The Uses and Abuses of Presidential Ratings
Debates about the uses of presidential ratings raise important questions about the accuracy of grouping leaders into single categories. Categories serve to identify some common features within a group, but they also mask important differences, which may distinguish a person significantly from others in the same category. The small number of presidents may make the value of subdividing them minimal, especially given the range of qualities by which we evaluate presidential leadership. Depending on the criteria used, a president may move sharply up or down in the survey -- presidents such as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, both of whom faced scandals in their administrations but also had notable policy achievements, are good examples. Yet rating presidents continues to be a favourite pastime of scholars and journalists, and new surveys always spark heated discussion about why the rankings of certain presidents have changed from previous surveys. This new and timely volume summarises the debates and assesses the uses of presidential ratings in light of those discussions. While presidential ratings surveys do generalise presidential performance and cannot capture all of a president's qualities, they nevertheless provide important guidelines for comparing presidential successes and failures. Furthermore, the consistency across surveys suggests greater agreement about many presidents than typically is recognised in discussion of individual cases.
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Presidential Ratings Lessons and Liabilities
Part I How Does the Public Evaluate Presidents?
Ranking the Presidents Continuity and Volatility
Evaluating the President The Publics Perspective through the Prism of Pollsters
Part II How Does Political Partisanship Influence Presidential Ratings?
Presidents and Significance Partisanship as a Source of Perceived Greatness
Partisan Biases in Presidential Ratings Ulysses Woodrow and Calvin We Hardly Knew Ye
Reflections of a Presidency Rater
administration American political American presidency Andrew Johnson Arthur Schlesinger assessing Best and Worst Bill Clinton Buchanan Bush C-SPAN Carter Congress conservative Coolidge criteria Eisenhower Evaluate Presidents expected failure Felzenberg foreign policy Franklin Roosevelt Fred Gallup Organization George Grant Greenstein Hayes Hofstra Hofstra University Hoover ideological Independent Samples Comparison Intercollegiate Studies Institute J.Q. Adams Jackson James MacGregor Burns James Piereson Jefferson judgments Kennedy legacy liberal Lincoln Lyndon Johnson McKinley modern presidents Murray and Blessing Murray-Blessing nation Nixon pantheons partisan percent Pfiffner Political Science political scientists Polk popular Posner Presidential Difference presidential leadership presidential performance presidential ratings surveys public evaluations public opinion ranking presidents rankings of presidents rating game Rating the Presidents recent presidents Republicans reputation Ronald Reagan Schlesinger poll scholarly scholars significant presidents symposium Taft Truman U.S. Presidents University Press values Washington White House Woodrow Wilson Worst Presidents York Times Magazine