Historical Rankings

  • Determination of a president's place is history is best viewed through the prism of time. For that reason (and I don't want to receive hate mail) I have not included the five most recent presidents - Clinton, G. W. Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden - in these rankings.
  • Because the rankings of the presidents change from poll to poll I have broken these 40 presidents into five groups of eight to give a general sense of where they fall. Does #20 or #21 make a difference? I just want to know they are in the middle of the pack. So, the order within each 20% group is by the order of their presidency, not rankings.
  • Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt are consistently ranked in the top 3.
  • Pierce, Buchanan, A. Johnson, and Harding are consistently ranked as the worst presidents.

Top 20%
1George Washington
3Thomas Jefferson
16Abraham Lincoln
26Theodore Roosevelt
28Woodrow Wilson
32Franklin D. Roosevelt
33Harry S. Truman
34Dwight D. Eisenhower
Second 20%
2John Adams
4James Madison
5James Monroe
7Andrew Jackson
11James K. Polk
35John F. Kennedy
36Lyndon B. Johnson
40Ronald Reagan
Third 20%
6John Quincy Adams
22 & 24Grover Cleveland
25William McKinley
27William H. Taft
30Calvin Coolidge
38Gerald R. Ford
39Jimmy Carter
41George H. W. Bush
Fourth 20%
8Martin Van Buren
18Ulysses S. Grant
19Rutherford B. Hayes
20James A. Garfield
21Chester A. Arthur
23Benjamin Harrison
37Richard M. Nixon
12Zachary Taylor
Bottom 20%
9William Henry Harrison
10John Tyler
13Millard Fillmore
14Franklin Pierce
15James Buchanan
17Andrew Johnson
29Warren G. Harding
31Herbert Hoover

Return to Presidential Facts