Methodology

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Mindful that there is no perfect measure of leadership, we have opted for an approach that combines open-endedness and specificity of performance criteria. The UK Survey seeks to rate presidents in five broad categories of performance:

Vision/Agenda Setting: did the president have clarity of vision that enabled him to establish over-arching goals for his administration and shape the terms of political and policy discourse?

Domestic Leadership: did the president display the political skill necessary to achieve his domestic policy objectives and respond effectively to unforeseen events?

Foreign Policy Leadership: was the president an effective leader in promoting US foreign policy interests and upholding national security?

Moral Authority: did the president uphold the moral authority of his office through his character, values, and conduct?

Positive Historical Significance of Legacy: did the president’s legacy have positive benefits for America’s development over time?

Directions given to respondents

  • Participants in the rating exercise did not have an opportunity to rate Presidents William Henry Harrison or James A. Garfield, each of whom served as president for less than a year. Participants did, however, have an opportunity to write brief qualitative statements for Harrison and Garfield.
  • We also invited respondents to write a brief (300 word maximum) qualitative statement noting any points they wish to make regarding their rating of individual presidents, or the process of rating presidents. Completion of this section was voluntary and intended to provide possible information for an overview statement on the whole exercise once the returns are aggregated.
  • We introduced a “O” score for respondents to opt out of rating presidents they believed they could not offer a definitive appraisal of.
  • Participant data was collected using SurveyMonkey.