The Presidents of the USA

Numbers & Statistics:

Ranking of USA Presidents

Useful Links


Assessment, Evaluation and Ranking of the Presidents.
Three different surveys:

1. The SIENNA Research Institute 2010 poll

Siena poll 2010

(from the best to the worst)
Franklin D. Roosevelt1
Theodore Roosevelt2
Abraham Lincoln3
George Washington4
Thomas Jefferson5
James Madison6
James Monroe7
Woodrow Wilson8
Harry S Truman9
Dwight Eisenhower10
John F. Kennedy11
James K. Polk12
Bill Clinton13
Andrew Jackson14
Barack Obama15
Lyndon Johnson16
John Adams17
Ronald Reagan18
John Quincy Adams19
Grover Cleveland20
Grover Cleveland21
William McKinley22
George H. W. Bush23
Martin van Buren24
William Taft25
Chester Arthur26
Ulysses S. Grant27
James Garfield28
Gerald R. Ford29
Calvin Coolidge30
Richard Nixon31
Rutherford Hayes32
Jimmy Carter33
Zachary Taylor34
Benjamin Harrison35
William H. Harrison36
Herbert C. Hoover37
John Tyler38
Millard Fillmore39
George W. Bush40
Franklin Pierce41
Warren Harding42
James Buchanan43
Andrew Johnson44

notes on the SIENNA survey

Factors which are considered in this survey (with different weight) for each president:
  • Background
  • Party Leadership
  • Communication Ability
  • Congress Relations
  • Court Appointments
  • Handling Economy
  • Luck
  • Compromise Ability
  • Risk Taking
  • Executive Appointments
  • Overall Ability
  • Imagination
  • Domestic Accomplishments
  • Executive Ability
  • Foreign Policy
  • Leadership
  • Intelligence
  • Crucial Mistakes
  • Expert’s View

The poll is conducted by the Siena Research Institute (SRI) is an affiliate of Siena College, located originally in Friars Hall and now in Hines Hall on the college's campus, in Loudonville, New York, in suburban Albany. It was founded in 1980.

It conducts both expert and public opinion polls, focusing on New York State and the United States, on issues of public policy interest.

Among other things, starting in 1982 SRI has polled presidential scholars in an effort to rate both the United States presidents and U.S. First Ladies.

2. C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership, 2009

C-SPAN Survey , 2009

(from the best to the worst)
Abraham Lincoln1
George Washington2
Franklin D. Roosevelt3
Theodore Roosevelt4
Harry S. Truman5
John F. Kennedy6
Thomas Jefferson7
Dwight D. Eisenhower8
Woodrow Wilson9
Ronald Reagan10
Lyndon B. Johnson11
James K. Polk12
Andrew Jackson13
James Monroe14
Bill Clinton15
William McKinley16
John Adams17
George H.W. Bush18
John Quincy Adams19
James Madison20
Grover Cleveland21
Gerald Ford22
Ulysses S. Grant23
William Howard Taft24
Jimmy Carter25
Calvin Coolidge26
Richard Nixon27
James A. Garfield28
Zachary Taylor29
Benjamin Harrison30
Martin Van Buren31
Chester A. Arthur32
Rutherford B. Hayes33
Herbert Hoover34
John Tyler35
George W. Bush36
Millard Fillmore37
Warren G. Harding38
William Henry Harrison39
Franklin Pierce41
Andrew Johnson42
James Buchanan43

notes on the C-SPAN survey

The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership consists of rankings from a group of presidential historians and "professional observers of the presidency" who ranked presidents in a number of categories initially in 2000 and more recently in 2009.

With some minor variation, both surveys found that historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt the three best presidents by a wide margin and William Henry Harrison (to a lesser extent), Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, George W. Bush and James Buchanan the worst.

3. Brandon Rottinghaus and Justin S. Vaughn survey, 2014

Rottinghaus-Vaughn survey 2014

Abraham Lincoln1
George Washington2
Franklin D. Roosevelt3
Theodore Roosevelt4
Thomas Jefferson5
Harry S Truman6
Dwight Eisenhower7
Bill Clinton8
Andrew Jackson9
Woodrow Wilson10
Ronald Reagan11
Lyndon Johnson12
James Madison13
John F. Kennedy14
John Adams15
James Monroe16
George H. W. Bush17
Barack Obama18
James K. Polk19
William Taft20
William McKinley21
John Quincy Adams22
Grover Cleveland23
Gerald R. Ford24
Martin Van Buren25
Jimmy Carter26
Calvin Coolidge27
Ulysses S. Grant28
Benjamin Harrison29
Rutherford B. Hayes30
James A. Garfield31
Chester A. Arthur32
Zachary Taylor33
Richard Nixon34
George W. Bush35
John Tyler36
Millard Fillmore37
Herbert Hoover38
William Henry Harrison39
Franklin Pierce40
Andrew Johnson41
Warren G. Harding32
James Buchanan43

notes on the Rottinghaus-Vaughn survey

  • This survey was was administered by Brandon Rottinghaus of the University of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State University.
  • It is based on 162 questionnaires that were completed online in 2014 by members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents & Executive Politics section, the premier organization of experts of the American presidency.
  • The results of the survey are not far from the previous lists. The main difference is that Clinton and Eisenhower are now among the top 10. Also Kennedy is lower than usual.
  • Kennedy is considered (by the scholars of this survey) overrated. The most underrated: Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush and Truman.
  • All surveys agree on who were the worst presidents: Buchanan was the lowest ranked, and was joined at the bottom by Warren Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce and William Harrison (this one only because he was 40 days in Office).
  • It is too early to fully assess Obama or even Bush. History is always shaping and reshaping the legacy of former presidents. As in the case of Eisenhower and Clinton, presidential legacies can improve with time. This seems especially likely when presidents serve more than one term, preside over economic prosperity, and effectively handle international conflict.