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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ranking Lincoln

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
Luck: 13th
Ability to Compromise: 1st
Willing to Take Risks: 2nd
Executive Appointments: 2nd
Overall Ability: 1st
Imagination: 2nd
Domestic Accomplishments: 1st
Integrity: 1st
Executive Ability: 1st
Foreign Policy Accomplishments: 5th
Leadership Ability: 2nd
Intelligence: 3rd
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.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I agree with a lot of it, but I think he should've been ranked WAY lower for 'luck'. HE WAS KILLED WHILE WATCHING A PLAY. lol, sounds like my luck. But this is pretty nefty.

  2. Carole Rae - I agree with you on the luck part. I would think that the 4 presidents who were assassinated should be low on the luck and those who narrowly escaped assassination should be a little higher.

  3. I'm always very interested to see how these rankings are done. A lot of times, it seems to depend on how far away we get from the President. The further back in history a President is, the more settled their position in history is. It's so interesting!

  4. Meg - I'm always interested too - mostly in the categories. I think they certainly covered all the important bases in this one. And I have to agree with you - I think the further back in time you are some of the anxiety and craziness stirred up has time to settle down and be more objective.


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