Howard University history professor Edna Greene Medford said in a press release that she expected Obama to fare better, given his approval ratings, which RealClearPolitics estimates were around 63% when he took office and 57% when he left. But the rankings aren't set in stone, she said. "Historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy."
Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University, said it was "impressive" for a president to come in 12th immediately after their presidency.
The most popular presidents of all time among historians were (in order) Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The last favored was James Buchanan.
While Obama ranked 39th for "Relations with Congress" and 24th for "International Relations," he came in seventh for "Moral Authority" and third for "Pursued Equal Justice For All."