Best US President since WWII PT.2


Kevin Conjalka, Contributing Writer

The Verdict?


The way we will be deciding who is the best is by looking at rankings by the Shaker students and rankings from various polls. I won’t be using any polls of people who live outside of the US because I think that the people in the US should make up their own mind and international opinions, often done by people who know very little and only watch their countries’ news, are extremely flawed and narrow-minded a lot of the time. 



We here at the Bison recently sent out a poll to students at Shaker asking them who their favorite and least favorite presidents after WWII were, along with the optimal explanation of their choice. The results were somewhat expected, but at the same time, some presidents did far better or worse than anyone thought. 

To start off, within the 139 responses received, every single president was picked at least one time as someone’s favorite. It was a squeaker with Kennedy receiving 26.6 percent of the vote with 37 votes cast, and Barack Obama coming in second by one vote with 25.9 percent and 36 votes. One student who picked Kennedy stated that “For Kennedy I think it was because of his plans for the future of the US.” This was most likely a reference to his views on civil rights and his plans to put a man on the moon, both things that would happen after his assassination took place. Another student wrote that “Kennedy was the last Democratic president that actually loved the United States.”

Obama on the other hand was able to get second by appealing to everyone and being inclusive. Multiple students said they voted for Obama because of his race relations with one student saying “I feel that it is time for change and first time in a long time Americans no matter Asian, African, Native American felt represented during the Obama Administration.” Another student said “He also made health care much more affordable for all Americans,” referring to Obamacare. Surprisingly a lot of people also voted for Obama for the meme with multiple students putting Obama as the best and the worst at the same time while writing for their reasoning “Obama” so that’s something to consider.

Overall the standing for the best president came down to Kennedy getting first, Obama getting second, Trump getting third, and Ronald Reagan getting fourth. After that, the numbers are a lot more skewed with many presidents receiving just 1 or 2 votes, however like I said before, every president did receive at least one vote which is a good thing.

As for the worst president, the numbers were almost as diverse. Like last time every single president got at least one vote for worst president except for one, that being Dwight David Eisenhower. This could be because Ike was president so long ago or because generally, he did not do much to offend anyone or make any big mistakes that we know about, so if there was one president that everyone could get along with, Ike would be a great choice to be an everyday person’s president. The worst president according to the students of shaker, receiving 40.3 percent  (56 votes) of the vote is Donald Trump. One student explains that “He has bigoted views, cut taxes for the rich” while another student said, “Trump is an idiot that did nothing good for our country.” It’s interesting that Trump received the most votes for the worst president, while also receiving the third most votes for the best, this really shows how much of a polarizing figure he is. Many fans and many enemies. The second worst president according to the list is Joe Biden, receiving 20.9 percent of the vote. One student said the only reason Biden got into office was “Many people during the last election voted for Biden for one reason, the reason why they voted for Biden was because they hated Trump.” Another saying “Biden has failed since he’s been in office. Gas prices have risen, illegal immigrants are flooding in, and he’s clueless on what to do. In my opinion, he will be hard to beat as the worst President.” 

Obviously, in both of these polls, the most recent presidents got the most votes, most likely because of the young age of the people filling the form out. It is also worth mentioning that New York is one of, if not the most liberal/democratic states in the nation, which is why Obama and Kennedy won so handily while Trump was voted the worst by a lot of people. The biggest surprise for me was that Biden got the second most votes for the worst. I expected him to get some, but a lot more people hated him than I thought, and they gave legitimate reasons as well instead of blind hatred, with some of the people voting for Trump not giving a good reason, one person saying “I think we all know why Trump is the worst president,” which is pretty vague. This again shows that we live in a very liberal section of the country with a lot of echoing opinions which explains the results a lot more (also one of the reasons I am doing this is to try to inform people about differing views).

The Nation


The people in the US seem to have some similar and some different opinions on the best presidents of the US since WWII. For example, a 2011 Gallup poll found that 19 percent of people said Ronald Reagan was the best president Overall, better than even Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. While a similar Gallup poll was done in 2010, which only included presidents since Kennedy, said Kennedy was the best while Regan took a close second. Another Gallup poll showed the same thing. This one from 2013, showed Ronald Reagan winning with Kennedy losing by a single percentage point. The most recent poll from Gallup, 2021, showed similar results. Kennedy in first, Regan in second.

Switching companies quickly to Quinnipiac, the 2018 Quinnipiac poll saw Ronald Regan winning over Obama who was second this time; the same poll also showed Trump as the worst post-WW2 president.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite presidents who is underrated in my opinion, Dwight Eisenhower, was not even an option in many of these polls as he is not seen as recent enough, and did not perform too well in the all presidents polls due to Washington and Lincoln being there. He has the unfortunate luck of being just old enough to not be recent while also not being good enough to be considered an all time great, just an upper-tier president which is nothing to scoff at.

A lot of these polls did not include the most recent presidents, especially Joe Biden or Trump. Most of these polls showed Richard Nixon as the worst by far with almost every single one rating him on the bottom.


So who is the best?

Honestly, I have no idea. I know, I know, sorry for baiting you but what did you expect? It’s such a hard question to answer given that every president has made mistakes. Even the good ones. Kennedy did the Bay of Pigs, Reagan invaded Grenada. 

I think it does come down to those 2 however, Kennedy and Reagan. I’m going to make the executive decision to remove Trump, Biden, and Obama from the picture as those guys are way too recent so I think that recency bias is a big thing (my article, my rules). I think it ultimately comes down to your views. If you like civil rights, going to the moon, avoiding nuclear war, and making the peace corps then Kennedy is your man. If you like fighting communism, patriotism, leading the nation out of a horrible recession, and having cool one-liners in speeches then Reagan is clearly the best for you. There is no easy answer to a question that many students, teachers, and historians debate about all the time. Sometimes I wish there was an easy answer, but to be honest, maybe it’s better that there isn’t.

If there was a so-called “best president ever” since WW2 that everyone can agree on, then every president since then would be compared to him and scrutinized why they can’t act like them more. Of course, this already happens, especially to people comparing republicans to Ronald Reagan, but it would happen way more than it already does. The reason I find history such a fantastic subject is because you can ask any question and there is never a sure right answer (don’t say multiple choice, doesn’t count). People debate and squander over the small details and that makes discussions so fun. History is not like  math where you can only be right or wrong. History is so amazing because if you say something that others think is wrong, you can defend yourself with arguments and put up a fighting chance and convince them that you’re right.

To end this I just want to say, if you disagree with a friend or family member over politics, please don’t make it a big deal. Politics are politics, that’s it, end of story. Don’t talk about it, and if you choose to don’t accuse them of being stupid or call them names. Listen to what they have to say. If we all do that then we can become a lot more informed and get along a lot better as students, as friends, and as family members in this community.