Ranking the President’s of the United States can be a very complex endeavor – however the Siena Research Institute does it every few years or so. Their most recent results came out in 2010. They typically survey a large number of historians and politicos and ask them to rate the presidents on 20 different categories on a scale of 1 to 5. They then weigh these categories to come up with the overall result and compare.
Lincoln tends to fall near the top every time a survey is given – for 2010 he is overall ranked #3, but let’s take a look at where he fell in each category:
Background (family, education, experience): 28th
Party Leadership: 6th
Communication Ability (speaking, writing): 2nd
Relationship with Congress: 6th
Court Appointments: 4th
Handling of US Economy: 5th
Ability to Compromise: 1st
Willing to Take Risks: 2nd
Executive Appointments: 2nd
Overall Ability: 1st
Domestic Accomplishments: 1st
Executive Ability: 1st
Foreign Policy Accomplishments: 5th
Leadership Ability: 2nd
Avoid Crucial Mistakes: 2nd
Your Present Overall View: 1st
Overall Ranking: 3rd
In my opinion – I think he probably should have been further down in the luck category – assassination doesn’t sound too lucky. The background category also seems a little harsh too. I think that ability to compromise, communication ability, and domestic accomplishments are spot on.
What do you think of these rankings – agree/disagree?
Data obtained from the 2010 Siena Research Institute's 5th Presidential Expert Poll. 2010.
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