The Historical Figure That Over 40% Of People Want To Run America

In a time of increasing political polarization and crises — chief among them the novel coronavirus pandemic — it's little surprise that many in the public wonder what it would be like for historical figures to handle today's challenges. In that vein, Grunge asked 518 people across the country "which historical figure would you want to run the United States?"

Ironically, many respondents answered with historical figures who weren't American. For example, one popular choice, with 10.62 percent of the vote, was late Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill. Churchill was known for leading the U.K. against the Nazis during World War II. He is not only the most popular Prime Minister of the U.K. of all time (per YouGov), but he also ranks as the 96th most popular person of all time.

There were two other Brits who also made it onto the list. One was Richard the Lionheart (of Robin Hood fame), who earned 6.18 percent of the vote. The other was Queen Elizabeth II, who was awarded the top honor from 4.63 percent of respondents.

The two most popular choices were American

Coming in second place was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who earned 20.85 percent of the vote. Though she is certainly well known as the spouse of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor is widely respected in her own right, as Britannica explains. She was pivotal in the advancement of women's empowerment, implementing White House press conferences for female correspondents, and requiring that all wire services employed at least one woman. In addition, she worked as a teacher, volunteered with the Red Cross during World War I, and later served as a diplomat to the United Nations (per

However, the far and away favorite choice among participants was Abraham Lincoln, who won over 40 percent of replies — 41.12 percent, to be exact. Lincoln led the nation through the Civil War and was pivotal in passing the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery across the country. Honest Abe wins top marks not just from respondents, but also from historians, and a recent survey of 100 leaders in the U.S. history field ranked Lincoln as the greatest president of all time, per Business Insider.

Though the prompt asked for historical figures, several respondents wrote in present-day politicians as their answers. A popular write-in was former President Donald Trump. Current President Joe Biden was also listed a handful of times, and former President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders were also mentioned. Other historical figures who were suggested included late Presidents Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.