As you can imagine, as the first, and iconic, president of the United States, George Washington tends to fall near the top every time a survey is given – for 2010 he is overall ranked #4 (just behind Lincoln!), but let’s take a look at where he fell in each category:
Background (family, education, experience): 7th
Party Leadership: 18th
Communication Ability (speaking, writing): 12th
Relationship with Congress: 3rd
Court Appointments: 3rd
Handling of US Economy: 4th
Ability to Compromise: 3rd
Willing to Take Risks: 4th
Executive Appointments: 1st
Overall Ability: 4th
Domestic Accomplishments: 4th
Executive Ability: 2nd
Foreign Policy Accomplishments: 3rd
Leadership Ability: 1st
Avoid Crucial Mistakes: 1st
Your Present Overall View: 3rd
Overall Ranking: 4th
I think that this evaluation of Washington is pretty spot on. Being the first president you are sort of a shoe in for the luck, executive appointments, leadership, and avoiding crucial mistakes categories. The only ranking that I was a little bit surprised with was communication ability. Granted, I know that many of his speeches were written for him (whose aren’t these days?) but he is always described as being a commanding speaker. I would have thought it would have been a little higher. I also might have thought background might have been a little lower. He didn’t go to college and didn’t come from the elite class of landed gentry like many believe that he did. He was more of a learn as you go from your mistakes sort of guy. To make a comparison to Lincoln, it’s not surprising to me that in the categories where he was first or second, Lincoln typically had the other position – they both seem to go hand in hand in those categories.
What do you think of these rankings – agree/disagree? Most people have a decent working knowledge of Lincoln and Washington – who would you rank higher?
Data obtained from the 2010 Siena Research Institute's 5th Presidential Expert Poll. 2010.
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