HEADLINE | Posted: Monday, February 19, 2024

New presidential rankings place Barack Obama in top 10, Ronald Reagan below Joe Biden and Donald Trump ranks last


Former Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, and President Biden

By Michael Lee

A new ranking of presidents by a group of self-styled experts determined that Abraham Lincoln is America's greatest president, while Donald Trump ranks last.

Lincoln topped the list of presidents in the 2024 Presidential Greatness Project expert survey for the third time, following his top spot in the rankings in the 2015 and 2018 versions of the survey.

According to a release from the Presidential Greatness Project, which touts itself as the "foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics," the 154 respondents to the survey included "current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association…as well as scholars who have recently published peer-reviewed academic research in key related scholarly journals or academic presses."

The respondents were asked to rank presidents on a scale of 0-100, with 0 being a failure, 50 being average and 100 being great. Rounding out the top five in the rankings were Franklin Delano Roosevelt at number two, George Washington at three, Theodore Roosevelt at four, and Thomas Jefferson at five.

Trump was ranked in last place in the survey, being ranked worse than James Buchanan at 44, Andrew Johnson at 43, Franklin Peirce at 42, and William Henry Harrison at 41.

Respondents were also tracked by their political affiliation and ideology, which the release argues did not "tend to make a major difference overall" in the rankings, though there were some outliers, mainly with recent presidents.

Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Trump were more likely to be ranked higher by conservatives or Republicans, with Reagan being ranked an average of 5th by Republicans respondents, Bush 19th and Trump 41st. Among Democrat respondents, Reagan was rated an average of 18th, Bush 33rd and Trump 45th.

A similar partisan divide was noticeable for Barack Obama and President Biden, who ranked an average of 6th and 13th, respectively, among Democrat respondents, and 15th and 30th by Republicans. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was ranked higher by Republican respondents (10th) than he was by Democrats (12th).

The divide resulted in an overall ranking of 7th for Obama, 12th for Clinton, 14th for Biden, 16th for Reagan and 32nd for Bush.

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