Post-War Presidential Ratings

President

Favorable

Unfavorable

John F. Kennedy

80%

13%

Dwight Eisenhower

72%

15%

Ronald Reagan

72%

22%

Harry S. Truman

70%

14%

Gerald Ford

62%

26%

Jimmy Carter

57%

34%

George H.W. Bush

57%

41%

Bill Clinton

55%

41%

Lyndon B. Johnson

45%

42%

George W. Bush

41%

59%

Richard Nixon

32%

60%

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Post-War Presidents: JFK, Ike, Reagan Most Popular
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John F. Kennedy remains the best liked of the eleven men who have served as President in the post-World War II era. Eighty percent (80%) have a favorable opinion of him while just 13% hold an unfavorable view.

Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan are both viewed favorably by 72% of Americans today. Fifteen percent (15%) have an unfavorable view of Ike while 22% have an unfavorable view of Reagan.

Kennedy and Reagan are the only post-War Presidents viewed Very Favorably by more than 40% of American adults. Forty-three percent (43%) have a Very Favorable opinion of Kennedy while 41% say the same about Reagan. Kennedy’s life was tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet. Reagan, too, was shot but managed to survive.

While Kennedy is the most popular of the post-War Presidents, he ranks sixth overall in the history of the United States. (See list of all Presidents).

Harry S. Truman, in office when World War II came to an end is viewed favorably by 70% of Americans. Gerald R. Ford, who became President when Richard Nixon resigned following the Watergate scandal, is viewed favorably by 62%.

Jimmy Carter and the first President Bush are each viewed favorably by 57% of Americans today. They are trailed closely by Bill Clinton (55% favorable, 41% unfavorable).

Three of the eleven post-War Presidents are viewed favorably by less than 50% of Americans—Lyndon B. Johnson is viewed favorably by 45% and unfavorably by 42%; George W. Bush is viewed favorably by 41% and unfavorably by 59%; and, Richard Nixon is viewed favorably by just 32%. Sixty percent (60%) have an unfavorable opinion of the only President ever forced to resign his office.

When comparing the strongly held opinions, four Presidents of this era have a net negative rating (i.e.—more people with a Very Unfavorable opinion than a Very Favorable view). Those are the current President, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter.

Opinions about Ford and Johnson are less solidly held than for any other Presidents of this era. Just 16% have a Very Favorable opinion and 4% have a Very Unfavorable view of Ford. For Johnson, the numbers are 6% Very Favorable and 13% Very Unfavorable.

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