I just ran across an article published earlier in February that ranks the U.S. presidents according to a survey of 91 presidential historians as reported by C-SPAN. This updates the last C-SPAN survey compiled in 2009.
The best and the worst haven’t changed since that previous survey. These historians consider the top presidents to be —
1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4. Theodore Roosevelt
Conversely, the bottom four are —
40. Warren G. Harding
41. Franklin Pierce
42. Andrew Johnson
43. James Buchanan
Yes, there have been 44 presidents before Donald Trump, but Grover Cleveland was elected twice.
How can presidents be compared over the course of 200+ years? The trick is to identify certain leadership characteristics of the job that are constant over time. This survey measured ten such characteristics to arrive at this ranking —
- Public Persuasion
- Crisis Leadership
- Economic Management
- Moral Authority
- International Relations
- Administrative Skills
- Relations with Congress
- Vision / Setting an Agenda
- Pursued Equal Justice For All
- Performance Within Context of Times
If you want to know how are most recent presidents are currently rated, you’ll have to follow the links; I’m not going there.
The basic report is at http://time.com/4674300/cspan-presidents-rank-2017/?xid=newsletter-brief , and the complete rankings can be found at C-SPAN.