The economy was front and center in the Republican presidential campaign and, now that Democratic President Barack Obama has been re-elected, how does he rank with other recent presidents on economic improvement?
Since World War II, Democrats have done better than Republicans when measured on 17 indicators of economic success, according to Richard J. Carroll, author of “The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance From Harry Truman to Barack Obama.”
Presidential economic performance
|George H. Bush||-73.1|
|George W. Bush||-148.4|
But after his first administration, Obama can’t claim to be among the successful: He scores fourth from the bottom of Carroll’s list. The only Democrat with a worse score is Jimmy Carter. Father-and-son Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush also fall further down on the list.
The presidents with the three highest scores are all Democrats: Harry Truman is No. 1, followed by John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The first Republican to show up on the list is Dwight Eisenhower, at No. 4.
In an article in Bloomberg, Carroll explains that he scored the 12 post-war presidents based on indicators including GDP growth, unemployment rate, the number of people living below the poverty line, increase in the Dow Jones industrial average, savings and investment rates, exports and trade balances, federal budget growth, and debt and federal taxes as a share of GDP.
He penalized them if the federal budget grew faster than the economy during their terms. He also counted higher tax revenue as a share of GDP against them. The analysis doesn’t take into account the first year in office because the president is likely dealing with policies from the previous administration, Carroll notes.
The chart provides the scores of all 12 presidents since World War II. How does your favorite rank?
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