percent or more of boomers and silents, according to the Pew study.

As was the case in 2011, many people do not name the current president as the best in their lifetimes, even if the president is affiliated with their chosen party.

Currently, 44 percent name Obama as their first or second choice for having done the best job of any president of their lifetimes, while 33 percent name Clinton, 32 percent Reagan and 19 percent Trump.

In 2011, 49 percent said Clinton had been one of the top two presidents, compared with 34 percent who cited Reagan and 20 percent who mentioned Obama.

The share naming Obama has more than doubled since 2011 (from 20 percent to 44 percent), while the share mentioning Clinton has declined, from 49 percent to 33 percent.

The ratings for other presidents have not changed much since 2011: 32 percent cite Reagan (34 percent in 2011); 14 percent name George W. Bush (15 percent then); and 12 percent name Kennedy (15 percent then).

A sizable majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say Obama is the best (51 percent) or second-best (20 percent) president in their lifetimes.

About half of Democrats name Clinton (49 percent). Another 14 percent of Democrats name Kennedy as one of their top two, 12 percent name Reagan and 10 percent mention George W. Bush.

In 2011, Clinton was named most often as the best or second-best president by 69 percent of Democrats, while 36 percent named Obama.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Reagan (57 percent) ranks in the top two presidents of their lifetimes. Another 40 percent of Republicans name Trump, while 20 percent name George W. Bush, 16 percent name George H.W. Bush and 15 percent mention Clinton.

Republicans’ choices for the best president also have changed since 2011, though the share pointing to Reagan has not changed since then (57 percent).

Republicans are less likely to name Clinton than in 2011 (28 percent then, 15 percent today), while somewhat more say Obama has done the best job of any president of their lifetimes (5 percent then, 13 percent today).

Republicans’ evaluations of other presidents, Republican or Democratic, have changed little.

One in five Republicans say George W. Bush is the best president of their lifetimes (27 percent said this in 2011); 16 percent say Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, is the best president (20 percent in 2011).

Naturally, Trump disagreed, immediately taking to Twitter to give his opinion.

“A recent Emerson College ePoll said that most Americans, especially Hispanics, feel that they are better off under President Trump than they were under President Obama,” Trump tweeted.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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