University Students from 37 Nations Rank George W. Bush less Popular than Josef Stalin and Genghis Khan, but more Popular than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

Sunday, May 24, 2015
(AP Photo)

Sorry, President Bush. It doesn’t look like you’re going to be invited to many frat parties anytime soon.


Researchers of “‘Heroes’ and ‘Villains’ of World History across Cultures,” looking at the ability of the reputation of historical figures to transcend national boundaries, found that former President George W. Bush was one of the most reviled figures surveyed. Out of 40 names given to the 6,902 university students in 37 countries who participated of the study, Bush ranked 37th, ahead of only Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin, who was responsible for up to 50 million deaths, was ranked 36th.


The most popular people on the list were an interesting mix of those of reason and faith. Leading the list was Albert Einstein, followed by Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Isaac Newton. Abraham Lincoln was ninth; Bill Gates came in 14th; John F. Kennedy was 22nd; Deng Xiaopeng was 29th; and Genghis Khan 33rd.


“The impact of time could clearly be seen,” researchers wrote. “For example, the very recent figure of George W. Bush was rated as more negative than Joseph Stalin, who was responsible for innumerably more deaths. The effects of temporal distance can also be seen from the almost neutral rating received by Genghis Khan, which is not the result one might have expected given the amount of human suffering and cultural destruction he unleashed on the 13th century.”


Leading a country in war tended to negatively affect the position of someone on the list. Among war leaders, only Lincoln was in the top 10.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

“Heroes” and “Villains” of World History Across Cultures (by Katja Hanke and James H. Liu, et al; PLOS One)

Congress Less Popular than Toenail Fungus and Zombies, but more Popular than Miley Cyrus and Ebola Virus (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)



Debra 8 years ago
You asked college students this question? College students do not have any intelligence to begin with. Most are strung out on dope and drink.Some of them do not even know who the current president is let alone anything about history. To think these people are our future is scarier than their answers to your question.Talk about dumber and dumber.

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