This President Is Officially No Longer Considered The Worst

Published February 19, 2018

Since 1948, James Buchanan has been ranked in the top three worst presidents ever. Now, thanks to a new addition, he's no longer considered the worst.

Worst Presidents Ever

Wikimedia CommonsJames Buchanan and Donald Trump, the two worst presidents ever according to the poll.

For many years, scholars of Democratic and Republican parties alike have agreed upon at least one thing; that James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, was quite possibly the worst one.

The title of “worst president ever,” you’d think, would be an easy one to avoid. After all, William Henry Harrison served for just 30 days before dying unexpectedly, so how do you get much worse than that? However, Buchanan managed to beat Harrison for the title, and since 1948 he’s been in the bottom three on every survey.

However, on this day, President’s Day 2018, Buchanan has finally moved up a notch. No longer is he considered America’s worst president. The new title holder? President Donald Trump.

According to the 2018 “Presidential Greatness Survey,” an online poll responded to by Republican, Democratic and Independent members of the American Political Science Association over the course of three weeks, the current president is also the worst president.

Average Ranking

New York TimesThe top ten worst presidents ever, based on average rankings.

The 170 pollers were asked to rank each president on a scale from 0-100, zero indicating failure, 50 indicating average, and 100 indicating great. The individual scores were then averaged, giving each president a number from 0-100.

Trump came in at a solid 12, a full three points behind Buchanan, and seven points behind Harrison.

While the official ranking was an average of all parties’ scores, the survey also created rankings for each individual party. Unfortunately, Trump didn’t fare well there either. Even according to members of his own party, he’s still a bottom five president, with a rating of 25.

To add salt to the wound, since the last survey in 2014, Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama shot from number 18 to number 8, knocking Bill Clinton out of the top ten. Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson were also booted from the top ten, making way for Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Bottom Ten Rankings

New York TimesFrom left to right, the Democratic, Independent and Republican rankings.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are consistently voted the top three presidents of all time.

In Trump’s defense, at the beginning of their reigns, presidents don’t usually rank too highly, and often manage to course-correct over time. But rarely do they come in dead last.

After all, you have to be pretty bad to be worse than a man who drank 10 gallons of whiskey a week and considered territorial slavery “a matter of little practical importance,” and a guy who literally died 30 days into his presidency.


Enjoy this look at the worst presidents ever? Next, read about some of the most shocking things that U.S. Presidents have said. Then, read more about why some historians believe James Buchanan was the first gay president.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.
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