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The Schlesinger Polls and the Reasons behind the Change

Americans love to take polls. They rank everything from Hollywood scandals to insects, and they often reflect the state of mind of the American people at the time of the ranking. This propensity for opinion polls has been carried over to the equally American love of criticizing the government and the people in it, especially Presidents. One only has to turn on the television to watch spoofs about George W. Bush to get an idea of this. Presidential ranking was begun by historian Arthur Schlesinger whom in 1948 polled 55 scholars. He took a second poll in 1962 in which 34th president Dwight D. Eisenhower placed 22nd, a little over year after his second term of president. What is interesting…