Results of first UK Scholars’ Survey of US Presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama to be released 17 January 2011

Monday 10 January 2011

The United States Presidency Centre (USPC) of the Institute for the Study of the Americas has conducted the first ever UK scholars’ survey of US presidential performance. The survey findings will be posted on the USPC website (www.americas.sas.ac.uk/research/USPC.html) on January 17, 2011 from 5pm, just before President Obama starts his third year in office.

Over 40 UK specialists in US history and politics have rated presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush under five headings: vision/agenda-setting; domestic leadership; foreign policy leadership; moral authority; and positive historical significance of his legacy.  They have also made a provisional assessment of Barack Obama. The survey will rank the presidents in terms of their performance in aggregate over all five rating categories and over each separate category.  It will also provide a performance profile for each of the presidents.

The USPC director, Professor Iwan Morgan (author of The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush), will discuss the survey results in a talk on ‘UK Survey of US Presidents: Results and Analysis’ at Senate House, University of London on 17 January 2011 at 6pm. Professor Morgan will comment in his talk on why some presidents are so highly rated, others are so lowly rated, and others still are put in the middling category in the UK scholars’ survey. He will also discuss how recent presidents fared in the survey and how Barack Obama is measured in relationship to the presidents of the past. Media interested in attending should contact Olga Jimenez on olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk.

Professor Morgan will be available from January 17 onward to give interviews on the survey findings and to explain how UK assessments conform with/differ from similar exercises conducted by US scholars.  His contact details are:  iwan.morgan@sas.ac.uk / +44 (0)20 7862 8647/8871 or (0)7531 498 851 (mobile).

Notes for Editors:

  1. For further information about the survey and requests for interview please contact Iwan Morgan at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London at iwan.morgan@sas.ac.uk  / +44 (0)20 7862 8647/8871 or (0)7531 498 851 (mobile).
  2. The Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) was founded in 2004 through the merger of the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Institute of United States Studies, both of which were established in 1965. ISA promotes, coordinates and provides a focus for research and postgraduate teaching in history and the social sciences on the Americas – Canada, the US, Latin America and the Caribbean – and plays a national and international role as a coordinating and information centre for all parts of the hemisphere at the postgraduate level in the universities of the UK. The Institute is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. See: www.americas.sas.ac.uk
  3. The United States Presidency Centre (USPC) at the Institute for the Study of the Americas was founded in 2008. The USPC provides a forum for research and analysis of the presidency in terms of its historical, political and cultural significance.  It also holds regular events on presidential politics and policymaking (domestic and foreign policy). For further details, see:  www.americas.sas.ac.uk/research/USPC.html
  4. The UK Scholar’s Survey of US Presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama is the first ever UK scholars’ survey of US presidential performance.  One of the foremost presidential surveys based on US scholars’ opinions, undertaken by C-Span, can be viewed at 
    www.c-span.org/PresidentialSurvey/