Skip to comments.Despite Academia's Best Efforts, Reagan Tops in Poll of Modern Presidents
Posted on 07/03/2014 5:52:13 PM PDT by Kaslin
In past columns, I've mentioned some teachers and professors that I've known who bluntly said that Ronald Reagan was the nation's worst president. It has become rather common in academia to describe the Reagan years as being filled with greed, and later, with deception in the Iran-Contra matter. Ronald Reagan's "trickle down" economic policies are dismissed in many classrooms as the very "voodoo economics" they were so termed by his onetime opponent and later vice president, George H.W. Bush.
And Reagan's visible decline as a result of Alzheimer's in his later years is often implied to be a fit description of his entire presidency. This assessment has given millions of young students an image of a half-wit, onetime movie star who somehow managed to fool voters into believing that he was instead a man of intelligence and action.
But a recent Quinnipiac poll of registered voters nationwide, asking them to rate "the best" and "the worst" presidents since World War II, reveals something interesting: Many of those young people who were taught history in the past few decades, and who have since become voters, don't agree with the opinion of many of their former teachers, nor with the often cleverly slanted accounts of the Reagan years they read in their history books.
When asked which president since World War II they considered "the worst," voters in the age group of 18-29 and 30-44, the two youngest categories in the survey, said George W. Bush. President Barack Obama came in second for this dubious distinction. When all age groups were included in the results, Obama was rated the overall worst. The poll has a margin of error of less than 3 percent.
The stunningly high percentage of younger voters who have abandoned Obama, both in rankings like the one cited here, and in recent job performance surveys, is a topic for another time. Keep in mind, too, that many younger respondents to surveys like this one tend to more thoroughly judge the presidents who served more recently and who thus were more a part of the respondents' daily lives. So the harsh judgments of both Obama and Bush should be taken with that in mind.
But what about the often vilified Ronald Reagan? It appears that all of those classroom lectures and unflattering portrayals of Reagan in school textbooks had a negligible impact on those they were meant to persuade. Among the two youngest segments of respondents to the poll, Reagan as the "worst" president rated an almost statistically irrelevant 4 percent. And much to the chagrin of many in academia and the media, Reagan topped the overall survey as the nation's "best" president in the modern era.
The youngest respondents in the survey, aged 18-29, rated Reagan third "best," which put him in a virtual statistical tie with John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, the two presidents who tied for "best" among this demographic.
Consider a college-aged student of 10 years ago, who in the classroom was subjected to the same unflattering reviews of the Reagan presidency. That person could be at least 30 years old today, placing them in the age group 30-44 in the poll's demographic breakdown. For that age group, Reagan was tops with 36 percent. Clinton was a distant second place as their choice for "best president." Unsurprisingly, Reagan topped the list with older respondents as well.
To be certain, time has a way of healing wounds and allowing myths to become reality with the public. Reagan had his shortcomings, as do all leaders. But some of those shortcomings, such as the Iran-Contra scandal, have saturated our media and history books in a way that seems unbalanced when compared to how scandals such as the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Benghazi cover-up are covered today.
Fortunately, students in the end are encouraged to make their own choices. And it is pretty clear they have decided to ignore many of their teachers when it comes to the Reagan legacy.
Valerie Jarrett must be livid,eh?
Cool! I guess there is hope after all!
I used to think about what it would be like to go up to Reagan's house, knock on the door and tell him, "Thank you" probably with tears in my eyes.
I often wonder if the 1980 Reagan could be elected in today’s America.
That’s a good question. I don’t think he’d take California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, etc. the way he did then.
The sad thing is - Jimmy Carter was a better President than Obama will ever be. Granted, that’s not saying much, but Carter at least did a few good things (starting the deregulation of the airlines, etc.), and was basically an honest guy. Obama is LBJ’s Great Society paired with Nixon’s chronic dishonesty and FDR’s dictatorial tendencies.
Fortunately not everyone is ruined by the college experience.
Many are saying no, but I say it’s hard to tell. I definitely would vote for him again
Let here be livid, who cares.
“Obama is LBJs Great Society paired with Nixons chronic dishonesty and FDRs dictatorial tendencies.”
And Wilson’s socialism.
Many years ago, I was in a restaurant in LA and the Gipper came in for dinner with Nancy & the Bloomingdales. This was after he left office but before he was sick. When he got up to leave, the entire restaurant stood up and applauded him. He smiled brightly and gave that wave we all remembered from his Air Force One photos. Wow! This from an audience of libs, don’t forget. So I think maybe I got to say “thank you!”
Well, where was Jimmah Carter ranked since he was almost as rank as Obumble!!!
He would probably be “alinskied” like Sarah Palin and painted as a right wing Tea Party nut by the press.
That was back in the day when liberal voters had class.
If there is to be any hope for a future United States of America it will reside in the tendency of the young to rebel. In 2008 it was “cool” to be an Obama supporter, I suspect it is becoming the epitome of “uncool” now, just as he himself is everyday seeming more an more uncool. I grew up in the “coolcat” era. In recent years I have come to dislike hearing the expression “cool” and referring to a man as a “cat” is likely to invoke a look of disbelief now.
“...LBJs Great Society paired with Nixons chronic dishonesty...”
The pairing is unnecessary. LBJ was even more dishonest than Nixon on his own.
Reagan is looked on today as more conservative than he was as president.
WHO are the many saying this?
Left wing pundits, GOPE?
Lucky you. :)