Historians rank Obama our 12th best president
A C-SPAN survey of 91 presidential historians ranks Barack Obama as the 12th best U.S. president in the nation’s history.
Abraham Lincoln was ranked at the top of the list, followed in order by George Washington and the two Roosevelts, Franklin and Theodore. The worst were James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, the presidents who served just before and just after Lincoln.
Some presidents rise or fall in these periodic surveys of historians. Ulysses Grant, for example, has moved from the bottom quarter of the pack to the middle in the past 17 years.
Harry Truman’s situation is especially telling. He was quite unpopular when he left the White House in 1953. The Gallup poll rated his public approval at just 22 percent. But history has been much kinder. He now ranks 6th on the all-time list.
It seems likely that Obama will move up or down on the list in the coming years. In this first ranking of his presidency, he scored well on managing the economy and exuding “moral authority” but not so well in handling international relations. His standing in the polls was above 50 percent when he left office, perhaps partly because his successor, Donald Trump, was not especially popular.
Some readers likely will disagree with the high rank Obama gets from historians. But that’s mostly irrelevant. Only time will tell how highly he’ll be regarded by historians over the long run.