popular opinion

Another “presidential ranking” thing to parse out, this one dips at opinions of the public at large.

Given the cross currents of cultural and historical fighting, this is where I would be curious to see a trendline of the same question asked through the past fifty years — and more. Some things will remain eternal — Chester Arthur (personal favorite of mine along with John Quincy Adams) will sustain at the top of the “Never heard of him”. But here we get a surprising net positive amongst Democrats for Woodrow Wilson — never mind students at his Princeton University had been busy toppling his statues. Still more than a slide. The question is whether in the post 9/11 period when the Bush Administration was harking to Wilson I an principles, would he have been higher in Republican polling? Does Nixon get a “started the EPA!” Bump from the Democrats with a collapse from “no longer have need to support him” dump from Republicans to converge with the “nonideolical screw him” line from Independents?

It might be a small hopeful sign in view of the presentism bias — noting Obama and Biden to the Democrats’ list at 1- 2, that Trump slides down to fourth on the Republicans’ list — still behind Reagan. Curious that historical luminaries Lincoln and Washington stay at their top — apparently Democrats need to assert their current Presidents or maybe Republicans need to assert a “1776 Project”.

I note the presentism bias is reasonable with a good rational basis, as in actual time and with an actual binary choice the meaning of approval for current presidents has a different meaning than, say, assessing the legacies of Truman — Eisenhower or Hoover — Roosevelt, or whatever. Though I would be curious on how Carter and Bush I ride in public esteem over the years — Bush may get a bi and tri partisan convergence — Carter is a curious figure who is harder to peg on negatives and positives.

Next up — dipping into the “no opinion” /”who?”s to see what the lists suggest on partisan views on the obscurities — if a small sliver of historical footnote have infiltrated liberal or conservative consciousness to up one or another.

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