C-SPAN survey ranks Obama as 12th best president

WASHINGTON — Just in time for Presidents Day, a new survey of historians on presidential leadership gives the top five slots to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.

It’s C-SPAN’s third survey on presidents, and the first in which Eisenhower cracks the top five. In 2009, Eisenhower ranked eighth and in 2000 he ranked ninth.

Barack Obama ranks 12th on his first time in the survey of 91 presidential historians.

A member of the survey advisory team, Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, says it’s fitting that Lincoln, Washington and Franklin Roosevelt are the top three. And he says it’s “quite impressive” for Obama to come in at 12 in his first survey. Brinkley also notes that George W. Bush moves up from 36 to 33.

Below is the full list rankings:

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  4. Teddy Roosevelt
  5. Dwight Eisenhower
  6. Harry Truman
  7. Thomas Jefferson
  8. John F. Kennedy
  9. Ronald Reagan
  10. Lyndon Johnson
  11. Woodrow Wilson
  12. Barack Obama
  13. James Monroe
  14. James Polk
  15. Bill Clinton
  16. William McKinley
  17. James Madison
  18. Andrew Jackson
  19. John Adams
  20. George H.W. Bush
  21. John Q. Adams
  22. Ulysses Grant
  23. Grover Cleveland
  24. William Taft
  25. Gerald Ford
  26. Jimmy Carter
  27. Calvin Coolidge
  28. Richard Nixon
  29. James Garfield
  30. Benjamin Harrison
  31. Zachary Taylor
  32. Rutherford Hayes
  33. George W. Bush
  34. Martin Van Buren
  35. Chester Arthur
  36. Herbert Hoover
  37. Millard Fillmore
  38. William Harrison
  39. John Tyler
  40. Warren Harding
  41. Franklin Pierce
  42. Andrew Johnson
  43. James Buchanan

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