Trump on Par with Reagan as GOP Voters’ ‘Best Recent President’ Pick

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Conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump are the two recent US presidents considered to have done the best job during their time in office; this is according to Republican Party voters, per a public opinion survey by Pew Research Center.

Reagan and Trump have roughly equal approval scores among GOP voters, although Reagan does enjoy a small lead.


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The Pew survey on the most popular US president from the past 40 years was carried out between September 13 and September 19, 2021.

GOP Has Given America Two Highly Regarded Presidents in the Past 40 Years

When asked which president in the past 40 years has done the best job, 42% of Republican or Republican-leaning voters chose Ronald Reagan, while 37% picked Donald Trump.

Only 6% of the pro-GOP voters selected George W. Bush, and only 3% chose his father, George H.W. Bush.

Among Democrat presidents, Barack Obama was also chosen as best by 6% of voters identifying as pro-GOP; Bill Clinton got 5%, and Sleepy Joe, who’s managed to inflict numerous major crises upon America in very little time, was picked by less than 1%.

A demographic breakdown of the data from survey respondents shows that Reagan is more favored than Trump among older Republican voters.

Thus, a total of 50% of pro-Republican voters aged 50 and above chose Ronald Reagan, while 32% in that age group picked Donald Trump.


Only 3% of Republican voters in the 50+ group picked a Democrat as their choice for best US president in the past 40 years, compared with 19% of the pro-GOP electorate in the under 50 age group.

Among white Republicans, Reagan is the top pick for 45%, while 38% selected Trump as America’s best president in the past 40 years.

Hispanic Republican voters, at the same time, also favored Reagan, with 33% vs. 28% for Trump. A total of 27% of all pro-Republican Hispanic Americans, however, selected a Democrat president as their top pick of the past 40 years.

Pew said in its release that Republican voters of African-American and Asian background make up a small percentage of the GOP electorate; therefore, their views as groups couldn’t be analyzed adequately, due to the small sample size.

The Pew survey found 40% of Republican voters without college degrees selected Trump, while 38% of the group picked Reagan. Among pro-Republican college graduates, 51% chose Reagan vs. 29% for Donald Trump.

The survey also asked respondents about their choice of a “second-best” president of the United States in the past 40 years.

A total of 73% of those who chose Trump as a first choice selected Reagan as their second; among those who picked Reagan as a first, 54% chose Trump, 34% named another GOP president, and the remaining 11% selected a Democrat.

Obama Has Little Competition Among Democrats

The combined sample of both pro-Republican and pro-Democrat respondents, according to Pew’s survey, found Democrat Barack Obama is considered the best US president in the past 40 years by a total of 35% of voters.

A total of 59% of all Democrat and Democrat-leaning voters surveyed by Pew selected Obama as their top choice for “best president” in the past four decades. He is followed by Bill Clinton with 19% of the voters, and Sleepy Joe with 5%.


A large part of that might be due to the fact Obama doesn’t really have much competition in his party category, other than a scandal-marred Bill Clinton.

The poll found while Obama is the top choice among all age groups supporting the Democrat Party, this is more often the case among younger (74% of those below 30) and African-American (69%) Democrats, Asians (64%), and partly among whites and Hispanics (56% for both groups).