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Americans Like Washington, Lincoln A Lot More Than Their Holiday

Americans have an overwhelmingly favorable view of George Washington, the nation’s first president, but very few consider his birthday which we honor today as a very important holiday.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 91% of American Adults hold at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the so-called Father of Our Country, a sentiment little changed for nearly four years. This includes 53% who regard him Very Favorably. Just four percent view Washington unfavorably. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

But only nine percent (9%) rate President’s Day as one of America’s most important holidays, down slightly from findings the last couple years. Thirty-one percent (31%) see it as one of the country’s least important holidays, while 58% consider it somewhere in between the two.

By a two-to-one margin (60% to 30%), in fact, Americans think Abraham Lincoln had a more lasting impact on U.S. history than Washington did, which perhaps gives some indication why many states also celebrate Lincoln’s February birthday on President’s Day. Still, this is a slight improvement for the first president from a year ago. The official federal holiday only honors Washington.

Ninety-three percent (93%) of adults view Lincoln at least somewhat favorably, with 68% who have a Very Favorable opinion of the Civil War president. Again, only four percent (4%) have an unfavorable feeling about him. This is virtually identical to findings in the July 2007 survey when Washington and Lincoln also ran neck-and-neck in terms of favorability.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on February 17-18, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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