Poll: Reagan Beats Obama as the Greatest Communicator

The Gipper edges Obama and Clinton as tops at the Bully Pulpit.

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When it comes to great presidential communicators, there is still only one in the recent modern era: Ronald Reagan. Try as they might, successive presidents have fought to knock the Gipper off that mantle, but the public won't hear of it.

The latest nominated by the media for that role is President Obama, rightfully for his recent addresses on the Tucson, Ariz., shootings and his State of the Union Address. Even former presidential campaign foe Sen. John McCain gave kudos to Obama for his unity call in Tucson, saying, "He is a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to advance our country's cause. I reject accusations that his policies and beliefs make him unworthy to lead America or opposed to its founding ideals."

Well, according to our latest Washington Whispers poll, Obama came close, but he didn't snatch the brass ring. Some 37 percent said that when it came to speechmaking, Reagan was the best. Obama came in second at 30 percent, followed by former President Clinton with 27 percent.

Pity the Bushes. When it came to picking the best speechmakers, George W. Bush scored just 4 percent. But that was twice as good as his dad, George H.W. Bush, who slipped to the bottom of our list with 2 percent.

The Whispers Poll

With his Tucson, Ariz., speech and State of the Union, Barack Obama has become the latest president to be called a great communicator. Of all the recent presidents, who do you think is the best speechmaker?

Ronald Reagan 37%

Barack Obama 30%

Bill Clinton 27%

George W. Bush 4%

George H.W. Bush 2%

Source: The Synovate eNation Internet poll was conducted Jan. 27-Jan. 31, 2011, among 1,000 nationally representative households by global market research firm Synovate.

  • See a photo gallery of Ronald Reagan.
  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.
  • See who's been visiting the White House.