In a recent poll of college students, a significant number of students voted for Barack Obama as the “best U.S. President in history.” The poll was conducted by College Pulse.
The poll received 8,111 responses from students nationwide and separated respondents by categories such as gender (male, female, non-binary), political affiliation, and other similar categories. Non-binary means that the respondent does not have a declared gender, or that the person is gender-neutral.
Overall, 22% of respondents (1,744 votes) named Obama as the best president, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) coming in second place with 14% (1,140 votes). Third place went to Abraham Lincoln with 14% (1,121 votes), fourth place was George Washington at 12% (931 votes) and Ronald Reagan at 7% (530 votes) rounded out the top five.
Three presidents hovered around 6%, with Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt r landing in sixth place with 490 votes, Donald Trump in seventh place with 489 votes, and John. F. Kennedy in eighth place with 439 votes.
But the gender breakdown is striking among those who voted for these former presidents. Among males, Obama fell to fourth place with 12% behind Abraham Lincoln (16%), FDR (15%), and George Washington (13%). Female students overwhelmingly favored Obama at 32% and 35% of non-binary students voted for Obama.
Th results of this poll, like many other polls on historical figures, displays the importance of recency bias, since the most recent president is front-and-center in the poll respondents’ minds. Yet, it provides insight on the perceptions of college students in America and who they gauge is the “best” president in U.S. history.