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Which U.S. presidents are ranked the highest?

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Quick Answer

According to survey results that appeared in the Washington Post in 2014, the top five U.S. presidents in order are Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. The survey gives Lincoln an average score of 95.27 out of 100, while Washington receives a 92.28 and Franklin Roosevelt earns a 89.72.

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Full Answer

The newspaper enlisted 162 of 391 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents & Executive Politics section to complete survey. Rounding out the survey's list of top 10 presidents are Harry S. Truman at six, Dwight D. Eisenhower at seven, Bill Clinton at eight, Andrew Jackson at nine and Woodrow Wilson at 10.

The worst president ranked by the survey is James Buchanan with an 18.97 score. Warren Harding and Andrew Johnson land just above him with 24.11 and 25.72 respectively.

The survey also judges the most overrated and underrated presidents. The most overrated presidents include John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson, while Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush and Harry Truman top the most underrated.

Brandon Rottinghaus of the University of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State University gave the survey. The first presidential rankings, administered by Arthur Schlesinger Sr., took place in 1948.

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