History Might Decide to Like Obama Just Fine

For starters, he won a second term: Nate Silver

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 23, 2013 12:07 PM CST

(Newser) – Neither of Nate Silver's picks even made it to the Super Bowl, but the stats whiz returns his gaze to politics today—specifically how President Obama might rank in history when all is said and done. Yes, he's aware that what Obama does or doesn't do in the next four years is kind of important on that front, but based on some raw facts—Obama won a second term, and he did so with 62% of the electoral vote—the president's "odds of being regarded well by history seem pretty favorable," Silver writes in the New York Times.

Consider that of 19 presidents who won back-to-back terms, only six rank as average or below in the eyes of historians. (Richard Nixon and George W. Bush are in the "poor" category.) Factoring in Obama's so-so electoral percentage, one chart has him ending up "as about the 17th-best president, somewhere on the boundary between good and average," writes Silver. That's pure numbers, of course, and Obama will have a chance to either "enhance or undermine" his own reputation. Click for Silver's full column.

President Obama gestures during the walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House Monday.
President Obama gestures during the walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House Monday.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President Obama pauses after placing a wreath at Arlington Cemetery on Jan. 20, 2013.
President Obama pauses after placing a wreath at Arlington Cemetery on Jan. 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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