Past 10 Presidents Ranked By Post-Presidency Approval Ratings

George H.W. Bush has a positive post-presidency approval status. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /
George H.W. Bush has a positive post-presidency approval status. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

The president of the US, also abbreviated as POTUS, is the chief of state and the leader of the government. The US’s president also heads the executive arm of government and serves as the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces in the US. From a global perspective, the president of the US is the most powerful political figure in the whole world and is often seen as the only leader of the contemporary world superpower.The US has the world’s most expensive military that has the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. The president leads the nation that has the largest economy in nominal GDP and has significant international and domestic soft and hard power. Some presidents have had the highest rankings by post-presidency approvals.

Past 10 Presidents Ranked By Post-Presidency Approval Ratings

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy had the highest retrospective approval rating of 86% and the highest approval rating of any president in the US. Kennedy was the 35th president of the US having been in the office from 1961 until when he was assassinated in 1963. He holds the record of being the youngest elected president of the US at 43 years. He saved the country from a crippling recession from Eisenhower's era. He avoided nuclear talks with Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th elected US president. Kennedy has the second highest retrospective approval rating among all the Us presidents with a 72%. He served two terms from 1981 to 1989. Reagan was a Hollywood actor before he joined politics starring in a few movies. He was the governor of California from 1996 to 1974. Reagan was the target of an assassination attempt two months after his inauguration. The American people will remember him by his appointing of the first ever woman to the Supreme Court. Reagan played a critical role in ending the cold war as well as the destroying the Berlin wall. President Reagan died in 2004 in Los Angeles at the age of 93.

George H W. Bush

George H W. Bush is the third with the highest retrospective approval ratings of 64%, and he was the 41st president in the office from 1989 to 1993. Bush served as the 43rd US vice president from 1981 to 1989 under Reagan. Bush signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Gorbachev in 1991. He helped improve the relations between the US and Soviet Union. The US overthrew Panama dictator Manual Noriega in Bush’s tenure as president. He defeated Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm and liberated Kuwait. His tenure was rocked by a severe recession in the US; he lost to Bill Clinton in 1991.


According to the former Presidents Act, all former presidents living are entitled to a pension, a staff, and an office. The pension has been increased several times over time with the approval of the Congress. Currently, the retired presidents are entitled to a pension based on the contemporary salary of the cabinet secretary, which in 2012 was set at $199,700 a year. Some of the retired presidents may be entitled to congressional pensions if they had served in the Congress. Other than the pension, the former presidents are also entitled to travel funds and some franking privileges. President Obama signed legislation in 2013 that allows the retired president to receive a lifetime secret service protection, which at the time was only limited to 10 years after leaving office.

Past 10 Presidents Ranked By Post-Presidency Approval Ratings

RankPresidentRetrospective Approval Rating
1John F. Kennedy86%
2Ronald Reagan72%
3George H.W. Bush64%
4Barack Obama63%
5Bill Clinton62%
6Gerald Ford58%
7Jimmy Carter55%
8George W. Bush53%
9Lyndon Johnson48%
10Richard Nixon28%

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