US Presidents Study Historical Rankings

Since 1982, the SCRI Survey of U.S. Presidents has been conducted during the second year of the first term of a new president. Previous SCRI surveys of U.S. Presidents have been reported in Presidential Studies Quarterly, The New York Times, Washington Post, recent scholarly reviews of the presidents, and national news networks.

2022 Rankings

The 2022 study found that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the top president based on the survey responses of historians and experts. 

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2018 Rankings

The 2018 study found that George Washington was rated as the top president based on the survey responses of historians and experts.

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2010 Rankings

The 2010 study found that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt were the top two presidents ranked by historians and experts.

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2002 Rankings

At the start of George W. Bush’s presidency, the SCRI US Presidents Study found that Bill Clinton ranked 18th among presidents and ranked 2nd only to FDR in his handling of the economy.

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1994 Rankings

Bill Clinton was ranked favorably in the early days of his presidency while George H.W. Bush did poorly. Bush fell from 18th to 31ist overall.

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1990 Rankings

The second iteration of the US Presidents study found that FDR was still ranked number one by experts and historians while Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt rounded out the top five.

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1982 Rankings

The very first US Presidents study found Lincoln to be ranked first and FDR was ranked second. One of the original stated goals of this study was to find how expert rankings of presidents change over time.