Greatest American Not So Great to 76% of Voters

Posted on June 27, 2005
The Top 5 Greatest AmericansOn June 26, Ronald Reagan won AOL’s “Greatest American” online poll, receiving 24% of the vote.  Abraham Lincoln received 23.56%, Martin Luther King Jr. won 19.7%, George Washington received 17.7%, and Benjamin Franklin won 14.9% of the vote.

Chosen by such a slim margin in a highly fractured field of candidates, Reagan might not reflect the choices of the majority.  In fact, 76% of voters chose another candidate than Reagan as their first choice. Next year, AOL should consider using a system of instant runoff voting (IRV), which would require voters to rank as many candidates as they chose, and would produce a consensus candidate with majority support. IRV is currently used by Academy of Motion Pictures to decide nominations for the Oscars.

[See FairVote’s press release]
[How IRV works]

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