Bill Clinton most admired president of the last 25 years, poll finds

Asked which president they admired most, 42 percent named the 42nd president

George H.W. Bush
President-elect Barack Obama is welcomed by President George W. Bush for a meeting at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, with former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Who's the most admired American president of the last 25 years?

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg Survey, that would be Bill Clinton.

Asked which U.S. president of the past 25 years they admired most, 42 percent named the 42nd president — more than twice the percentage of any other president.

The other three received roughly the same amount of admirers: President Barack Obama (18 percent), President George W. Bush (17 percent) and President George H. W. Bush (16 percent).

The poll of 1,238 adults was conducted June 2-8 — about a week before the elder Bush made headlines for celebrating his 90th birthday with a skydive.

The admiration for Clinton, the pollsters noted, underscores "how much he has done to burnish his profile" since leaving the White House in 2001.

But Clinton, who has done extensive philanthropic work through his Clinton Global Initiative, was already admired by many when he left office.

His approval rating at the end of his second term was 66 percent — the highest of any of the four presidents who've served in last quarter-century. George W. Bush's approval rating was 34 percent when he left the office in 2001, and George H. W. Bush had a 56 percent approval rating in 1993.

According to a Gallup taken in early June, President Obama's approval rating was 44 percent.

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