RANKED: The greatest US presidents, according to political scientists

Presidential rankings tend to be subjective and divisive, but they also provide valuable insight into how historical views of presidents evolve over time.

In a recent survey, nearly 200 political science scholars ranked US presidents on a scale of 0-100, from failure (zero) to average (50) to great (100). The totals were then averaged for each president and ranked from highest to lowest.

A majority of the 170 respondents – roughly 57% – identified as Democrats. Just 13% were Republicans, while 27% said they were independents, and 3% selected other. The skewed sampling plus the fact that President Donald Trump is in the middle of his second year in office make it difficult to accurately compare him to previous presidents.

But even among Republicans, Trump was ranked quite unfavorably. Respondents who identified as Republicans or conservatives ranked Trump 40th out of 44 presidents. Self-described Democrats and liberals both ranked him last.

Here are the greatest US presidents, ranked according to current and recent members of the American Political Science Association:


44: Donald Trump


43: James Buchanan


42: William Harrison

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Wikipedia

41: Franklin Pierce

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Wikimedia Commons

40: Andrew Johnson

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Wikimedia Commons

39: Warren Harding

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Wikimedia Commons

38: Millard Fillmore

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Wikimedia Commons

37: John Tyler

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Wikipedia

36: Herbert Hoover


35: Zachary Taylor

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Wikimedia Commons

34: James Garfield

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Wikipedia

33: Richard Nixon


32: Benjamin Harrison

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Wikimedia Commons

31: Chester Arthur

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Wikipedia

30: George W. Bush

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Chris Livingston/Getty Images

29: Rutherford B. Hayes


28: Calvin Coolidge

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Wikimedia Commons

27: Martin Van Buren

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Wikimedia Commons

26: Jimmy Carter

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Wikimedia Commons

25: Gerald Ford

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Wikimedia Commons

24: Grover Cleveland

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Wikimedia Commons

23: John Quincy Adams


22: William Howard Taft

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Archive Photos/Getty

21: Ulysses S. Grant


20: James Polk

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Wikimedia Commons

19: William McKinley

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Wikimedia Commons

18: James Monroe

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Wikipedia

17: George H.W. Bush


16: John F. Kennedy


15: Andrew Jackson

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Wikimedia Commons

14: John Adams

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Wikimedia Commons

13: Bill Clinton

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Gary Cameron/Reuters

12: James Madison

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Wikimedia Commons

11: Woodrow Wilson


10: Lyndon B. Johnson

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Wikimedia commons

9: Ronald Reagan

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Wikimedia Commons

8: Barack Obama

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

7: Dwight Eisenhower


6: Harry Truman

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Wikimedia Commons

5: Thomas Jefferson

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Wikimedia Commons

4: Teddy Roosevelt

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Wikimedia Commons

3: Franklin Delano Roosevelt


2: George Washington

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Wikimedia Commons

1: Abraham Lincoln

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Wikimedia Commons