The survey, carried out by the American cable network, C-Span, asked 142 historians to rank the US presidents in a series of 10 categories. The former 45th president of the United States came in forth from the bottom (41st out of 44), only winning out against early pro-slavery leaders such as Franklin Pierce.
The worst ranked president was James Buchanan, who has placed bottom of the list in all previous surveys.
Buchanan served as Lincoln’s predecessor from 1857 to 1861, and is widely blamed for leading the country into the civil war.
43rd was Andrew Johnson who served from 1865 to 1869 following Lincoln’s assassination.
42nd was Franklin Pierce who served from 1853 to 1857.
Mark Upgrove, one of the historians who took part in the survey, admitted it may be too early to view Trump’s presidency unfavourably.
He told The New York Times: “For Mr Trump, whose administration was marked by chaos, discord and division — much of his own making — it may take longer for greater even-handedness to take hold.
“All things considered, it’s difficult to see Mr Trump emerging from the ratings basement.”
The C-Span survey takes place every time the White House changes hands and began when George W. Bush was elected on November 7, 2000.
Each survey category was marked out of 100 and covered a range of issues such as public persuasion, economic management, moral authority and administrative skills.
Abraham Lincoln was ranked the best president, coming out on top in seven categories.
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The 16th US president, most widely known for helping to abolish slavery, ranked first in crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, administrative skills, vision, pursued equal justice for all and performance within context of the times.
Two of the remaining three categories were topped by Franklin Roosevelt who won the public persuasion and international relations categories
George Washington clinched the top spot of the remaining category – relations with Congress.
The top-ranked living president was Barack Obama who rose two places (12th to 10th) since the last survey in 2016.
Previously speaking to Express.co.uk, Simon Dolan, a political commentator and author of Trump: The Hidden Halo, believes a lot of Mr Trump’s accomplishments have been overlooked.
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He said: “On a lot of metrics he did do a better job than for example Obama, who was obviously a career politician and certainly is doing a better job than Biden.
“For example, the peace deals in the Middle East – that gets barely a mention and yet this is something fundamental to western politics for the last 70 years – and yet he has managed to broker those peace deals.
“He has no credit for it whatsoever.”
Reflecting on Donald Trump’s legacy, Mr Dolan said: “He did things differently and he’ll always be remembered as eccentric and all the other things but when a period of time has gone that you’ve forgotten the personality or become numb to the personality, then I think his achievements will be remembered in a respectful way.”
The top 5 presidents were:
1st: Abraham Lincoln
2nd: George Washington
3rd: Franklin D. Roosevelt
4th Theodore Roosevelt
5th Dwight D. Eisenhower