It has been nearly six years since the last C Span poll on Rating Presidents took place in 2009, and now we have the American Political Science Association Poll of 162 Professors, scored late in 2014, and the differences between the two polls is startling.
First, the number of Presidential experts questioned is two and a half times as many now than in 2009.
But more than that difference is the ranking of many on the list, as for instance:
John F. Kennedy fell from 6th place to 14th place.
Andrew Jackson went from a tie for 12th place up to 9th place.
Dwight D. Eisenhower reached the highest he has ever been polled, up to 7th place.
Bill Clinton shot up from 15th place to 8th place.
Harry Truman fell to 6th place from 5th place, and Thomas Jefferson went from 6th place to 5th place.
Woodrow Wilson fell from 9th place to 10th place.
Barack Obama, not part of the 2009 poll, but ranked in 15th place in an early poll in 2011, ended up in 18th place.
James Madison (13th) moved ahead of James Monroe (17th) in the ranking, which seems odd when one looks at their Presidencies, with Monroe being 14th and Madison 20th in the C Span poll.
James K. Polk slipped from tied for 12th to 19th, which seems really strange.
Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson slipped one each, from 10th and 11th places, to 11th and 12th places.
This author disagrees greatly with this poll in many ways, including:
Kennedy being dropped eight places seems acceptable, except that to put Jackson, Clinton, and Madison ahead of him seems not very sensible.
Jackson is back in the top ten, but it seems wrong to move him up.
Clinton being in the top ten may help Hillary Clinton, but realistically, this author thinks he is much too high, and will eventually slip out of the top ten back to mid teens where he was. He has risen fast, being 21st in the 2000 C Span Poll and 15th in the 2009 poll.
Truman should have remained ahead of Jefferson, and in fact, should be moved up to 4th ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Jefferson, due to his crisis leadership, and will end up there in time in this author’s belief.
Wilson has been slipping constantly, from 6th in 2000 to 9th in 2009 to 10th now, but this author would put him a bit higher and ahead of Jackson, Clinton, and Eisenhower.
Obama slipped from an early 2011 poll of 15th down to 18th, but this author would put him back at about 13th, ahead of Jackson, Madison, and Monroe.
Madison being ahead of Monroe seems ridiculous for his Presidency, although Madison was a great man, but not very successful as President.
Polk being an “imperialist” is a negative image to many, but no one term President was as successful, and he should not end up behind many of those ahead of him, and should remain about 12th or 13th.
Reagan and Johnson dropping one position each is not a big difference, but this author would put Johnson ahead of Reagan.
The debate on ranking Presidents will go on, but these are my thoughts on the topic, and I welcome commentary and analysis on this issue of ranking Presidents in 2015!