Being the “Leader of the Free World” is not a job that interests many Americans, though those who want the post are confident that they would perform better than the average U.S. president.
Ahead of President’s Day on Monday, YouGov asked Americans how interested they would be in serving as President of the United States for a day. Most (55%) say they are not very interested or not at all interested in such a role, with Democrats and Republicans equally likely to express disinterest. About half of men (48%) say they’d be interested in the position, compared to 31% of women.
Americans who are interested in serving as POTUS have a good deal of confidence in their abilities. More than three in five of those who are interested (63%) say their performance would be “much better” or “a little better” than the average U.S. president in history. One in six (16%) say they would be at the average level, and just 7% think they’d perform worse.
Republicans who want the job are more confident than Democrats that they would be better than the average POTUS (69% vs 59%). Men who are interested are also more confident than women who are interested (66% vs 58%) — though few members of any group of Americans both want the job and think they’d be especially bad at it.
Even if you include the people who don’t want the job, Americans overall tend to think that if they did become president, their job performance would be above average (43%). One in six (16%) think they would be about the same as past presidents, and 14% believe they would be worse.
It’s not just the Commander-in-Chief position that many Americans say they’d rather skip. When asked whether they would rather be the U.S. president, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 31% of Americans say none of these positions interest them. Of those who would take a role, they are split between president (27%) and Chief Justice (26%). Just 9% are interested in becoming House Speaker.
Men are much more likely than women to be interested in becoming president (35% vs 20%), but similarly likely to want the job of Chief Justice (27% vs. 24%) or Speaker of the House (8% vs. 10%). Women are much more likely to say none of these jobs interest them (37% for women vs. 24% for men).
See the crosstabs from this YouGov Poll:
- How interested would you be in being President of the United States for a day?
- Would you rather have the job of President of the United States, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives?
- If you did become president, how would your job performance compare to that of the average U.S. president in history?
Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 4,257 U.S. adults interviewed online on February 15 - 16, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.