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Monday, February 21, 2011

Ronald Reagan Was the Greatest President, Poll Says

Posted By on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

click to enlarge Make room for Ronald Reagan
  • Make room for Ronald Reagan

A pre-President's Day poll showed that Americans think Ronald Reagan was the country's best president, even more so than Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, two of the most influential leaders in history.

Reagan scored 19 percent of the vote,edging out Lincoln who had 14 percent and Bill Clinton with 13 percent.

John F. Kennedy came in sixth place, followed by the current President Barack Obama. Pundits gave little credit to the the results, saying the fact that Obama made the top 10 list points to the absurdity of the poll, which has been conducted every year since 1999.

"There is no way on Earth you could say Brack Obama is seventh of all time considering he hasn't even finished his first term," said Bill Whalen, research fellow with the Hoover Institution.

Whalen says he was a little surprised that the man who escalated the Cold War was ranked higher than Lincoln, who fought to free the country of slavery.

He chalked it up to nothing more than out of sight out of mind. With Reagan's 100th birthday having just passed on Feb. 6, everything was "all about Reagan," Whalen noted. Fox News was "wall-to-wall Reagan."

Not to diminish Reagan's economic achievements, but people are influenced by the conversation that is right in front of them, Whalen said.

"When people look at the president they are influenced by pop culture, and what they see on TV, and what they read in the headlines," Whalen said. "There are four in modern time that have that right now: Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Reagan."

As time passes by, Reagan's influence over American politics becomes more obvious, which is another reason he was likely voted better than Lincoln, Whalen adds.

But if another spot popped up on Mt. Rushmore, would Reagan deserve it?

"That's the debate," Whalen said. "Some say it would be Franklin Roosevelt and others say it would go to Ronald Reagan."

It definitely would not go to George W. Bush, who trailed all the great leaders in the poll, showing up as No. 10.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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