What do presidential rankings say about America? Apparently, we are nostalgic — for better economic times (see: Bill Clinton, ranked third) and happier, sun-drenched days aboard the presidential yacht (JFK).
Gallup likes to take America's pulse every year on how we perceive as we look back. Here are the current Gallup rankings:
Kennedy, 85 percent
Reagan, 74 percent
Clinton, 69 percent
G. H.W. Bush, 64 percent
Ford, 61 percent
Carter, 52 percent
LBJ, 49 percent
GW Bush, 47 percent
Nixon, 29 percent
Huh. Carter more than Bush? And…Ford? Gallup noted that Kennedy has ranked first since 1990. Also:
The most notable changes in this year's update are a nine-point drop in Carter's approval rating and eight-point increases in those for Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Johnson.
Is Carter suffering from frequent comparisons to Obama? We always believed history would be kind to George W. Bush — who left office with an approval rating in the 20s. Gallup concurs, noting that opinions about presidents tend to “soften” once they are out of our hair and building their libraries/writing their memoirs or whatever.
Six of the nine presidents are now more highly regarded than they were at the end of their presidencies. These include Kennedy, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Carter, and George W. Bush. On the other hand, Clinton, Johnson, and Nixon are each currently rated on par with their final job approval rating before leaving office.