C-SPAN ranks the US Presidents

Historians Survey Results Category

Total Scores/Overall Rankings

President's Name 2017 Final Scores Overall Rankings
2017 2009 2000
Abraham Lincoln 906 1 1 1
George Washington 867 2 2 3
Franklin D. Roosevelt 854 3 3 2
Theodore Roosevelt 807 4 4 4
Dwight D. Eisenhower 744 5 8 9
Harry S. Truman 737 6 5 5
Thomas Jefferson 727 7 7 7
John F. Kennedy 722 8 6 8
Ronald Reagan 691 9 10 11
Lyndon Baines Johnson 686 10 11 10
Woodrow Wilson 683 11 9 6
Barack Obama 668 12 NA NA
James Monroe 645 13 14 14
James K. Polk 637 14 12 12
Bill Clinton 633 15 15 21

No Andrew Jackson=fail

William McKinley Jr. 626 16 16 15
James Madison 610 17 20 18
Andrew Jackson 609 18 13 13
John Adams 603 19 17 16
George H. W. Bush 596 20 18 20
John Quincy Adams 589 21 19 19
Ulysses S. Grant 556 22 23 33
Grover Cleveland 540 23 21 17
William H. Taft 528 24 24 24
Gerald R. Ford Jr. 509 25 22 23
Jimmy Carter 506 26 25 22
Calvin Coolidge 505 27 26 27
Richard M. Nixon 486 28 27 25
James A. Garfield 481 29 28 29
Benjamin Harrison 461 30 30 31
Zachary Taylor 458 31 29 28
Rutherford B. Hayes 458 32 33 26
George W. Bush 455 33 36 NA
Martin Van Buren 450 34 31 30
Chester Arthur 446 35 32 32
Herbert Hoover 416 36 34 34
Millard Fillmore 393 37 37 35
William Henry Harrison 383 38 39 37
John Tyler 372 39 35 36
Warren G. Harding 360 40 38 38
Franklin Pierce 315 41 40 39
Andrew Johnson 275 42 41 40
James Buchanan 245 43 42 41

The survey of 91 historians was designed and conducted by historians Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University; Edna Greene Medford, Howard University; and Richard Norton Smith, presidential historian and biographer.

They spelled Donald Trumps name wrong. 

George Washington was our greatest President and it's not even close.

LOL @ Obama being anywhere near any top list for best president

Lol now that is a shitty list 

Lol fucking Obama in the top 10? Wow

Everyone after FDR was garbage

Before FDR it was a mixed bag

Barack Obama has been whisked to a very good table at the club of former presidents, according to a C-SPAN survey of 91 presidential historians published on Friday. Obama’s 12th-place ranking only a month after leaving office is the best for any president since Ronald Reagan, who ranks ninth in the new survey. The list updates previous C-SPAN surveys compiled in 2009 and 2000.

Historians gave Obama high marks for pursuing equality, managing the economy, public persuasion and “moral authority.” On the other hand, he was judged to have been below-average in handling international relations. Overall, he placed ahead of such generally well-regarded chief executives as James Monroe and James Polk.

History’s view of the best and worst presidents was unchanged since 2009. The top spot once again went to Abraham Lincoln — the quintessential self-made man who saved the Union, emancipated the slaves, and launched the Transcontinental Railroad. He ranked no lower than fourth in all ten of the criteria by which presidents were judged. He finished first in crisis leadership, administrative skill, vision setting, and pursuit of equal justice; second in economic management, moral authority, and “performance within the context of the times”; third in public persuasion and international relations; and fourth in working with Congress.

Lincoln was followed by George Washington, with the two Roosevelts — Franklin and Theodore — in third and fourth place. The bottom spots went to the men who served just before and just after Lincoln: James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson.

“Once again the Big Three are Lincoln, Washington and FDR — as it should be,” said one of the shepherds of the survey, Douglas Brinkley of Rice University in Houston. “That Obama came in at number 12 his first time out is quite impressive,” Brinkley added.

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But Howard University historian Edna Greene Medford, another of C-SPAN’s consultants on the project, thought Obama might have ranked even higher. She was surprised to see him in the middle of the pack for administrative skills, and thought that his rapidly rising approval ratings during the last months of his administration might give him more of a boost. “Of course,” Medford said, “historians prefer to view the past from a distance, and only time will reveal his legacy."

No one better illustrates that point than the 18th president, Ulysses Grant. In 2000, the scandal-plagued Grant was ranked in the bottom quarter of all presidents. But history has recently taken note of Grant’s personal honesty, his commitment to human rights and his international popularity. In the new survey, he continues his upward climb, now finishing right in the middle of the pack.

According to Richard Norton Smith, an independent scholar who also consulted with C-SPAN on the project, the survey clearly identifies a “golden age of the American presidency.” This era begins with the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 and ends in the tumultuous late 1960s. All five presidents who served during that span wound up in the top ten: FDR (3), Harry Truman (6), Dwight Eisenhower (5), John F. Kennedy (8) and Lyndon Johnson (10).

That might surprise many of the Americans who lived through those presidencies. They might recall Truman’s record-low approval ratings — his 22% favorable mark in February 1952 is the lowest in the history of the Gallup poll. They may remember that Eisenhower was widely dismissed as a plodder; a poll of historians shortly after he left office ranked him slightly below average. And Johnson opted not to run for reelection rather than face almost certain defeat.

Thomas Jefferson, in seventh place, rounds out the top ten.

Meanwhile, other presidents are falling in history’s estimation. Andrew Jackson, the 19th century populist whose portrait occupies a place of honor next to Donald Trump’s desk in the Oval Office, plunged five places since the 2009 survey, from 13th to 18th. Woodrow Wilson, who ranked sixth in the 2000 survey, dropped to 11th, as the post-World War I map of the Middle East that Wilson helped to draw crumbled into anarchy, and historians placed new emphasis on his atrocious civil rights record.

The complete rankings can be found at C-SPAN.

TR will always be number one to me


Jack Carter -

LOL @ Obama being anywhere near any top list for best president

bruh he won the nobel peace prize

Jacinto - George Washington was our greatest President and it's not even close.


Washington is the only President to receive the totality of the electoral votes..TWICE!!

View post on imgur.com


KZTT_MMAfan55 -

Lol fucking Obama in the top 10? Wow

Discredits the entire list

FDR caused the Cold War. Should not be on that list.

Politically Incorrect -

Leaves country in cultural turmoil. Has left almost no legal legacy, Obamacare admittedly labeled terrible by both sides of the aisle, and will be repealed within the year. Promised to end wars and wreaked absolute havoc on an entire portion of the world, while solving nothing in the process. I don't understand what he has done to be anywhere near the list. 

Cultural turmoil? As if that wasn't the case when he got into office.

With a Rebulican in the White House Obamacare would get repealed if it offered a lifetime of free medical care, no questions ask with Mexico footing the entire bill.

Promised to end wars, sure, but hard to really blame the cleanup pitcher for the loss when he enters the game in the ninth down 10-2.

If you were anything close to reality in your assessment of his two terms you'd agree that the right made their mandate from day one to block, shit on, sweep under the rug, vote down, cry bloody murder to the press on every single thing he tried to do.

I put him in the top 15 just for getting through 8 years without having a heart attack or going literally postal on the Republican party.

List is utter shit. Obama near top is the elephant in the room. Down to Reagan could be argued but rest of the list is laughable