In political studies, surveys have been conducted in order to construct historical rankings of the success of individuals who have served as President of the United States. Ranking systems are usually based on surveys of academic historians and political scientists or popular opinion. The rankings focus on the presidential achievements, leadership qualities, failures and faults.
Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and George Washington are most often listed as the three highest-rated Presidents among historians. The remaining places within the Top 10 are often rounded out by Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, and John F. Kennedy. More recent Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are often rated among the greatest in public opinion polls, but do not always rank as highly among presidential scholars and historians. The bottom 10 often include James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, and George W. Bush. Because William Henry Harrison (30 days) and James A. Garfield (200 days, incapacitated after 119 days) both died shortly after taking office, they are usually omitted from presidential rankings. Furthermore, Zachary Taylor died after serving as president for only 16 months, but he is usually included. In the case of these three, it is not clear if they received low rankings due to their actions as President, or because each was in office for such a limited time that it is not possible to assess them more thoroughly.
Political scientist Walter Dean Burnham noted the "dichotomous or schizoid profiles" of Presidents, which can make some hard to classify. Historian Alan Brinkley stated that "there are presidents who could be considered both failures and great or near great (for example, Nixon)". Historian and political scientist James MacGregor Burns observed of Nixon: "How can one evaluate such an idiosyncratic president, so brilliant and so morally lacking?"
In 2002, Ron Walters, former director of the University of Maryland's African American Leadership Institute, stated that Presidents ranked by how each one balanced the interests of majority interests and the interests of excluded groups was practical in respect to American debate on racial politics. Presidents have traditionally been ranked on personal qualities and their leadership ability to solve problems that move the nation in a positive direction. Walters stated there was a qualitative difference between white and African American intellectuals in evaluating presidents. In the 1996 New York Times poll by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 31 white historians and one black historian ranked presidents on differing categories of greatness. In a survey done by professors Hanes Walton Jr. and Robert Smith and in their text book American Politics And The African American Quest For Universal Freedom, 44 African American political scientists and historians ranked Presidents in terms of racial attitudes and racial legislation proposed. Individual presidents' attitudes, policies and perspectives were historically ranked in five categories: White Supremacist; Racist; Racially Neutral; Racially Ambivalent; Antiracist.
David H. Donald, noted biographer of Abraham Lincoln, relates that when he met John F. Kennedy in 1961, Kennedy voiced his deep dissatisfaction and resentment with historians who had rated some of his predecessors. Kennedy said: "No one has a right to grade a President—even poor James Buchanan—who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made his decisions".
Historian and political scientist Julian E. Zelizer argues that traditional presidential rankings explain little concerning actual presidential history and that they are "weak mechanisms for evaluating what has taken place in the White House". Libertarian political commentator Ivan Eland wrote a book titled Recarving Rushmore (2008; updated 2014) in which he wrote that historians' criteria are poor in their capacity to reflect presidents' actual services to the country. In the book, Eland chose to rate 40 Presidents on the basis of whether their policies promoted prosperity, liberty and non-interventionism as well as modest executive roles for themselves—his final rankings varied significantly from those of most scholars.
The 1948 poll was conducted by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. of Harvard University. The 1962 survey was also conducted by Schlesinger, who surveyed 75 historians. Schlesinger's son, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., conducted another poll in 1996.
The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents also gives the results of the 1982 survey, a poll of 49 historians conducted by the Chicago Tribune. A notable difference from the 1962 Schlesinger poll was the ranking of Dwight D. Eisenhower, which rose from 22nd in 1962 to 9th in 1982.
The Siena Research Institute of Siena College conducted surveys in 1982, 1990, 1994, 2002 and 2010. The 1994 survey placed only two presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, above 80 points and two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Warren G. Harding, below 50 points. The 2010 Siena survey had George W. Bush plummet from the initial 2002 ranking of 23rd down to 39th.
The 1996 column shows the results from a poll conducted from 1988 to 1996 by William J. Ridings Jr. and Stuart B. McIver and published in Rating The Presidents: A Ranking of U.S. Leaders, from the Great and Honorable to the Dishonest and Incompetent. More than 719 people took part in the poll, primarily academic historians and political scientists, although some politicians and celebrities also took part. Participants from every state were included and emphasis was placed upon getting input from female historians and "specialists in African-American studies" as well as a few non-American historians. Poll respondents rated the Presidents in five categories (leadership qualities, accomplishments and crisis management, political skill, appointments and character and integrity) and the results were tabulated to create the overall ranking.
A 2000 survey by The Wall Street Journal consisted of an "ideologically balanced group of 132 prominent professors of history, law, and political science". This poll sought to include an equal number of liberals and conservatives in the survey as the editors argued that previous polls were dominated by either one group or the other. According to the editors, this poll included responses from more women, minorities and young professors than the 1996 Schlesinger poll. The editors noted that the results of their poll were "remarkably similar" to the 1996 Schlesinger poll, with the main difference in the 2000 poll being the lower rankings for the 1960s Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy and higher ranking of President Ronald Reagan at 8th. Franklin D. Roosevelt still ranked in the top three.
Another presidential poll was conducted by The Wall Street Journal in 2005, with James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School for the Federalist Society. As in the 2000 survey, the editors sought to balance the opinions of liberals and conservatives, adjusting the results "to give Democratic- and Republican-leaning scholars equal weight". Franklin D. Roosevelt still ranked in the top three, but editor James Taranto noted that Democratic-leaning scholars rated George W. Bush the sixth-worst president of all time while Republican scholars rated him the sixth-best, giving him a split-decision rating of "average".
A 2006 Siena College poll of 744 professors reported the following results:
Thomas Kelly, professor emeritus of American studies at Siena College, said: "President Bush would seem to have small hope for high marks from the current generation of practicing historians and political scientists. In this case, current public opinion polls actually seem to cut the President more slack than the experts do". Douglas Lonnstrom, Siena College professor of statistics and director of the Siena Research Institute, stated: "In our 2002 presidential rating, with a group of experts comparable to this current poll, President Bush ranked 23rd of 42 presidents. That was shortly after 9/11. Clearly, the professors do not think things have gone well for him in the past few years. These are the experts that teach college students today and will write the history of this era tomorrow".
A 2010 Siena poll of 238 presidential scholars found that former President George W. Bush was ranked 39th out of 43, with poor ratings in handling of the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Meanwhile, the then-current President Barack Obama was ranked 15th out of 43, with high ratings for imagination, communication ability and intelligence and a low rating for background (family, education and experience).
The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership consists of rankings from a group of presidential historians and biographers. The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership has taken place three times: in 2000, 2009 and 2017. The most recent survey was of 91 presidential historians, surveyed by C-SPAN's Academic Advisor Team, made up of Douglas G. Brinkley, Edna Greene Medford and Richard Norton Smith. In the survey, each historian rates each President on a scale of one ("not effective") to 10 ("very effective") on presidential leadership in ten categories: Public Persuasion, Crisis Leadership, Economic Management, Moral Authority, International Relations, Administrative Skills, Relations with Congress, Vision/Setting An Agenda, Pursued Equal Justice for All and Performance Within the Context of His Times—each category is equally weighed. The results of all three C-SPAN surveys have been fairly consistent. Abraham Lincoln has taken the highest ranking in each survey and George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt have always ranked in the top five while James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce have been ranked at the bottom of all three surveys.
In 2011, through the agency of its United States Presidency Centre (USPC), the Institute for the Study of the Americas (located in the University of London's School of Advanced Study) released the first ever United Kingdom academic survey to rate Presidents. This polled the opinion of British specialists in American history and politics to assess presidential performance. They also gave an interim assessment of Barack Obama, but his unfinished presidency was not included in the survey (had he been included, he would have attained eighth place overall).
In 2012, Newsweek magazine asked a panel of historians to rank the ten best Presidents since 1900. The results showed that historians had ranked Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama as the best since that year.
A 2013 History News Network poll of 203 American historians, when asked to rate Obama's presidency on an A–F scale, gave him a B- grade. Obama, whom historians graded using 15 separate measures plus an overall grade, was rated most highly in the categories of communication ability, integrity and crisis management; and most poorly for his relationship with Congress, transparency and accountability.
A 2015 poll administered by the American Political Science Association (APSA) among political scientists specializing in the American presidency had Abraham Lincoln in the top spot, with George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson making the top 10. APSA conducted a repeat of this poll in 2018, with Donald Trump appearing for the first time, in last position.
Within each column:
Note: click the "sort" icon at the head of each column to view the rankings for each survey in numerical order.
|1||George Washington||Independent||02||02||03||02||04||04||04||03||02 (tie)||03||01||04||01||02||04||03||02||02||02||01|
|6||John Quincy Adams||Democratic-Republican||11||13||16||19||17||16||17||18||18||19||20||17||25||19||19||20||22||21||23||18|
|8||Martin Van Buren||Democratic||15||17||20||18||21||21||22||21||21||30||23||24||27||31||23||27||25||34||27||25|
|9||William Henry Harrison||Whig||–||–||–||–||26||35||28||35||–||37||–||36||–||39||35||–||39||38||42||39|
|11||James K. Polk||Democratic||10||08 (tie)||12||10||12||13||14||11||09||12||10||11||09||12||12||16||19||14||20||12|
|14||Franklin Pierce||Democratic||27||28||31||33||35||36||37||37||33 (tie)||39||37 (tie)||39||38||40||40||39||40||41||41||40|
|18||Ulysses S. Grant||Republican||28||30||35||32||36||37||38||38||33 (tie)||33||32||35||29||23||26||29||28||22||21||24|
|19||Rutherford B. Hayes||Republican||13||14||22||22||22||23||24||25||23||26||22||27||24||33||31||30||30||32||29||32|
|20||James A. Garfield||Republican||–||–||–||–||25||30||26||30||–||29||–||33||–||28||27||–||31||29||34||28|
|21||Chester A. Arthur||Republican||17||21 (tie)||23||24||24||26||27||28||26||32||26||30||26||32||25||32||32||35||31||34|
|27||William Howard Taft||Republican||16||16||19||20||20||20||21||20||22||24||19||21||20||24||24||25||20||24||22||22|
|29||Warren G. Harding||Republican||29||31||36||36||39||40||41||41||39||38||37 (tie)||40||39||38||41||38||42||40||39||41|
|31||Herbert Hoover||Republican||20||19||21||21||27||28||29||24||33 (tie)||34||29||31||31||34||36||26||38||36||36||36|
|32||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Democratic||03||03||02||03||01||01||01||02||02 (tie)||02||03||01||03||03||01||01||03||03||03||02|
|33||Harry S. Truman||Democratic||–||08 (tie)||08||08||07||07||07||07||08||05||07||07||07||05||09||07||06||06||06||09|
|34||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Republican||–||21 (tie)||11||09||11||12||08||09||10||09||09||10||08||08||10||10||07||05||07||06|
|35||John F. Kennedy||Democratic||–||–||13||14||08||10||10||15||12||08||18||14||15||06||11||15||14||08||16||10|
|36||Lyndon B. Johnson||Democratic||–||–||10||12||14||15||13||12||14||10||17||15||18||11||16||11||12||10||10||16|
|40||Ronald Reagan||Republican||–||–||–||–||16 *||22||20||26||25||11||08||16||06||10||18||08||11||09||09||13|
|41||George H. W. Bush||Republican||–||–||–||–||–||18 *||31||22||24||20||21||22||21||18||22||22||17||20||17||21|
|42||Bill Clinton||Democratic||–||–||–||–||–||–||16 *||23 *||20 *||21 *||24 *||18||22||15||13||19||08||15||13||15|
|43||George W. Bush||Republican||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||23 *||19 *||36||39||31||35||33||30||33|
|44||Barack Obama||Democratic||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||15 *||–||18 *||12||08||17|
|45||Donald Trump||Republican||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||44 *||42 *|
|Total in survey||29||31||36||36||39||40||41||41||39||41||39||42||40||42||43||40||43||43||44||44|
Note: Grover Cleveland was elected to two non-consecutive terms, serving as both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States—to date he is the only person to have achieved this distinction. Because of it, the total number of people who have served as president is one fewer than the number of presidents in order of succession.
The Murray-Blessing 1982 survey asked historians whether they were liberal or conservative on domestic, social and economic issues. The table below shows that the two groups had only small differences in ranking the best and worst presidents. Both groups agreed on the composition of nine of the top ten Presidents (and were split over the inclusion of either Lyndon B. Johnson or Dwight D. Eisenhower) and six of the worst seven (split over Jimmy Carter or Calvin Coolidge).
|Rank||Liberals (n = 190)||Conservatives (n = 50)|
|1||Abraham Lincoln||Abraham Lincoln|
|2||Franklin D. Roosevelt||George Washington|
|3||George Washington||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|4||Thomas Jefferson||Thomas Jefferson|
|5||Theodore Roosevelt||Theodore Roosevelt|
|6||Woodrow Wilson||Andrew Jackson|
|7||Andrew Jackson||Harry S. Truman|
|8||Harry S. Truman||Woodrow Wilson|
|9||Lyndon B. Johnson||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|10||John Adams||John Adams|
|30||Calvin Coolidge||Jimmy Carter|
|31||Franklin Pierce||Richard Nixon|
|32||James Buchanan||Franklin Pierce|
|33||Andrew Johnson||Andrew Johnson|
|34||Ulysses S. Grant||James Buchanan|
|35||Richard Nixon||Ulysses S. Grant|
|36||Warren G. Harding||Warren G. Harding|
According to a Rasmussen poll conducted in 2007, six Presidents—George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy—were rated favorably by at least 80% of Americans.
|Franklin D. Roosevelt||81||12||69|
|John F. Kennedy||80||13||67|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower||72||15||57|
|Harry S. Truman||70||14||56|
|John Quincy Adams||59||7||52|
|Ulysses S. Grant||58||24||34|
|George H. W. Bush||57||41||16|
|William Howard Taft||57||15||42|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||45||42||3|
|Chester A. Arthur||43||17||26|
|James A. Garfield||42||16||26|
|George W. Bush||41||59||−18|
|Rutherford B. Hayes||38||19||19|
|Warren G. Harding||29||33||−4|
|James K. Polk||27||21||6|
|Martin Van Buren||23||19||4|
|William Henry Harrison||21||16||5|
In addition, "Other" received 1%, "None" received 1% and "No opinion" received 5%.
These polls evaluate recent Presidents only.
A Gallup poll taken on November 19–21, 2010, asked 1,037 Americans to say, based on what they know or remember about the nine most recent former Presidents, whether they approve or disapprove of how each handled his job in office.
A Public Policy Polling poll taken between September 8–11, 2011, asked 665 American voters, based on what they know or remember about the nine most recent former presidents, whether they hold favorable or unfavorable views of how each handled his job in office.
A Vision Critical/Angus Reid Public Opinion poll taken on February 18–19, 2011, asked 1,010 respondents about 11 former Presidents plus the current president and whether each was a good or bad President.
A Gallup poll taken November 7–10, 2013, asked 1,039 adults in the United States the following question: "How do you think each of the following presidents will go down in history—as an outstanding president, above average, average, below average, or poor?".
|President||Outstanding||Above average||Average||Below average||Poor||No opinion||Weighted average|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower||10%||39%||36%||2%||1%||12%||3.63|
|John F. Kennedy||18%||56%||19%||2%||1%||4%||3.92|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||4%||16%||46%||14%||8%||12%||2.93|
|George H. W. Bush||3%||24%||48%||12%||10%||2%||2.98|
|George W. Bush||3%||18%||36%||20%||23%||1%||2.58|
Best President since World War II:
Worst President since World War II:
Four years later, a Quinnipiac University poll taken January 20–25, 2017, asked 1,190 voters in the United States who they thought were the best and worst Presidents since World War II.
Best President since World War II:
Worst President since World War II:
Including for the first time President Donald Trump, a Morning Consult poll taken February 9–10, 2017, asked 1,791 registered voters in the United States, who they thought were the best and worst Presidents since World War II.
Best President since World War II:
Worst President since World War II:
A Quinnipiac University poll taken March 3–5, 2018, asked 1,122 voters in the United States who they thought were the best and worst Presidents since World War II.
Best President since World War II:
Worst President since World War II:
|6||John Quincy Adams||Democratic-Republican||2||34||20||35||16||14||30||29||23||13||15||11||18||4||21||16||26||5||20||21||19|
|8||Martin Van Buren||Democratic||16||13||23||19||24||38||33||13||32||25||24||24||27||29||23||25||27||22||27||24||23|
|9||William Henry Harrison||Whig||24||30||25||31||33||27||42||35||30||24||37||35||36||30||33||39||24||31||33||34||35|
|11||James K. Polk||Democratic||17||9||13||12||21||15||7||23||7||16||17||14||11||24||9||8||10||20||9||11||12|
|17||Andrew Johnson||National Union||42||43||43||43||43||37||39||43||34||42||41||41||42||37||41||38||42||41||42||42||43|
|18||Ulysses S. Grant||Republican||26||28||24||22||25||29||21||22||22||40||28||26||26||27||34||24||21||29||31||31||26|
|19||Rutherford B. Hayes||Republican||29||33||30||29||29||26||19||18||33||33||33||32||33||28||30||30||32||30||24||29||31|
|20||James A. Garfield||Republican||20||22||22||24||32||23||41||27||31||29||25||28||25||25||26||31||23||26||22||27||27|
|21||Chester A. Arthur||Republican||41||31||32||27||28||19||14||21||27||26||30||25||20||32||27||26||28||32||17||26||25|
|27||William Howard Taft||Republican||14||36||29||30||18||20||32||24||36||22||23||30||21||18||25||23||31||18||28||23||24|
|29||Warren G. Harding||Republican||43||38||36||34||36||39||37||26||40||43||43||43||40||42||43||37||41||43||39||41||41|
|32||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Democratic||5||1||1||2||2||1||5||2||3||3||2||4||3||16||3||1||3||10||4||2||1|
|33||Harry S. Truman||Democratic||35||15||14||20||15||6||11||15||6||7||7||15||7||8||8||6||9||17||8||6||9|
|34||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Republican||12||17||21||10||9||11||8||5||20||17||11||20||13||9||7||9||7||19||5||7||10|
|35||John F. Kennedy||Democratic||13||19||4||13||12||7||27||6||10||6||14||7||15||35||13||17||11||11||16||14||11|
|36||Lyndon B. Johnson||Democratic||15||3||16||1||5||10||28||9||12||12||9||12||5||34||12||43||15||21||37||16||16|
|41||George H. W. Bush||Republican||11||27||33||23||34||32||26||16||29||27||27||31||28||20||22||14||22||24||18||22||22|
|43||George W. Bush||Republican||36||23||42||32||41||42||18||42||19||41||40||40||38||39||39||42||38||42||38||39||39|
|6||John Quincy Adams||Democratic-Republican||33||23||17||12||15||18||32||15||9||22||21|
|8||Martin Van Buren||Democratic||30||35||40||33||26||26||28||33||30||33||34|
|9||William Henry Harrison||Whig||28||38||38||31||42||40||38||36||37||38||38|
|11||James K. Polk||Democratic||13||9||14||27||16||9||11||11||36||12||14|
|17||Andrew Johnson||National Union||42||42||37||41||39||43||43||42||40||42||42|
|18||Ulysses S. Grant||Republican||19||21||27||19||19||37||20||23||10||21||22|
|19||Rutherford B. Hayes||Republican||29||30||25||32||33||29||30||32||32||28||32|
|20||James A. Garfield||Republican||21||31||29||22||36||32||27||25||20||27||29|
|21||Chester A. Arthur||Republican||37||32||31||35||35||28||29||34||27||32||35|
|27||William Howard Taft||Republican||31||26||20||25||21||12||23||28||22||24||24|
|29||Warren G. Harding||Republican||36||39||35||40||37||42||34||40||33||40||40|
|32||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Democratic||1||3||5||3||1||3||3||3||8||3||3|
|33||Harry S. Truman||Democratic||14||4||10||10||5||10||14||13||4||5||6|
|34||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Republican||12||6||6||4||6||5||6||16||12||7||5|
|35||John F. Kennedy||Democratic||6||7||7||15||14||16||12||9||7||9||8|
|36||Lyndon B. Johnson||Democratic||15||20||12||24||38||6||1||8||2||14||10|
|41||George H. W. Bush||Republican||23||12||21||17||8||16||15||27||16||20||20|
|43||George W. Bush||Republican||25||25||36||34||41||34||25||26||19||35||33|
On February 13, 2019, Siena released its 6th presidential poll.
In November 2014, Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto published a study in the journal Science asking research subjects to name as many Presidents as possible. They reported data from three generations as well as from an online survey conducted in 2014. The percentage of participants in the online survey sample who could name each President was the following:
William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.
Clinton was born and raised in Arkansas and attended Georgetown University, University College, Oxford, and Yale Law School. He met Hillary Rodham at Yale and married her in 1975. After graduating, Clinton returned to Arkansas and won election as the Attorney General of Arkansas, serving from 1977 to 1979. As Governor of Arkansas, he overhauled the state's education system and served as chairman of the National Governors Association. Clinton was elected president in 1992, defeating incumbent Republican opponent George H. W. Bush. At age 46, he became the third-youngest president and the first from the Baby Boomer generation.
Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. He signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement but failed to pass his plan for national health care reform. In the 1994 elections, the Republican Party won unified control of the Congress for the first time in 40 years. In 1996, Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected to a second full term. He passed welfare reform and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, as well as financial deregulation measures, including the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice following allegations that he committed perjury and obstructed justice to conceal an affair that he had with Monica Lewinsky, a 22-year old White House Intern. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in 1999 and completed his term in office. He is only the second U.S. president—following Andrew Johnson 131 years earlier—to ever be impeached. During the last three years of Clinton's presidency, the Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus, the first such surplus since 1969. In foreign policy, Clinton ordered U.S. military intervention in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, signed the Iraq Liberation Act in opposition to Saddam Hussein, participated in the 2000 Camp David Summit to advance the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, and assisted the Northern Ireland peace process.
Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II, and has continually scored high in the historical rankings of U.S. presidents, consistently placing in the top third. Since leaving office, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. He created the William J. Clinton Foundation to address international causes such as the prevention of AIDS and global warming. He has remained active in politics by campaigning for Democratic candidates, including the presidential campaigns of his wife and Barack Obama. In 2004, Clinton published his autobiography, My Life. In 2009, he was named the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he teamed with George W. Bush to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. In addition, he secured the release of two American journalists imprisoned by North Korea, visiting the capital Pyongyang and negotiating their release with Kim Jong-il.Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American engineer, businessman, and politician who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A member of the Republican Party, he held office during the onset of the Great Depression. Prior to serving as president, Hoover led the Commission for Relief in Belgium, served as the director of the U.S. Food Administration, and served as the 3rd U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Born to a Quaker family in West Branch, Iowa, Hoover took a position with a London-based mining company after graduating from Stanford University in 1895. After the outbreak of World War I, he became the head of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, an international relief organization that provided food to occupied Belgium. When the U.S. entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to lead the Food Administration, and Hoover became known as the country's "food czar". After the war, Hoover led the American Relief Administration, which provided food to the inhabitants of Central Europe and Eastern Europe. Hoover's war-time service made him a favorite of many progressives, and he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in the 1920 presidential election.
After the 1920 election, newly-elected Republican President Warren G. Harding appointed Hoover as Secretary of Commerce; Hoover continued to serve under President Calvin Coolidge after Harding died in 1923. Hoover was an unusually active and visible cabinet member, becoming known as "Secretary of Commerce and Under-Secretary of all other departments". He was influential in the development of radio and air travel and led the federal response to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Hoover won the Republican nomination in the 1928 presidential election, and decisively defeated the Democratic candidate, Al Smith. The stock market crashed shortly after Hoover took office, and the Great Depression became the central issue of his presidency. Hoover pursued a variety of policies in an attempt to lift the economy, but opposed directly involving the federal government in relief efforts.
In the midst of an ongoing economic crisis, Hoover was decisively defeated by Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. Hoover enjoyed one of the longest retirements of any former president, and he authored numerous works. After leaving office, Hoover became increasingly conservative, and he strongly criticized Roosevelt's foreign policy and New Deal domestic agenda. In the 1940s and 1950s, Hoover's public reputation was rehabilitated as he served for Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower in various assignments, including as chairman of the Hoover Commission. Nevertheless, Hoover is generally not ranked highly in historical rankings of presidents of the United States.Historical rankings of Chancellors of Germany
Historical rankings of Chancellors of Germany are surveys conducted to construct rankings of the success and popularity of the individuals who have served as Chancellor of Germany in the Federal Republic of Germany.Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia
Several surveys of academics and the general public have been conducted to evaluate and rank the performance of the Prime Ministers of Australia.
According to Paul Strangio of Monash University, there has been little academic interest in ranking Australian prime ministers, unlike the numerous surveys conducted on American presidents and British prime ministers. The few surveys that have been conducted have been quite unscientific, with respondents chosen at random and no efforts made to measure personal biases. Strangio notes that "the dominant methodology for studying the nation's leaders has been individual-centered biographies [...] the relatively small number of collective anthologies have treated each prime minister discretely rather than undertaking comparative analysis of their leadership performance, let alone contemplating qualities of greatness in the office".Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Canada
Historical rankings of Canadian prime ministers are surveys conducted in order to construct rankings of the success of individuals who have served as Prime Minister of Canada. Ranking systems are usually based on surveys of academic historians, economists and political scientists. The rankings focus on the achievements, leadership qualities, failures and faults in office.Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
The Times constructed a poll for the first time of all British prime ministers in the lead-up to the 2010 general election. Before this there were two polls in 1999 and 2000, carried out by BBC Radio 4 and the British Politics Group – both consulted only a relatively small number of experts. A wider-reaching poll was conducted in 2004 by the University of Leeds and Ipsos MORI. All rankings involved only prime ministers from the 20th and 21st centuries.Historical rankings of heads of government
The following articles describe various historical rankings of heads of government for different countries.
Historical rankings of Presidents of the United States
Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia
Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Canada
Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands
Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United KingdomJames K. Polk
James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the 11th president of the United States from 1845 to 1849. He previously was speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). A protégé of Andrew Jackson, he was a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican–American War; during his presidency, the United States expanded significantly with the annexation of the Republic of Texas, the Oregon Territory, and the Mexican Cession following the American victory in the Mexican–American War.
After building a successful law practice in Tennessee, Polk was elected to the state legislature (1823) and then to the United States House of Representatives in 1825, becoming a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. After serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he became Speaker in 1835, the only president to have been Speaker. Polk left Congress to run for governor; he won in 1839, but lost in 1841 and 1843. He was a dark horse candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1844; he entered his party's convention as a potential nominee for vice president, but emerged as a compromise to head the ticket when no presidential candidate could secure the necessary two-thirds majority. In the general election, Polk defeated Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party.
Polk is considered by many the most effective president of the pre–Civil War era, having met during his four-year term every major domestic and foreign policy goal he had set. After a negotiation fraught with risk of war, he reached a settlement with the United Kingdom over the disputed Oregon Country, the territory for the most part being divided along the 49th parallel. Polk achieved a sweeping victory in the Mexican–American War, which resulted in the cession by Mexico of nearly all the American Southwest. He secured a substantial reduction of tariff rates with the Walker tariff of 1846. The same year, he achieved his other major goal, re-establishment of the Independent Treasury system. True to his campaign pledge to serve only one term, Polk left office in 1849 and returned to Tennessee; he died in Nashville, most likely of cholera, three months after leaving the White House.
Scholars have ranked Polk favorably for his ability to promote and achieve the major items on his presidential agenda, but he has also been criticized for leading the country into war against Mexico and for exacerbating sectional divides. A slaveholder for most of his adult life, he owned a plantation in Mississippi and bought slaves while President. A major legacy of Polk's presidency is territorial expansion, as the United States reached the Pacific coast and became poised to be a world power.Memorials to Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States from 1861 to 1865, has been memorialized in many town, city, and county names, Along with George Washington, he is an iconic image of American democracy and American nationalism.United States presidential approval rating
In the United States, presidential job approval ratings were introduced by George Gallup in the late 1920s (most likely 1927) to gauge public support for the President of the United States during his term. An approval rating is a percentage determined by a polling which indicates the percentage of respondents to an opinion poll who approve of a particular person or program. Typically, an approval rating is given to a politician based on responses to a poll in which a sample of people are asked whether they approve or disapprove of that particular political figure. A question might ask:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?Like most surveys that predict public opinion, the approval rating is subjective. Many unscientific approval rating systems exist that skew popular opinion. However, the approval rating is generally accepted as a statistically valid indicator of the comparative changes in the popular United States mood regarding a President.
In contemporary politics, presidential job approval is highly partisan. Barack Obama in his last year as sitting president achieved a job approval of 70 to 90 among Democrats and 10 to 15 among Republicans, while President Donald Trump in 2018 has a job approval of 80 to 90 among Republicans and 5 to 10 among Democrats. Gallup polling has found that 46% of Americans are either "Democrats or Democratic leaners" while 39% are either "Republicans or Republican leaners".Washington's Birthday
Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. Since the Uniform Federal Holidays Act of 1971, its observance can occur from February 15 to 21, inclusive.Colloquially, the day is also now widely known as Presidents' Day and is often an occasion to honor all who have served as president, not just George Washington.The day is a state holiday in most states, with official names including Washington's Birthday, Presidents' Day, President's Day, and Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday. Depending upon the specific law, the state holiday might officially celebrate Washington alone, Washington and Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12), or some other combination of U.S. presidents (such as Washington and the third president Thomas Jefferson, who was born in April).Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was the 12th president of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor previously was a career officer in the United States Army, rose to the rank of major general and became a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican–American War. As a result, he won election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress.
Taylor was born into a prominent family of plantation owners who moved westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a Captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a Colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready". In 1845, during the annexation of Texas, President James K. Polk dispatched Taylor to the Rio Grande in anticipation of a battle with Mexico over the disputed Texas–Mexico border. The Mexican–American War broke out in April 1846, and Taylor defeated Mexican troops commanded by General Mariano Arista at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and drove his troops out of Texas. Taylor then led his troops into Mexico, where they defeated Mexican troops commanded by Pedro de Ampudia at the Battle of Monterrey. Defying orders, Taylor led his troops further south and, despite being severely outnumbered, dealt a crushing blow to Mexican forces under Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista. Taylor's troops were transferred to the command of Major General Winfield Scott, but Taylor retained his popularity.
The Whig Party convinced the reluctant Taylor to lead their ticket in the 1848 presidential election, despite his unclear political tenets and lack of interest in politics. At the 1848 Whig National Convention, Taylor defeated Scott and former Senator Henry Clay to take the nomination. He won the general election alongside New York politician Millard Fillmore, defeating Democratic Party candidates Lewis Cass and William Orlando Butler, as well as a third-party effort led by former president Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams, Sr. of the Free Soil Party. Taylor became the first president to be elected without having served in a prior political office.
As president, Taylor kept his distance from Congress and his cabinet, even though partisan tensions threatened to divide the Union. Debate over the status of slavery in the Mexican Cession dominated the political agenda and led to threats of secession from Southerners. Despite being a Southerner and a slaveholder himself, Taylor did not push for the expansion of slavery, and sought sectional harmony above all other concerns. To avoid the issue of slavery, he urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850. Taylor died suddenly of a stomach-related illness in July 1850, with his administration having accomplished little aside from the ratification of the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty. Fillmore served the remainder of his term. Historians and scholars have ranked Taylor in the bottom quartile of U.S. presidents, owing in part to his short term of office (16 months), and he has been described as "more a forgettable president than a failed one."