Obama’s Ranking in History


To those who claim Obama is the worst President in history… you clearly are not in the majority.

According to an aggregation of political scholar surveys, Obama ties with several others at #14… out of 43. He is considered a higher success so far than 66% of the other Presidents. The worst? Warren G. Harding. The worst in recent history (last 50 years)? George W. Bush.

The Siena College Research Institute has compiled surveys for almost 30 years, ranking Presidents on a 19-point axis including leadership, economy, communication, accomplishments, and relationships with congress. In the most recent surveys, Obama ranks #15… out of 43. He is considered of higher ability than almost 66% of the other Presidents; he has high marks in Communication, Imagination, and Intelligence, although low marks in Party Leadership, Relations with Congress, Foreign Policy, Crucial Mistakes, and Overall Ability. The worst? Andrew Johnson. The worst in recent history (last 50 years)? George W. Bush.

According to a 2011 Vision Critical/Angus Reid Poll on approval ratings of the past twelve Presidents, Obama was #8… out of 12. His 41% approval/33% disapproval was higher than Ford, Lyndon B. Johnson, G.W. Bush, and Nixon. The worst? Nixon with a 24% approval/54% disapproval rating.

According to a 2011 Gallup Poll on who the best President is/was, Obama was #7 of the highest with 4% of people. He had more supporters than Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, Bush I and II, Jefferson, Carter, Eisenhower, Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Nixon. The worst? Nixon had less than 1% support.

According to a 2012 Harris Poll on who the best President is/was, Obama again ranks #7 of the highest with 4% of people. There he had more supporters than Jefferson, G.W. Bush, Truman, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Carter. The worst? Bush II, Adams, Nixon, Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Coolidge, Wilson, and Ford all had less than 0.5% support.

According to a 2012 Gallup Poll on how recent Presidents will go down in history, Obama only had a 35% below average/poor rating. 10% said Obama was outstanding, higher than Bush I and II, Carter, Ford, or Nixon. 28% said Obama was above average, higher than G.W. Bush, Carter, Ford, or Nixon. The worst? Nixon, who had 14% outstanding/above average and 55% below average/poor.

The consensus seems to be that Nixon is likely the worst president in recent history. In the bottom are Carter, Ford, Bush I and II, Lyndon B. Johnson, Eisenhower, and Truman. Of course, moving even further in the past and you find Presidents considered far worse according to their failures, including Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, and Warren G. Harding.


Think about that these numbers the next time someone (or yourself) spouts that “Obama is the worst President in history!”. The key to critical thinking (and thus common sense) is to recognize when your own perceptions might be wrong. After all, in this heated and divided country, how do you know what you’re being told about him is true?

Snopes shows that only 14% of the claims about Barack Obama are true, compared to 41% of claims about George W. Bush. Worse, people have spread 141 rumors about Obama, compared to 46 about Bush; people are three times more likely to spread misinformation about Obama suggesting anything you hear is probably a lie or half-truth.

Politifact shows that 46% of statements by Obama are True or Mostly True, with 27% Mostly False, False, or “Pants on Fire”; compare that to Reid (28% True – 56% False), Boehner (32% True – 53% False), McConnell (38% True – 43% False), and Pelosi (16% True – 38% False). If Obama is less of a liar than other politicians, how can he be the worst in history?

Is it possible to not like Obama? Absolutely! He has backed a number of policies that have upset people on both sides of the sociopolitical spectrum. To claim, however, that he is the “worst” is hyperbole and not supported by anything, from polls to surveys to historical analyses to his reelection in 2012. Pick a specific issue, fact check it to make sure it’s true, and then claim you don’t like him because of said topic. Otherwise, when you go on and on about how he’s the “worst President in history” you sound like a moron.