More than 220 years after their bitter rivalry paved the way for the first partisan political parties in the United States, a new ScottRasmusen.com poll shows a strong majority of today’s Americans still have favorable views of both Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.
Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and served as our third president, earns overall favorable marks from 82% of Americans with 49% saying they have a very favorable view of him.
A smaller number–66%–rate Hamilton favorably, with 30% saying they have a very favorable view of him.
Hamilton served as our first Treasury Secretary and developed the nation’s Federalist financial system. But interest in his legacy has surged in recent years thanks to the acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton, which debuted in 2015 and has been a sold out smash ever since.
Despite the added attention, Hamilton is still less of a well-known name than Jefferson as well. Twenty-five percent (25%) of voters say they have never heard of Hamilton or don’t have an opinion of him. Only 10% of voters say that about Jefferson.
Both Jefferson and Hamilton enjoy strong popularity with voters from all demographic groups. However, older and white Americans tend to give Jefferson and Hamilton higher marks than younger and African-American voters (see crosstab results).
When they were alive, Jefferson and Hamilton frequently clashed over issues of state finance and the powers of the federal government. That dispute boiled over when then-Secretary of State Jefferson resigned from President George Washington’s cabinet in 1793 because he could no longer serve along with Treasury Secretary Hamilton. Seven years later, Jefferson was elected president and Hamilton and his Federalist Party began to fade from the center of the political scene.
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The national survey of 1,093 Adults was conducted January 14-15, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
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