The 2012 stakes are high for President Obama, whose re-election could mean more than four more years in the
Presidential rankings expert
"If he got re-elected, he would come in at fourth behind
Nichols' study, due out in June in the Presidential Studies Quarterly, concludes that there are eight criteria that help predict presidential rating scores.
Nichols says that if Obama is re-elected, he will go down in history as a "re-ordering" president. a leader who ushers in a new era of politics like FDR's New Deal Era or the Reagan revolution. A re-ordering president usually delivers a new constituency to his respective party as Obama did with the Youth Vote in 2008 or Reagan was able to do with the South. A "re-ordering" president usually follows a president who was ineffective and caused the end of a political era.
"Obama has the opportunity to be a transformative president, but only if he is re-elected," Nichols argues. "Otherwise, he will go down in history as unable to really instigate change." Nichols says Reagan flipped entitlements while FDR created a welfare state. For Obama, healthcare could be the issue that solidifies him as a change agent. Other factors that will boost Obama's future rating score include the fact that he was a wartime president, stayed away from major scandals, and will be remembered as a progressive.
"Obama's message is that he pursues equality for all, which gives him a big bonus," Nichols says.
1.) The years served
The more years a president serves, the better they are ranked.
2.) Wartime presidents.
Most wartime presidents get a bonus. "It is a good opportunity for presidents to exercise leadership and decisiveness," Nichols says.
Presidents who avoid it earn points. Presidents who engage in it, lose points.
4.) Enervated conditions
Presidents who mark the end of a political era like
5.) Re-ordering president
Presidents who mark the beginning of a political era and attract a new, major coalition of support, gain points.
6.) Founding fathers
If a president was a founder, he tends to do remarkably well in rankings.
7.) Progressive policies
The more a president pursues equality in the country. the more points historians give him.
8.) Assassinated presidents
A president who dies in a tragic way performs doess well in a historical ranking.
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