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Trump ranks as worst president in poll of scholars

Last Updated Feb 20, 2018 11:01 AM EST

President Trump came in last place in an expert ranking of "presidential greatness," according to the 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey released by Boise State University Monday.

The survey was conducted among 170 current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, which is a group of scholars dedicated to studying the American presidency.

These experts were asked to rank each president on a scale from zero (worst) to 100 (best) based on their overall performance in office. With this, Mr. Trump came in last place with an average score of 12.34.

Even among Republican respondents, Mr. Trump still ranked extremely low, earning the 40th spot for presidential greatness. These Republicans labeled James Buchanan -- whose presidency saw the secession of seven states before the Civil War -- as the all-time worst and George Washington as the best. 

Coming in first place is Abraham Lincoln, who scored an average of 95.03 between both Democrats and Republicans surveyed. The top seven presidents have remained the same since the poll was last conducted in 2014: Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In this round of questioning, former president Barack Obama moved up in the rankings to 8th best president, whereas in 2014 he came in at 18th. Scholars identifying as Republican, however, ranked Obama 16th. Ronald Reagan, who also moved up from his previous ranking, trails behind Obama in 9th place.

Bearing in mind that this was Mr. Trump's first year in office, the survey takers asked respondents to grade him on an A-F scale on these subjects: his presidency overall, legislative accomplishments, foreign policy leadership, embodying institutional norms, and communicating with the public. Overall, scholars gave him failing grades -- three Fs and two Ds. He scored highest on communicating with the public and lowest on embodying institutional norms. Self-identifying Republicans graded him higher -- three Ds and two Cs -- the higher marks were in communicating with the  public and foreign policy leadership.

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    Blair Guild is a politics reporter and video producer for CBS News Digital.