Survey Of Historians Ranks Donald Trump As Worst U.S. President Ever
The 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey — a survey conducted by Brandon Rottinghaus of the University of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State University to rank U.S. presidential greatness — ranked current President Donald Trump as the worst U.S. President and former President Barack Obama as the eighth greatest president.
Rottinghaus and Vaughn surveyed current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, and they received 170 usable responses. Respondents were to rank each president on a scale of 0-100, with 0 signifying failure, 50 being average and 100 as great, and the averages for each president were taken.
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Abraham Lincoln ranked first, with a score of 95.03. Obama received an average score of 71.13, and Trump’s was 12.34.
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The survey was completed in 2014 as well. At the time, Obama had ranked the 18th best president, and this year’s survey marks a 10-spot jump. The first seven haven’t changed since 2014 and are, in descending order, Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The study found that when asked which president should join Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore, 65.9% voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Trump was also graded on different aspects of his presidential performance on an A-F scale: legislative accomplishments, foreign policy leadership, embodying institutional norms and communicating with the public. He received a D in legislative accomplishments and communicating with the public, and he received an F in foreign policy leadership and embodying institutional norms, making his overall grade an F as well.
Results varied based on party and ideology. Democrats and self-identified liberals and moderates still ranked Trump last, but those identifying as either or both Republicans and conservatives ranked him the 40th best president. Independents ranked him the 43rd best.
Trump has not commented on the survey or his ranking.
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