[Reader-list] And the winner is...

Vivek Narayanan vivek at sarai.net
Thu Jun 30 11:51:38 IST 2005

More evidence for the infinite wisdom of polls?



Reagan voted 'greatest American'
* Former US President Ronald Reagan has been voted the "greatest 
American" of all time by his fellow citizens. *

Mr Reagan, who died last year aged 93, topped a list of 10 contenders, 
which featured six former presidents.

He edged out Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery, and civil rights 
leader Martin Luther King.

Some of the most notable names of US history such as Albert Einstein and 
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, did not make the top 10.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is the highest ranked female contender at 
ninth place, making her the greatest American woman.

George Washington, the first US president who is considered the father 
of the nation, comes in at fourth place.

Current US President George W Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton, 
whose presidency was tarnished by the Monica Lewinski sex scandal, are 
both in the top 10.

Top 10 greatest Americans
1 Ronald Reagan
2 Abraham Lincoln
3 Martin Luther King
4 George Washington
5 Benjamin Franklin
6 George W Bush
7 Bill Clinton
8 Elvis Presley
9 Oprah Winfrey
10 Franklin D Roosevelt

More than 2.4 million Americans cast their vote by phone, text or e-mail 
in the poll, organised by the Discovery Channel and AOL.

Some observers suggest the image of Mr Reagan, who was criticised as an 
intellectual lightweight during his presidency, has been enhanced 
following his death as millions of Americans cast a rose-tinted look 
back at his presidency.

His two terms in office (1981-1989) coincided with a period of economic 
prosperity, the crumbling of the Soviet bloc and a renewed sense of 
pride among Americans still reeling from the Vietnam War.

* Other greats *

In a similar exercise held in the UK in 2002, wartime Prime Minister 
Winston Churchill was voted the greatest Briton.

More than one million votes were cast to select the final 10 which 
included inventor Brunel and scientists Darwin and Newton.

In France, where former President Charles de Gaulle finished first in 
April 2005, the final list also contained two scientists, Louis Pasteur 
and Marie Curie.

In a poll held in Germany in 2003, former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer 
beat Reformation monk Martin Luther and political thinker Karl Marx into 
second and third place in a top 10 that included Albert Einstein and the 
inventor of the printing press Johannes Gutenberg.

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