It might be revealing to compare how the "average person" rates the performance of our 43 U.S. presidents with the methods employed by 238 historians.
When honest, we "average folk" must admit that our judgments are tainted by parental influence, folklore, regional biases and other accidents of personal experience. In addition, we might not have confidence in the claimed objectivity of "egghead" academicians.
Nonetheless, for 28 years, this sizable aggregate of presidential historians has issued five reports in which they rank each president, using 20 criteria on which they judge each of them. Trying to keep 20 values in balance is an awesome task. Family background, imagination, integrity, intelligence, domestic accomplishments, foreign policy accomplishments, leadership ability and avoidance of crucial mistakes, to mention only some criteria of judgment, are enough to indicate the range of values to be considered.
Of importance is the fact that the top 10 presidents have shifted very little in the five surveys taken up to 2010. Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington continue to be ranked as the top five, while Woodrow Wilson, James Madison, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy follow with little variation in placement.