How has history's ranking of presidents changed over time?

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In love and politics alike, absence tends to make the heart grow fonder. As InsideGov looked at how historians and political scientists have ranked U.S. presidents, we found that, in general, perceptions of presidents improved with a bit of distance.

Using rankings from a batch of scholar surveys InsideGov tracked how every president's score fluctuated from 1948 to 2015 (President Barack Obama isn't included in the list because he only has been ranked in two surveys).

How does history grade your favorite president?

#1. George Washington

Top Rank: No. 19
Bottom Rank: No. 39

While still in office, President George W. Bush received higher marks. But once he left the White House in 2008, his scores plummeted. Many of Bush's policies abroad, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, were hugely unpopular and became key election year issues in 2008.

Learn More About U.S. Presidents

Related: Look back through pictures of presidents pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys:

Presidents with Turkeys - Thanksgiving - Turkey pardons
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How has history's ranking of presidents changed over time?

Photograph of President Truman looking on as representatives of the turkey industry exhibit the Thanksgiving turkey they have presented to the President, outside the White House, 11/16/1949

(Flickr/US National Archives)

The President Receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, Accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirkson , 11/19/1963

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving, 11/18/1969

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Richard Nixon on Thanksgiving Day, November 20, 1970, in Washington. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Pat Nixon Receives the Annual Live Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1971

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Gerald R. Ford is Presented with a Thanksgiving Turkey by the National Turkey Federation, 11/20/1975

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House, 11/23/1982

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan Attending a Ceremony to Receive the 36th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey from Representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn, 11/21/1983

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan attending ceremony to receive the 36th annual Thanksgiving Turkey from representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn.

(Flickr/US National Archives)

White House Ceremony to Receive the 40th Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1987

(Flickr/US National Archives)

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: President Barack Obama with his daughters by his side, Sasha and malia, ceremoniously pardon Popcorn the turkey during the annual 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony on the north portico of the White House on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The turkey, and turkey alternate, will be driven to George Washingtons Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. And will be on display for visitors during Christmas at Mount Vernon, through January 6. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: (L to R) U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at his his daughters Sasha and Malia after he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac (not shown,) both 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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