Many Americans wonder which U.S. Presidents rank highest and who ranks the lowest. The answers are often unexpected. This can happen because of confirmation bias where people assume a conclusion that meets with their own expectations.
According to Arthur Schlesinger in a PBS FrontLine report from 2004, several years before President Obama was elected, the following U.S. Presidents listed as failures, include Pierce, Grant, Hoover, Nixon, Andrew Johnson, Buchanan and Harding. President Carter did not even make the below average list that included President's Taylor, Coolidge, Fillmore and Tyler.
In a February 2015 Washington Post survey of the American Political Science Association's Presidents & Executive Politics section, those surveyed put Abraham Lincoln as number one and President Obama as number eighteen.
President Clinton ranks eighth between Eisenhower and Jackson. The New York Times says that President Obama will likely wind up about 17th, saying that he will be "somewhere on the boundary between good and average."
According to an Atlantic article from 2012, they found that former President Carter was about as popular as Ronald Reagan, even though Reagan beat Carter in the 1980 Presidential election. A survey of historians by C-SPAN put President Carter at 24th out of the 42 previous US Presidents. In short, not far from the middle of the pack.
US News reported near the end of 2014, that even though there are often disagreements about who ranks where, there is a wide interest in the question that dates back to 1948 when Arthur Schlesinger Sr. did a poll for Life Magazine asking more than four dozen specialists in American history to rank U.S. Presidents in categories including great, average and failure.
As in most surveys Abraham Lincoln claims the top spot, with Warren Harding at the bottom. At this writing, President Lincoln is first, President Clinton is eighth, President Obama is eighteenth and President Carter is twenty-fifth out of forty-two U.S. Presidents.