Obama, Bush 41 top New Yorkers’ list of favorite presidents

Legislative Gazette photo by Kelly Fay
President Barack Obama is among New Yorkers’ favorite living presidents, according to a new Siena Poll. Donald Trump is at the bottom of our list.

According to a recent poll, Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush have earned the distinction of being New Yorkers’ two favorite living presidents, while current President Donald Trump falls to the bottom of the list.

The poll, which was released Thursday, February 15 by the Siena College Research Institute, asked respondents for their opinions on all living presidents. Obama polled with a 67 percent favorable rating, with 87 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of independents and 25 percent of Republicans in support. Bush 41 came in a close second with a 61 percent favorable rating, earning the support of 72 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats.

“New Yorkers still think Obama is a rock star, that is other than Republicans, two-thirds of whom view Obama unfavorably,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “Bush 41, the only living president to crack the ideological triple crown, is viewed favorably by three-quarters of Republicans, two-thirds of independents and a majority of Democrats.”

Finishing out the list came Jimmy Carter in third with 60 percent favorable, Bill Clinton at 59 percent, George W. Bush at 45 percent and Trump with 33 percent.

The poll was not all bad news for President Trump. His job performance rating has risen 13 points since January, yet still remains negative 29-70. That is up from negative 23-77, remains higher than the favorable ratings for Congressional Democrats (20-78) and Congressional Republicans (15-83).


Both of New York’s Senators – Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, dipped several points in their favorability ratings.

Schumer, who took over as minority leader in the Senate last January, fell to his lowest rating ever in a Siena College poll with 52 percent approving and 39 percent disapproving. In January, Schumer held a 59-32 rating.

“As one of the main faces of the opposition in Washington, Schumer is now viewed unfavorably by three-quarters of Republicans,” Greenberg said. “Just 14 months ago he had an overall 67-23 percent favorability rating, including 55-37 percent with Republicans.”

At the same time, Kirsten Gillibrand, who faces reelection this November and has stoked rumors of a potential presidential run in 2020, also took a slight hit in her favorability ratings. Gillibrand now sits at 48-27, down from 51-23 in January. One quarter of voters responded saying they don’t know enough about her to base an opinion.

Gillibrand remains the favorite for reelection this November, with 47 percent of voters saying they would vote to reelect her and 32 percent saying they’d prefer someone else – down from 50-32 percent last month. Her opponent, Republican fundraiser and private equity executive Chele Chiavacci Farley remains virtually unknown, with 6 percent favorable, 6 percent unfavorable and 89 percent not knowing enough.

“Gillibrand, facing statewide voters for the third time, the first since 2012, has a strong plurality of voters who view her favorably and a narrower plurality prepared to re-elect her, but one quarter of New York voters don’t know enough about their 8-year junior senator to have an opinion about her,” Greenberg said. “On the other hand, the nascent Republican candidacy of Farley has a lot of work to do, as she is virtually unknown to New Yorkers.”

The Siena College poll was conducted February 5-8, 2018 by telephone calls in English to 823 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.