Reagan's Economic Performance: Best POTUS since WWII

A recent poll indicates that Americans believe Ronald Reagan was the best president since World War II, and that Barack Obama is the worst.

The economic data support these rankings. Shown below are per capita real GDP and disposable personal income by quarter for the four presidents during the past half-century who completed -- and in Obama's case, will complete -- two terms in office.

Obama is clearly the economic runt in the litter, while Reagan outperforms all others.

Reagan and Clinton are in a statistical tie for real per capita GDP performance, but Reagan inherited a terrible economic legacy and a recession-prone economy from Jimmy Carter. Absent these factors, Reagan would easily have outperformed Clinton in terms of per capita GDP.

On the disposable personal income front -- which many would see as a more important indicator than GDP, it isn't even close. Reagan wins by a clear margin.

Overall, when coupled to his victory in the Cold War, Reagan's economic legacy helps cement his position as the best POTUS since WWII.

If you experience technical problems, please write to