Survey of historians: Lincoln still best president

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Story highlights

  • C-SPAN released survey of presidential historians
  • Dwight Eisenhower moved into the top five for the first time.

(CNN)Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt are still considered the four best presidents in American history, according to a survey of presidential historians released Friday by C-SPAN.

"Once again the Big Three are Lincoln, Washington and FDR - as it should be," said historian Douglas Brinkley, who helped guide C-SPAN's research. "That Obama came in at number 12 his first time out is quite impressive. And the survey is surprisingly good news for George W. Bush, who shot up a few notches."
Dwight Eisenhower moved into the top five for the first time.
The worst ranked presidents include Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce. James Buchanan, who led the country as it headed into Civil War, came in last.
C-SPAN's academic advisers asked 91 presidential historians to rate each president from one to 10 on presidential leadership: "Public Persuasion," "Crisis Leadership," "Economic Management," "Moral Authority," "International Relations," "Administrative Skills," "Relations with Congress," "Vision/Setting An Agenda," "Pursued Equal Justice for All," and "Performance Within the Context of His Times."