New Poll: Reagan, FDR Lead Presidential Role Models

January 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — When American voters were asked which past President of the United States they believe Barack Obama should model his new presidency after, they did not pick Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy, or even George Washington as their top choice. They picked Ronald Reagan.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by Clarus Research Group this past week, Reagan was the top choice among all voters with 26 percent, followed by Franklin Roosevelt with 18%, Kennedy with 17% and Lincoln with 13%.

“Reagan was the overwhelming favorite among Republican voters,” said Dr. Ron Faucheux, President of Clarus. “He received 59 percent as the President GOP voters want Obama to emulate. Nobody else came close.”

“Democrats scattered their choices more,” Faucheux noted. “FDR was their top pick at 27 percent and was closely followed by Kennedy, with 26 percent. Lincoln, a Republican, ranked third among Democrats.”

Other findings:

  • Independents favored Reagan, followed by FDR, Lincoln and Kennedy.
  • Younger voters (under 30) selected JFK as their favorite. Reagan and Lincoln followed.
  • Older voters (over 65) put Roosevelt first. Reagan was second.
  • White voters picked Reagan as their top choice with FDR in second place.
  • African American voters favored Kennedy by a wide margin. Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, came in second.
  • Home regions of past Presidents can still have political impact. Reagan, from California, did the best in the West (30 percent) and the worst in the Northeast (22 percent). FDR, a New Yorker, scored highest in the Northeast (26 percent) and lowest in the Midwest (15 percent).
  • Reagan dominated small town and rural America, winning 31 percent. Among urban voters, FDR led with 23 percent. Reagan was also favored among suburbanites, capturing 28 percent.
  • Reagan won high-income voters (over $100,000 a year) with 33 percent followed by FDR with 21 percent. JFK and Reagan, at 21 percent, tied among voters with incomes under $50,000 a year.
  • Education was a factor in some cases. FDR received 14 percent among voters without a college degree but 25 percent among those with graduate degrees. Kennedy won 27 percent of voters with high school educations and 14 percent among college graduates.

Presidents among the Founding Fathers — George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — received 4 and 3 percent, respectively. Cold War Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower also received 4 and 3 percent among all voters. Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive Republican, captured 4 percent; the Hero of the Battle of New Orleans, Democrat Andrew Jackson, received 1 percent.

About Clarus Research Group:

Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan and full-service survey research company based in Washington, DC, conducted the nationwide survey through live telephone interviews Jan. 13-18, 2009, among a random, representative sample of 1,000 registered voters. More information on Clarus is available at www.ClarusRG.com.

The following question was asked in the survey:

“If Barack Obama were to select one President from the past as a role model for his presidency, which past President would you want him to use as an example: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, or Ronald Reagan?”

    CONTACT: Renate Geerlings
    (202) 255-2744
    Ron Faucheux
    (202) 256-8036

SOURCE Clarus Research Group

Source: newswire

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