JFK And Reagan: Not On Any Ballot, But They Do Get Some Votes

Posted February 18, 2008 at 10:31am

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If this campaign has seen Republicans vying to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama revelling in the support of the Kennedys, there’s some good reason for it.

In Gallup’s President’s Day offering, it says a Feb.11-14 survey found that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are the former presidents that voters as a whole would like to bring back to re-occupy the White House. JFK and Reagan were each chosen by about a quarter of those surveyed. Bill Clinton and Abraham Lincoln rank next, followed closely by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No other President tops 5 percent.

Beyond Reagan and Kennedy, none of the other modern day Presidents get much notice from Republicans. Reagan is the clear favorite with 51 percent. Democrats are more mixed in their responses, with Kennedy first at 34 percent, Clinton at 24 percent and Roosevelt at 12 percent.

Independents choose Reagan at 21 percent, Kennedy at 19 percent and then Abraham Lincoln, Clinton and Roosevelt.

Unsurprisingly, the results are strongly influenced by who was President in a particular generation. Baby Boomers (50-to 64) favor Kennedy; Generation X (30-to-49) tilt to Reagan, younger adults (18-to-49 taken as a whole), are the most likely to choose Clinton and seniors more than anyone else name Roosevelt.