It’s been less than a month since former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaSchiff: Trump will blame Obama during his entire presidency Trump must challenge Iran's ongoing human rights abuses Overnight Cybersecurity: Anticipation builds for Trump cyber order | House panel refers Clinton IT contractor for prosecution | Pentagon warned Flynn about foreign payments MORE left office, but his legacy is already being remembered fondly, according to C-SPAN’s 2017 presidential historians survey.
Obama ranked 12th on the list of 43 former commanders in chief, placing between Woodrow Wilson (No. 11) and James Monroe (No. 12).
Former President Abraham Lincoln takes the top spot in the survey, which was conducted among 91 historians and other executive branch experts.
Participants were told to give presidents a score of one to 10 on 10 different "qualities of presidential leadership"; these included "economic management," "vision/setting an agenda," "relations with Congress," "crisis leadership" and "public persuasion."
One of the survey’s advisers, Howard University history professor Edna Greene Medford, said she thought Obama could have ranked higher.
"Although 12th is a respectable overall ranking, one would have thought that former President Obama’s favorable rating when he left office would have translated into a higher ranking in this presidential survey,” Greene Medford said in a statement.
“But, of course, historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy," she added.
At the time he left office in January, Obama’s job approval rating hovered around 57 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
Among the former presidents Obama tops in the survey: Bill ClintonBill ClintonWhat to know about Trump's national monuments executive order Larry Summers: Mnuchin squandering his credibility with Trump tax proposal Patagonia threatens to sue Trump over national monuments order MORE, James Madison, Andrew Jackson and John Adams.
Lincoln, the country’s 16th president known for abolishing slavery and leading the Union through the Civil War, ranked No. 1 for the third time in a row, according to the survey. Lincoln has taken the top position in every survey since C-SPAN began conducting them in 2000.
Likewise, James Buchanan, the 15th president whose tenure preceded the Civil War, has consistently ranked in the bottom spot since 2000. He’s ranked even lower than William Henry Harrison (No. 38), who fell ill and died a month after taking the oath of office.