Voters Would Bring Back Reagan or Clinton From the Last 50 Years


High Point University National PollHIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 2, 2012 – As Americans prepare to cast their votes for the next president of the United States on Nov. 6, the HPU Poll asked registered voters to reminisce on which president they would bring back from the last 50 years to serve as president again.

Approximately 34 percent of those surveyed across the country said they would bring back former President Ronald Reagan, while another 29 percent say they would bring back former President Bill Clinton. Former President John F. Kennedy also received 16 percent of the vote.

In addition to the national poll, a North Carolina sample was taken regarding the same question that revealed similar results. Of registered voters in North Carolina, 35 percent said they’d bring back Reagan as president, 33 percent said they’d bring back Clinton, and 15 percent said they’d bring back Kennedy.

The findings could give some insight into voters’ choices this Election Day, says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll.

“These choices give us some insight into the kinds of qualities people are looking for in a president,” Kifer says. “And although a lot of what people are saying reflects their own partisan affiliations, there are some hints here about which presidents have stronger legacies.”

Past Presidents Question

In the United States (50 states):

Thinking about people – living and dead – who have served as president during the last 50 years, who would you most like to see serve as president again?

George W. Bush – 3 percent

Bill Clinton – 29 percent

George H.W. Bush – 3 percent

Ronald Reagan – 34 percent

Jimmy Carter – 3 percent

Gerald Ford – Less than 1 percent

Richard Nixon – 1 percent

Lyndon Johnson – 1 percent

John F. Kennedy – 16 percent

None of them – 7 percent

Don’t know – 4 percent

Refused – Less than 1 percent

In the North Carolina oversample:   

George W. Bush – 2 percent

Bill Clinton – 33 percent

George H.W. Bush – 2 percent

Ronald Reagan – 35 percent

Jimmy Carter – 2 percent

Gerald Ford – Less than 1 percent

Richard Nixon – 1 percent

Lyndon Johnson – 1 percent

John F. Kennedy – 15 percent

None of them – 6 percent

Don’t know – 4 percent

Refused – Less than 1 percent

The survey was fielded by the Telephone Centre, Inc of Greensboro, N.C. from Oct. 22 to Oct. 30, 2012. The responses for the National Sample came from 805 registered voters with landline or cellular telephones. The North Carolina portion of the survey comprises an oversample of 403 registered voters. In total, the Telephone Centre conducted 1,208 interviews. All respondents are contacted through phone numbers attached to state Board of Elections registration data. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International and Aristotle International to acquire these registered voter samples. The national portion of the survey has a margin of sampling error of approximately 3.45 percentage points. The North Carolina portion of the survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 5 percentage points. The data are weighted when appropriate toward population estimates for age, gender and race. For the national sample, which was weighted toward population estimates for gender, the population estimates came from U.S. Census estimates of the registered voting population of the U.S. For North Carolina, the population estimates for race were taken from North Carolina Board of Elections data from the week of Oct. 27. The population estimates for age and gender were taken from the U.S. Census estimates of registered voters for North Carolina. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

Further results and methodological details from the survey and can be found at the Survey Research Center website at

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