When asked to name the president who has done the best job over the past 40 years, a majority of Democrats name Barack Obama. Republicans, by contrast, are divided between a president who served in the 1980s – Ronald Reagan – and the one who left office this year, Donald Trump.
About four-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (42%) say Reagan has done the best job as president over the past 40 years, while slightly fewer (37%) say Trump has done the best job.
Around six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (59%) say Obama has done the best job as president of any president of the past 40 years. Far fewer name Bill Clinton (19%) or Joe Biden (5%), who will complete his first year in office next month.
Seven presidents have served in the last 40 years, four Republicans and three Democrats. Among U.S. adults overall, 35% say Obama has done the best job over this period, followed by Reagan (23%), Trump (17%) and Clinton (12%). Relatively small shares among both the general public and among Republicans name either George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush, according to the survey, conducted in September on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.