Political scientists rank Trump last, Lincoln first in presidential greatness survey

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan enjoyed upward bumps in their greatness rankings, while President Donald Trump was ranked historically low, according to a presidential “greatness” survey released Monday.

The 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey, released Monday, was based on 170 usable responses from current and former members of the American Political Science Association’s presidents and executive politics section.

The survey asked the presidential experts to use a 0-100 scale “for overall greatness,” with zero being failure, 50 being average and 100 being great. Roughly 57% of the respondents were Democrats, 13% were Republicans and 27% were independents (3% selected “Other”).

Overall, Trump came in dead last. The seven greatest presidents, according to respondents, remained unchanged from the same survey’s results in 2014, the previous time it was taken. In order, they were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

Trump did not fare well even when parsing the results by party and ideology. He ranked 40th out of 44 among Republicans and conservatives.

Self-identified Republicans and conservatives also ranked Washington above Lincoln as the all-time greatest president.

Among all those surveyed, another commander-in-chief who struggled in his rank: Bill Clinton, who fell to 13th best after being ranked eighth in 2014.

Obama came in eighth, up 10 spots from 18th in 2014. George W. Bush moved up five spots, from 35th to 30th. Reagan also moved into the top 10, ranking ninth. In 2014, he was at 11.

Political science professors Brandon Rottinghaus of the University of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State University authored and published the survey.