Siena ranking: Roosevelts top two US presidents

We're fans of Teddy, but he ranks higher than Lincoln or Washington?

The Siena Research Institute released its ranking of the American presidents today, based on a poll of presidential experts. The top 10 from this most recent poll, along with previous years' rankings, are above.

Barack Obama ranked #15 in this latest poll. George W. Bush was #39 (that's fifth from the bottom). Here are the full rankings.

The presidents were scored on 20 criteria, ranging from "background" to "luck" to "leadership ability." (A bit more about the methodology is after the jump.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ New York presidents pop quiz
+ Teddy Roosevelt: badass

The methodology for rankings, from the SRI press release:

The Siena College Research Institute (SRI) Survey of U.S. Presidents is based on responses from 238 presidential scholars, historians and political scientists that responded via mail or web to an invitation to participate. Respondents ranked each of 43 presidents on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) on each of twenty presidential attributes, abilities and accomplishments. Overall rankings were computed by assigning equal weight to each of those twenty categories.


How can Obama be ranked without context, hindsight, or even a complete first term?

It is well know FACT that Teddy Roosevelt single handedly beat the entire Spanish military in Cuba, dug the panama canal with his bare hands, and posthumously willed Mt. Rushmore into his own image. All of this was of course done under a hail of gunfire, which had no effect on TR, as he was impervious to bullets.

Lincoln preserves the Union and ranks #3??

How does FDR rank first? He was one of the worst presidents of the last 100 years. With his inept, socialist economic policies, he prolonged the Great Depression by many years. Also, by giving to Stalin near the end of World War II, Eastern Europe was crushed under Soviet oppression for the next 45 years.
Here's my top 7, in no particular order:
Roosevelt, Teddy

Worst 5, in no particular order:
Johnson, Lyndon
Roosevelt, Franklin

FDR saved capitalism. Things were up for grabs back in the thirties. By the way, since when was Eastern Europe ours to give away? Or, do you think marching into Moscow back in 1944 would have been a cakewalk?

Rob, FDR did no such thing as save capitalism. For an in-depth read on the subject, google a report called "The Great Myths of the Great Depression", by Lawrence W. Reed. It's available at
Also, regarding the Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe, Churchill had the right idea toward Stalin, and was wary of him. Roosevelt gave in to Stalin's demands at the Yalta Conference of 1945. Because of his ill health, FDR was in no position to negotiate. Things could have been way different.

Wow... looking at the entire ranking list: LYNDON JOHNSON ranks ahead of both John Adams and Ronald Reagan?

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