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Who were some of the best and worst U.S. presidents?

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Quick Answer

According to a 2014 poll of the American Political Science Association, the three greatest U.S. Presidents were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt. According to the same poll, the three worst presidents were James Buchanan, Warren Harding and Andrew Johnson. The poll, which involved 391 experts on the American presidency, was taken online between May and November of 2014.

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Other top 10 presidents according to the poll were Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was the first of similar polls where Bill Clinton made the top 10. Other presidents that ranked in the bottom 10 were Franklin Pierce and William Harrison. Presidents who served a shortened term tended to rank among the worst.

In regards to which presidents were the most underrated, the respondents ranked Eisenhower as no. 1, followed by George H.W. Bush and Harry Truman. Like other top-ranked presidents, these three all oversaw international conflicts. As for the most overrated presidents, the respondents ranked John F. Kennedy as no. 1, followed by Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson.

President Barack Obama ranked 18th on the list of greatest presidents, and ranked the second-most polarizing president of modern times after George W. Bush. Two percent of respondents suggested adding Obama to Mt. Rushmore. In a 2010 poll of the American public, the respondents voted that John F. Kennedy should appear next on Mt. Rushmore.

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