Reagan Tops 'Greatest President' Poll

ByABC News
February 19, 2001, 7:33 AM

Feb. 19 -- The Gipper has won the latest Gallup survey asking Americans to name the "greatest U.S. president."

Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president, was mentioned by 18 percent of the respondents to the annual poll.

He was followed by John F. Kennedy, with 16 percent, and Abraham Lincoln, with 14 percent. Bill Clinton finished fourth, with nine percent.

The poll had a five percent margin of error, Gallup reported.

More men named Reagan than women. Responses were also split predictably along party lines: Reagan and Lincoln were the top choices among Republicans, and Clinton and Kennedy emerging as Democratic favorites. In the poll, Reagan emerged particularly strong among Southern respondents.

Rounding out the list was Franklin D. Roosevelt in fifth place, and Harry Truman in sixth. George Washington, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Theodore Roosevelt followed.

The poll has been an annual fixture of President's Day, the national holiday celebrated today.

Kennedy Topped 2000 Survey

Last year, Kennedy, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan finished first through fourth, respectively.

Reagan has drawn strong media interest in recent weeks, with extensive coverage of both an accident in which Reagan broke his hip, and his 90th birthday, which came on Feb. 6.

Reagan, a former Hollywood actor and California governor, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994 and is severely debilitated by the disease.

The poll also found that Americans continue to hold Lincoln in higher regard than Washington. More than six in ten would rather have Lincoln as president today than Washington, who was preferred over Lincoln by just 28 percent of respondents.