The results of a Gallup poll conducted some 55 years ago show how these rankings can change over time. In 1956, Gallup asked Americans to name the top three greatest presidents. The top vote getter at that time was Franklin Roosevelt, who had died only 11 years previously. Roosevelt was followed by Lincoln, Washington, and Dwight Eisenhower, the incumbent president at the time of that poll.I feel that if subjects were given a list of all the presidents and asked to rank order them, rather than being given an open ended question, the results would be different. And people would be surprised to find out we had a president named after an orange cartoon cat.
21 February 2011
Gallup Presidential Poll
Gallup released a President's Day poll in which surveyed Americans put Reagan at the top of the president list. This is not particularly interesting but what was interesting is that Clinton came in at three, Obama at seven and W. Bush tied with Jefferson (!) for tenth. Why a milquetoast president, his present incarnation and the one many would like to have swiped from their memory sandwiched between them should be on list is a mystery to me. But as the Gallup pollsters say, it demonstrates an interesting psychological phenomenon, the recency effect.
Posted by Tantalus Prime at 10:35 AM