National Good News

86 Percent of Americans Want Honest Leader, Poll From George Washington’s Mount Vernon Finds

Mount Vernon Estate (Photo by Susan Fleishman/The Zebra Press).

ALEXANDRIA, VA-With the presidential primaries and Presidents’ Day near, George Washington’s Mount Vernon has released a poll to find out what qualities Americans want most in a president. Eighty-six percent want a leader who is honest, promotes ethical leadership, and sets a standard for those who follow.

These qualities are steady across party lines with 90 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans in agreement.

Also important to participants in the poll is a president who promotes a peaceful transition of power. In fact, 86 percent – 90 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Republicans – said this quality is necessary. It is a precedent set by George Washington himself, when John Adams succeded him as leader of the country in  1796.

These results were determined through a nationwide survey in partnership with the University of Virginia  Center for Politics and the George Washington Presidential Library.

Researchers found that Americans value a president who respects the U.S. Constitution, promote unity, avoid extreme partisanship, and utilize caution in international concerns.

With the first president’s birthday on Feb. 22, the intent of the poll was to find out how Americans feel about the future of democracy. A summary of the findings can be reviewed HERE.

“The celebration of George Washington’s birthday is a perfect time to reflect on the qualities of a president that are necessary to ensure our democracy continues to stay strong for generations to come,” said Doug Bradburn, Mount Vernon President & CEO. “President Washington played a fundamental role in defining the governing principles that established American democracy, liberty, and stability. Our poll finds that the traits that were indispensable to George Washington remain important to Americans in the 21st century: strong ethics, respect for the Constitution, building national unity, and ensuring a peaceful transfer of power.”

The survey was conducted from Sept. 15 to 21 of last year by Project Home Fire with Innovative MR. It gathers the responses of 1,020 Americans throughout the country, which the press release about the study says, “is representative of the broader population.” The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. The poll used quotas based on U.S. Census Bureau data and poll averages of political party and political ideology to ensure respondents accurately reflect the country’s diverse makeup.

About George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Upcoming Celebrations

Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington is owned and maintained by the Mout Vernon Ladies Association. It is located at 3200 Mt. Vernon Memorial Parkway in Alexandria.

On Feb. 19 and 22, admission is free. Birthday celebrations will include a presidential wreath-laying ceremony, a Naturalization Ceremony for new citizens, a tactical demonstration by the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, a musical demonstration by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and a rare George Washington Presidential Library Open House, To learn more, visit

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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