As for me, I only knew Reagan as a president. As I learned his history, governor of California was next on the list and so I still only saw him as a politician. Reagan was a lifeguard at one point in his life. Those kids that grew up around him as swimmers under his watch, they would always see Reagan as a lifeguard. Probably whenever those former recreational swimmers saw a Reagan film, or as they might call it a picture, they saw him as that lifeguard guy in pictures. So when an actor-Reagan started showing a prospective political future, the movie going audiences as voters questioned "can a movie actor be a politician?" The swimmers were probably thinking "can a lifeguard be a politician?"
I'm sure those that only knew their State governor was Ronald Reagan and not some actor, would think "yeah, he can be president...he's the governor." So says a young Californian from between 1967-1975.
This of course goes without those above people not looking at the individuals political ideology, what they believe and have they put that into practice.