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Poll: Clinton greater than Reagan, Washington

Bill Clinton tops Ronald Reagan, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in a new survey of America’s greatest presidents, and ranks evenly with George W. Bush.

Bill Clinton

A Gallup poll released this month asked the question: “Who do you regard as the greatest United States president?”

While Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy finished first and second with 15 and 13 percent of the votes respectively, Clinton and President Bush tied for third at 11 percent.

Reagan finished fifth with ten percent of responses, followed by Franklin Roosevelt with nine percent and George Washington with seven.

Reagan, George H.W. Bush on Time cover

Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, Teddy Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, and Thomas Jefferson all collected less than five percent.

Clinton is especially popular among the MTV generation, with nearly 3 in 10 respondents in the 18- to 29-year-old age group mentioning him. His 29 percent tally of younger Americans is about triple the competition from Lincoln and the current president, both of whom received ten percent support from that group.

Not surprisingly, one’s political affiliation had a great impact on selections for this poll. For instance, among Republicans, Clinton received only two percent backing, compared to 23 for George W. Bush, 20 for Lincoln, and 18 for Reagan.

Those identifying themselves as Democrats gave Kennedy 25 percent and Clinton 21 percent, compared to just three percent for Both Reagan and Bush the younger.

Just two years ago when the same question was asked, Reagan was the overall winner of the greatest president question, gathering 18 percent of responses – twice as much as Clinton.

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