Taking a break from writing up interviews featuring Congresswoman-elect Ann Marie Buerkle, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and Senators Michael Nozzolio and David Valesky, I found this http://www.gallup.com/poll/145064/Kennedy-Highest-Rated-Modern-President-Nixon-Lowest.aspx?version=print" target="_blank">Gallup poll released today that takes a look at the most popular presidents of the last 50 years.

Two things: This includes nine presidents, beginning with John F. Kennedy (he took office in 1961).

However, it does not include President Barack Obama. It only focuses on past presidents and their popularity.

Gallup conducted a similar poll in 2006, so the poll also offers a look back to the numbers these past presidents received four years ago and how they improved (or declined).

The top performer: Kennedy. An overwhelming majority of respondents -- 85 percent -- approved of the job JFK did while he was in office. That is up one percent from 2006, when 84 percent of those surveyed approved of his performance.

Coming in second was Ronald Reagan, who enjoys a 74 percent approval rating in the latest poll, up from 71 percent in 2006.

Three presidents tied for the largest gain in popularity. Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson raised their approval ratings by eight points in the new poll. Clinton, who finished third overall, saw his approval rating increase from 61 percent in 2006 to 69 percent in the latest poll. Bush's approval rating increased from 56 percent in 2006 to 64 percent and Johnson's approval rating rose from 41 percent in 2006 to 49 percent.

Bush was fourth in popularity, while Johnson finished seventh.

The only president to see his popularity decline was Jimmy Carter. Carter's approval rating in 2006 was 61 percent. In the poll released today, Carter's approval rating is 52 percent.

George W. Bush's approval rating of 47 percent marks his debut in the poll. That is good for eighth overall among the presidents.

Richard Nixon finished last, with a 29 percent approval rating.

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