Rating the Presidents, 2017

Today C-SPAN released the 2017 version of its rankings of the presidents. Yours truly was one of the 91 scholars who participated.

Given how popular Gordon Wood appears to be with some bloggers, I wonder what those folks will make of the fact that we’re both on the same panel. 🙂


7 thoughts on “Rating the Presidents, 2017

  1. Shoshana Bee February 18, 2017 / 12:46 am

    In my line of work, I look at lists of numbers in columns and extrapolate trends at a glance (I have to be fast, or I risk being replaced by a computer) Looking at the overall trend for the presidential rankings at a glance, I was personally satisfied to see that U. S. Grant was the most rehabilitated over the survey period, followed by Bill Clinton (Grant improved by 11 places, Clinton by 6, respectively) On the other end of the spectrum, we have Hayes and Cleveland tied for largest drop in popularity (both dropped by 6 places since 2000). Lincoln, Jefferson, and Taft remain unchanged in their places for all three years.

    The first four places remain almost unchanged over the years surveyed. I found this most interesting, However, the president that I was most interested in was Thomas Jefferson. Why? Because in recent years there has been much dialogue on his attitudes about slavery, hypocrisy, questionable role modeling, etc. I expected to see a drop. I was somewhat relieved to see that those surveyed seemed unaffected by popular culture’s fickle towards its historical rock stars:Jefferson was one of the three presidents who did not change status over the three years surveyed.

    Next: I will rank my favourite elements on the Periodical Table 🙂

  2. Mark Snell February 18, 2017 / 7:05 am

    How was it possible to rate William Henry Harrison when he died only 32 days into his administration? His platform? Choice of running mate? I also noticed that there were many historians on the panel whose field was NOT presidential history. As far as President Obama being listed, don’t historians need “time and space” to make an objective assessment?

  3. Joshism February 18, 2017 / 8:31 am

    The Smithsonian Museum of American History had an exhibit on the US Presidents when I was there a few months ago. Visitors could use a touch screen to vote for their favorite president. After voting you could see the current ranking of votes.

    The top ranked presidents were the usual two (Lincoln and Washington) followed by Reagan, Obama, and Bush II (not necessarily in that exact order) before picking up with the usual suspects like FDR and TR. I thought it said alot about how skewed the public’s opinion of the presidency is.

  4. John Foskett February 18, 2017 / 8:57 am

    An interesting set of results with much for debate. Harding, for example. What were the criteria (if any)? And what did you think of the NHL 100? 🙂

  5. Mark Pethke February 19, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    On the contrary, I wonder if Jefferson’s “rock star” status is the only thing keeping him in the Top Ten. He’s the poster child for the notion that second terms can be disastrous for Presidential reputations. The Louisiana Purchase must count for an awful lot in historian’s estimations, because The Embargo Act and other second term misadventures would surely sink him otherwise.

  6. hankc9174 February 19, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    I’m always surprised at Ike’s high ratings. He did a good job of maintaining the status quo but i’m hard-pressed to name any advances on his presidential watch.

  7. TFSmith February 20, 2017 / 11:34 am

    DDE did order the 101st Airborne into Arkansas to enforce de-segregation, and federalized the Arkansas NG to take the force out of the hands of Faubus, setting the standard for the remainder of the Civil Rights Era – and he issued the MIC warning, which certainly has echoes to today.

    And he managed to avoid stumbling into Vietnam in support of the French in 1954 and the British, French, and Israelis in Egypt in 1956.

    Please delete the previous version.

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