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Obama ranked 15th best US President

Barack Obama has been ranked as the 15th best president of the United States, two ranks below Bill Clinton in a new poll which is topped by Franklin D Roosevelt.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2010 14:46 IST

Barack Obama has been ranked as the 15th best president of the United States, two ranks below Bill Clinton in a new poll which is topped by Franklin D Roosevelt.

Obama's immediate predecessor, George W Bush, has been ranked at 39 out of 43 presidents of the US listed in the Siena College poll that surveyed 238 presidential scholars at colleges and universities.

The poll had asked scholars to rate the nation's 43 chief executives on 20 attributes ranging from legislative accomplishments to integrity and imagination, a media release said.

Incidentally Obama is ranked three places above Ronald Reagan, who is placed at 18th spot in the ranking. For the fifth time since its inception in 1982, the Siena College Research Institute's (SRI) Survey of US Presidents found that experts rank Franklin D Roosevelt as the top all time chief executive.

The 238 participating presidential scholars round out the top five in order with Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Teddy Roosevelt had, more than any other president the "right stuff", and tops the collective ranking of a cluster of personal qualities including imagination, integrity, luck, intelligence, background, and being willing to take risks.

Lincoln, according to the experts, demonstrated the greatest presidential abilities while FDR ranks first in overall accomplishments, it said.

"In nearly 30 years, the same five presidents have occupied the first five places with only slight shuffling.

Despite decades of new research on former presidents and the accomplishments or lack thereof of the current chief executives, scholars display amazingly consistent results," according to Douglas Lonnstrom, Professor of statistics at Siena College and one of the study's directors.

"Only eight names have appeared in the second five over the years. Wilson and Truman hold onto membership in this club while Kennedy, John Adams and Jackson fell, Eisenhower holds on and Madison and Monroe have seen their stock rise," he said.

Obama, while highly rated on imagination (6th), communication ability (7th) and intelligence (8th) scores poorly on background (family, education and experience).

George W Bush, had entered the survey at 23rd when the study was last conducted one year into his first term.

Just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence.

Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G Harding, and Franklin Pierce.

Andrew Johnson leads the 'worst ever' in both abilities and accomplishments finishing below both Buchanan and Harding, but Harding tops the worst in personal attributes including integrity where he finishes just slightly ahead of Richard M Nixon.

Bill Clinton moved upwards in the rankings from 18th overall in 2002 to 13th. Clinton moved up the list based on improving ratings of his background and his executive appointments but continued to be haunted by his integrity and failure to avoid critical mistakes.

Though Ronald Reagan dropped two places from 16th overall in 2002 to 18th, he still remains highly regarded for his luck, party leadership, communication ability, relationship with Congress and his leadership ability.

Jimmy Carter, despite continuing visibility and philanthropic efforts, dropped from 25th in 2002 to 32nd in 2010.

Among other historically recent presidents, Gerald Ford held steady at 28th, Richard Nixon dropped four spots from 26th to 30th, Lyndon Johnson, rated number one for his relationship with Congress, fell one place from 15th to 16th, and John Kennedy climbed three spots from 14th to 11th.

Kennedy continues to be highly regarded for his communication (4th), ability to compromise (6th), executive appointments (6th), imagination (7th) and his handling of the US economy (7th).