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Survey lists top presidents: Lincoln, Washington, FDR; Obama 12th


    In the first time he’s been eligible for inclusion, Barack Obama is 12th on C-SPAN’S third-annual survey of historians on presidential leadership.

WASHINGTON >> Just in time for Presidents Day, a new survey of historians on presidential leadership gives the top five slots to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.

It’s C-SPAN’s third survey on presidents, and the first in which Eisenhower cracks the top five. In 2009, Eisenhower ranked eighth and in 2000 he ranked ninth.

Barack Obama ranks 12th on his first time in the survey of 91 presidential historians.

A member of the survey advisory team, Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, says it’s fitting that Lincoln, Washington and Franklin Roosevelt are the top three. And he says it’s “quite impressive” for Obama to come in at 12 in his first survey. Brinkley also notes that George W. Bush moves up from 36 to 33.

C-SPAN’s 2017 Presidential Historians Survey

Top 10

1. Abraham Lincoln

2. George Washington

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. Theodore Roosevelt

5. Dwight D. Eisenhower

6. Harry S. Truman

7. Thomas Jefferson

8. John F. Kennedy

9. Ronald Reagan

10. Lyndon Baines Johnson

>> See more of the overall rankings list

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  • Trump – 45th.

    His approval rating is dropping every day now. Trump’s feverish supporters are finding themselves in a fast-shrinking bubble of ignorance.

  • FAKE NEWS! What the so-called “news media” is failing to report on is that many of these votes came from illegal immigrants. President Donald Trump is clearly #1. He’s received tremendous, tremendous number of votes. It’s incredible. It’s incredible how much winning he is doing. We didn’t win in this country under, quite frankly, President Obama, but now this country is winning again. We’re going to win so much, believe me. Believe me… Oh God, please believe me… #MAGA

    • localcitizen,

      C-SPAN’s academic advisors devised a survey in which participants used a one (“not effective”) to ten (“very effective”) scale to rate each president on ten qualities of presidential leadership: “Public Persuasion,” “Crisis Leadership,” “Economic Management,” “Moral Authority,” “International Relations,” “Administrative Skills,” “Relations with Congress,” “Vision/Setting An Agenda,” “Pursued Equal Justice for All,” and “Performance Within the Context of His Times.”

      Surveys were distributed to historians and other professional observers of the presidency, drawn from a database of C-SPAN’s programming, augmented by suggestions from the academic advisors. Ninety-one agreed to participate. Participants were guaranteed that individual survey results remain confidential. Survey responses were tabulated by averaging all responses in a given category for each president. Each of the ten categories was given equal weighting in arriving at a president’s total score.

      That said, popularity contests such as this one are of little academic value as they often merely reflect the short-lived prejudices prevalent at the time.

  • Since this article talks about surveys, here’s one that didn’t make it on SA: “Slightly more voters find the White House more truthful than the media … In addition, most feel the press is tougher on President Trump than it was on President Obama.”

  • This survey is a joke. Carter over Coolidge? Wilson segregated the military according to race. It wasn’t until 1947 that blacks were admitted to the Marine corps.

  • Good journalism is no longer. This article is a bunch of garbage. Clinton the liar, Obama doubling the national debt, Kennedy with the bay of pigs, Jefferson wrote in the constitution: “all men are created equal,” yet he was slave-owner and so was Washington. SA shouldn’t print everything that the AP spits out.

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