United States Presidency Centre
UK Survey of US Presidents


A New Survey of US Presidents

Richard Neustadt began his classic study, Presidential Power (1960), with the observation:

"In the United States we like to 'rate' a President. We measure him as 'weak' or 'strong' and call what we are measuring his 'leadership'. We do not wait until a man is dead; we rate him from the moment he takes office."

In the half century that has elapsed since Neustadt wrote these words, systematic presidential rating has become a regular academic exercise, but one effectively monopolized by US scholars. Over the same period, however, study of and research in US history and politics has expanded dramatically in UK universities. Accordingly, the lack of a UK rating of US presidents is a surprising omission that needs to be put right.

Through the agency of its United States Presidency Centre [USPC], the Institute for the Study of the Americas (located in the University of London’s School of Advanced Study) has undertaken the first ever UK academic survey to rate US presidents. This polled the opinion of UK specialists in US history and political studies to assess presidential performance and produced an overall rating on the basis of the responses.  They also gave an interim assessment of Barack Obama but his unfinished presidency was not included in the survey.

Professor Iwan Morgan, Director of the United States Presidency Centre, has written an analysis of the results.

We would like to thank the Embassy of the United States for their financial contribution to this project