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Presidents Potential and Performance


vcczar
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The first number is how well I think a president performed, using a grading system similar to grades in a college class. The second number is their potential -- an estimate of both their expectations and generally unfulfilled potential. In very RARE cases, a president exceeded their potential number, which means they outperformed about everyone's expectations, probably even their own. In these cases, it's akin to Tom Brady being a late round draft pick and then going to almost a decade worth of Super Bowls. 

Lincoln and FDR are the only presidents to perform at a 100 grade. Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon are the only presidents to have a potential of 100. Lincoln and FDR had exceeded their potential. Roosevelt and Nixon never hit it. If you don't include WH Harrison and Garfield, the greatest underperformers from performance-to-potential are (tied): JQ Adams, Buchanan, Hoover, Nixon, Carter. 

In my analysis, we've had only 4 presidents perform at an A-grade level, although 10 had the potential to be A-grade. I have 9 presidents reaching their potential. I have 5 having exceeded their potential. This means all but 14 presidents have underperformed. 

If I have more time, I'll create a potential # for all the failed nominees to let you know if I think the failed nominees would have been potentially better presidents. 

*Note: This is for fun. Don't take it seriously. 

Washington 90/90  *0
J Adams 75/85  *-10
Jefferson 80/95 *-15
Madison 70/85 *-15
Monroe 75/75 *0
JQ Adams 65/90 *-25
Jackson 80/95 *-15
Van Buren 65/75 *-10
WH Harrison 50/70 *-20
Tyler 55/70 *-15
Polk 80/80 *0
Taylor 65/60 *+5
Fillmore 60/65 *-5
Pierce 50/65 *-15
Buchanan 45/70 *-25
Lincoln 100/85 *+15
A Johnson 50/60 *-10
US Grant 70/70 *0
Hayes 65/70 *-5
Garfield 55/85 *-30
Arthur 65/65 *0
Cleveland 70/85 *-15
B Harrison 65/75 *-10
McKinley 75/80 *-5
T Roosevelt 90/100 *-10
Taft 65/75 *-10
Wilson 80/95 *-15
Harding 55/55 *0
Coolidge 70/70 *0
Hoover 55/80 *-25
FDR 100/80 *+20
Truman 80/65 *+15
Eisenhower 85/85 *0
JFK 75/90 *-15
LBJ 80/90 *-10
Nixon 75/100 *-25
Ford 65/65 *0
Carter 60/85 *-25
Reagan 85/80 *+5
GHW Bush 70/75 *-5
Clinton 75/85 *-10
GW Bush 55/65 *-10
Obama 80/95 *-15
Trump 55/70 *-15
Biden 60/75* -15
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I used my same method above to create "presidential potential" for failed nominees. DeWitt Clinton, Henry Clay, Al Gore, Samuel J Tilden, James M Cox, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton were all nominees that never became president that would probably have been better presidents than the victor. By better president, I mean more naturally inclined and skillful at the job, rather than ideological. The 1852 and 1856 elections are truly awful matchups, and I think the Whig and Republican nominees in those elections would have likely "failed" as presidents too. 

  • H Clay 100
  • D Clinton 95
  • A Burr 90
  • JG Blaine 85
  • S A Douglas 80
  • CE Hughes 80
  • A Gore 80
  • R King 75
  • SJ Tilden 75
  • JM Cox 75
  • A Landon 75
  • TE Dewey 75
  • A Stevenson II 75
  • M Dukakis 75
  • J Kerry 75
  • J McCain 75
  • H Clinton 75
  • WH Crawford 70
  • J C Breckinridge 70
  • H Seymour 70
  • WJ Bryan 70
  • A Smith 70
  • W Wilkie 70
  • H Humphrey 70
  • G McGovern 70
  • W Mondale 70
  • B Dole 70
  • M Romney 70
  • L Cass 65
  • CC Pinckney 65
  • AB Parker 65
  • B Goldwater 65
  • GB McClellan 60
  • J Bell 60
  • W Scott 60
  • JC Fremont 60
  • WS Hancock 60
  • JW Davis 60
  • H Greeley 55
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10 hours ago, vcczar said:

I used my same method above to create "presidential potential" for failed nominees. DeWitt Clinton, Henry Clay, Al Gore, Samuel J Tilden, James M Cox, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton were all nominees that never became president that would probably have been better presidents than the victor. By better president, I mean more naturally inclined and skillful at the job, rather than ideological. The 1852 and 1856 elections are truly awful matchups, and I think the Whig and Republican nominees in those elections would have likely "failed" as presidents too. 

  • H Clay 100
  • D Clinton 95
  • A Burr 90
  • JG Blaine 85
  • S A Douglas 80
  • CE Hughes 80
  • A Gore 80
  • R King 75
  • SJ Tilden 75
  • JM Cox 75
  • A Landon 75
  • TE Dewey 75
  • A Stevenson II 75
  • M Dukakis 75
  • J Kerry 75
  • J McCain 75
  • H Clinton 75
  • WH Crawford 70
  • J C Breckinridge 70
  • H Seymour 70
  • WJ Bryan 70
  • A Smith 70
  • W Wilkie 70
  • H Humphrey 70
  • G McGovern 70
  • W Mondale 70
  • B Dole 70
  • M Romney 70
  • L Cass 65
  • CC Pinckney 65
  • AB Parker 65
  • B Goldwater 65
  • GB McClellan 60
  • J Bell 60
  • W Scott 60
  • JC Fremont 60
  • WS Hancock 60
  • JW Davis 60
  • H Greeley 55

Clay is certainly an interesting what-if.

  • Agree 2
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8 minutes ago, Patine said:

Since we haven't used letter grades in Canadian schools since I was 12 (1988), what does a 70 mean in relativity, because that seems abnormally high for Breckinridge, especially given the election he would have won, and the circumstances around it.

C-

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