18, February 2017
Barack Obama has been rated as the 12th best American president a month after leaving the office, according to a new survey. C-SPAN’s 2017 presidential historians survey published on Friday put the first African American president between former heads of state Woodrow Wilson (No. 11) and James Monroe (No. 13) and outranking Bill Clinton (No. 15)
The 91 historians who were consulted for the survey gave Obama and 42 other commanders in chief a score of one to 10 on 10 different “qualities of presidential leadership,” including “economic management,” “vision/setting an agenda,” “relations with Congress,” “crisis leadership” and “public persuasion.”
He ranked 10th on public persuasion, 15th on crisis leadership, 8th on economic management, 7th on moral authority, and 24th on international relations. Obama was the 19th president in terms of administrative skills and 39th in terms of relations with Congress. The former president, who left the office with a notable 57 percent job approval rating, ranked third when it came to pursuing equal justice for all.
“Although 12th is a respectable overall ranking, one would have thought that former President Obama’s favorable rating when he left office would have translated into a higher ranking in this presidential survey,” said Edna Greene Medford, a Howard University history professor and one of the survey’s advisers.
“But, of course, historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy,” she added. Topping the overall list was Abraham Lincoln, the 16th American 16th president known for abolishing slavery and leading the Union through the Civil War.
George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower ranked below Lincoln. The country’s 15th president James Buchanan, whose presidency preceded the Civil War, took the bottom spot.