The Next Generation of Presidents

Marist National Poll

A majority of Americans (54%) say they would not want their child or grandchild to grow up to become President of the United States. 41% hope the child in their life would have such an ambition, and 5% are unsure. These proportions are little changed (53%, 45%, and 2%, respectively) from when Marist last reported this question in 2007.

Partisan differences exist. Independents (61%) and Republicans (53%) are more likely than Democrats (48%) to dissuade their child or grandchild to run for president. Democrats divide with 49% saying they do want their child to assume the highest office in the land.

Women (60%) are more likely than men (48%) to dislike the idea of their youngster wanting to occupy the Oval Office. Among Americans under the age of 45 years old, 50% say they would want their child to choose another career path. This compares with 58% of older Americans with the same view.

Why do people run for president? 51% of Americans, down from 58% in 2007, think people who run for president do so mostly for personal ambition. 39%, up from 32%, say they run mostly to serve the public. Nine percent are unsure.

“Despite a general sense of cynicism in our politics, there is little change in the past decade for families wanting their child to become president,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “In fact, there has been a slight increase in people thinking that those who enter politics do so for public service.”

Complete March 7, 2018 Marist Poll Release of the United States
Complete March 7, 2018 Marist Poll of the United States (Tables of Adults and Registered Voters)
Marist Poll Methodology
Nature of the Sample