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Ranking Presidents

- February 16, 2009

In honor of President’s Day, here is the latest ranking of Presidents by a group of historians. The data are here, with some explanation. Of course, I’d rather see a graph of the overall “scores” rather than a list with misleading rankings.


The graph shows that plenty of presidents are essentially tied, which is why the rankings are misleading. It would also be nice to have some underlying measure of uncertainty in these scores, which would enable us to tell whether differences in scores among presidents are statistically significant. Something tells me that there’s really not much to distinguish (again, statistically), say, Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt.

I’ll leave it to commenters to note any curiosities, injustices, etc.

[Hat tip to Daniel Strauss.]