WHO WAS THE BEST PRESIDENT?

This poll is now closed

As the United States looks to the next four years, our eighth Big Question looks back at the last 223. On November 6th America will elect its 45th president—or re-elect the 44th. But, of all these presidents, who was the best? Four Economist writers, an MP and a film critic gave us their answers. Now it's your turn. Over the next few days we'll be publishing our contributors' views online, but our online poll is open now.

"Let your eye sweep across a photograph of Mount Rushmore...and you will see four men who have a strong claim to be America's greatest president," wrote the Tory MP and author Jesse Norman. He elected Abraham Lincoln, "a political genius who gained the presidency by charm and stealth". But three of our other writers also chose from among the Rushmore faces. Emily Bobrow, The Economist's online books and arts editor, went back to the first president, the "uniquely honourable" George Washington, while David Rennie, the Lexington columnist for The Economist, argued for the "indispensable presidency" of Washington's fellow Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson. Theodore Roosevelt, the most recent of the Rushmore presidents, "helped make the American president into the acknowledged leader of the free world"—in the words of Christopher Lockwood, The Economist's US editor. The film writer David Thomson, though, argued that it was Roosevelt's Democrat cousin, FDR, who became "the first president of the world". Finally, Anne McElvoy, The Economist's public affairs editor, argued for the "affable, inclusive and persuasive" Bill Clinton, who, despite his misdemeanours, changed the face America presented to the world.

Who gets your vote? Have your say in our poll, below. And if you’re campaigning for John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, John Adams, Harry Truman or even Richard Nixon, please let us know why. 

Abraham Lincoln

 
34% (218 votes)

Bill Clinton

 
17% (111 votes)

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 
17% (108 votes)

George Washington

 
8% (52 votes)

Theodore Roosevelt

 
8% (48 votes)

Thomas Jefferson

 
4% (28 votes)

Ronald Reagan (other)

 
2% (15 votes)

Ronald regan (other)

 
1% (5 votes)

Barack Obama (other)

 
1% (4 votes)

Barack Obama is my choice. Given his starting points, what an enormous amount of personal courage it took to identify himself as (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

Ronald Reagan, he was essential in bringing back hope and American Unity after the upheavals from the Vietnam War. (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

President Almighty Abba Father and Lord Christ Jesus (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

george bush (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

Reagen (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

regan (other)

 
0% (3 votes)

Dwight D. Eisenhower (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

Lyndon B. Johnson (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

JFK (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

Ronald Reagen (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

obama (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

Jimmy carter (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

OBAMA HAHAHAHAA (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

John.F.Kennedy (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

calvin coolidge (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

garfield (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

REAGAN (other)

 
0% (2 votes)

John F. Kennedy (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Ronald Reagan - He changed the world we all lived in. (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

I dont know (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Mu Mu (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

xdhfdfhh (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

yo momma! (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

J.F.K. (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Ronald Reagan...he made America a strong country in the eyes of the world and he brought down Communist Soviet Union. (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Lyndon Johnson. Rose to the Presidency unprepared, and oversaw the largest social changes the country has witnessed (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

NO ONE AT ALL FROM THIS LIST OPAMA IS.. (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

ronald reagan - he was a true leader (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

harry truman courage (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Richard Nixon (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

barrack obama (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Ronald Reagan -- He restored American pride and confidence, defeated communism and helped lead us to prosperity. (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Eisenhower (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

ronald reagen, bill clinton (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Tie of Lincoln and Washington. One had to found the nation; the other had to keep it together. All others are pikers in compar (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

wilson (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Millard Fillmore (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

King Tooley (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

George W Bush. (Because im ignorant) (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Matthew jytdjy (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

ronald reagan - Destroyng USSR, really change de world (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Gerald Ford (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

lydon johnson (other)

 
0% (1 vote)

Me (other)

 
0% (1 vote)
Total voters: 637