Barack Obama ranks as the 12th best leader in U.S. presidential history, according to a new survey of 91 presidential historians conducted by C-SPAN.
The panel placed the 44th president just below Woodrow Wilson and just above James Monroe.
It’s the third such survey by the organization, which began polling the panel of presidential experts in 2000. The poll ranks each U.S. president on a battery of issues, including “crisis leadership,” “moral authority,” “international relations” and “pursuing equal justice for all.”
Obama scored particularly high on the “equal justice” scale, coming in third behind only Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. He also cracked the top ten on the issues of “moral authority” and “economic management.”
But Obama ranked fifth from the bottom on “relations with Congress,” and got a middling 24th best score on “international relations.”
Historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University says that Obama’s presidency, despite its weak points, may age well and notch an even higher ranking as time passes.
“There tends to be kind of an upward mobility, particularly if you are a president who had no major scandals,” he said, noting that presidents are also often judged in comparison to their immediate predecessors and successors. “If the Trump presidency is problematic, people may judge Obama even higher yet.”
For the third time in a row, Abraham Lincoln ranked as the nation’s best presidential leader, according to the panel. George Washington came in second, and Franklin D. Roosevelt rounded out the podium at third.
Others in the top ten are: Theodore Roosevelt (4), Dwight Eisenhower (5), Harry Truman (6), Thomas Jefferson (7), John F. Kennedy (8), Ronald Reagan (9) and Lyndon Johnson (10).