CNN Poll: JFK remains most popular past president
January 20th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: JFK remains most popular past president

(CNN)–It's a golden anniversary Thursday for John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner will mark the 50th anniversary with a tribute ceremony, that will include remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, at noon ET in the rotunda of the US Capitol.

And fifty years later, JFK's popularity endures. A CNN/Opinion Research poll indicates that most Americans continue to have a positive view of how the president handled his White House duties.

Full results (pdf)

"Eighty-five percent of all Americans approve of the way Kennedy handled his job as president, ranking him first among all the presidents who have served in the White House in the last half-century," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Thursday is also the 30th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's first inauguration. President Reagan places third on the list of historic approval ratings for presidents since almost seven in 10 Americans say that they approve of his job performance in the White House.

President Bill Clinton edged Reagan out of second place with a 72 percent approval rating in the poll. Of the ex-presidents tested, four received a positive rating along with Presidents Kennedy, Clinton, and Reagan: Presidents George H. Bush, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon Johnson.

Less than half the nation approved of two former presidents. Three in 10 approve of President Richard Nixon and 40 percent approve of President George W. Bush.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data of any news organization in the political landscape.

Filed under: CNN poll • John F. Kennedy • Polls • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. jeff, alabama

    He shared the same mistress with
    a mobster boss.
    He had the secret service procure
    prostitutes for him on the road.
    He dismantled some of our best
    missles during the agreement with
    Russia while they dismantled
    their obsolete ones.
    He called off an air strike at the Bay of
    Pigs invasion after the good guys were
    already on the beach and under fire.
    He was constantly supplied by his
    doctor with pain drugs to feed his
    He did not serve but six months during
    World War ll and it WAS NOT due to a
    back injury.
    But hey, he was handsome so that's
    all alright.

    January 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Ancient Texan

    He was considered a liberal Democrat, but in today's political climate he would be considered a right wing Republican in contrast to President Obama. He actually cut taxes and watched the revenues go up, just like they always do. Dems now claim that doesn't work.

    January 20, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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