January 14th, 2009
01:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Rising GOP approval gives Bush 'lame duck' bounce

Bush's approval ratings are going up slightly as he leaves office.

Bush's approval ratings are going up slightly as he leaves office.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll gives President Bush a welcome parting gift: a "lame duck" bounce.

A USA Today/Gallup released Wednesday national poll indicates that 34 percent of Americans approve of George W. Bush's job performance as president. That's up 5 points from last month, and represents Bush's highest approval in a USA Today/Gallup survey in a year.

Sixty-one percent of those questioned in the poll disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president, down from 67 percent last month.

"Most presidents get this sort of end-of-term bounce," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Holland points out that Ronald Reagan's approval rating went up 12 points between the 1988 election and his final approval rating in December of that year. Bush's father had a 34 percent approval rating when he lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, but by January of 1993, that figure had grown by 22 points. Clinton's own approval rating rose by 9 points between the 2000 election and the 2001 inauguration.

Bush appears to have members of his own party to thank for his bounce. Three out of four Republicans polled approve of Bush's performance. That 75 percent approval rating among Republicans is up 8 points from last month, and 20 points from his October showing.

"When the party's future was in the hands of John McCain, loyal Republicans probably felt that they had to rally behind McCain but felt free to criticize Bush," Holland noted. "But Republicans are the group that is most likely to feel some nostaglia for the Bush years, and that may be helping his numbers within the GOP."

Twenty-eight percent of independent voters and 6 percent of Democrats approve of Bush's job performance.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted January 9-11, with 1,031 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Peggy from IA

    Amber January 14th, 2009 1:19 pm ET

    "Up to 34% approval" is a bit like saying that instead of a turd sandwich, you now have a turd sandwich with cheese.

    That's sooo funny! You cracked me up w/that one. I was ready to add the same "Who are these 34 percenters" but your comment just made it for me. Thanks for your humor. Really! It made my day.

    January 14, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. bo

    but W didn't keep us safe on Sept.11, 2001
    W killed the wrong man
    W killed Sadam Hussein and Bin Laden is still out there
    W is pitiful
    W only thinks about W and tax cuts for the rich
    what a sad presidency- he has done NOTHING in 8 years for the working person!

    January 14, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. KenM

    For those that want to "heal the wounds" and "bridge the divide" in this country, you need to consider this statistic in the above article: "Three out of four Republicans polled approve of Bush's performance." I'm sorry, but that is downright pathetic.......for this group to haved viewed and lived through the abject and repeated failure of Bush's administration over the full range of policy issues....to have one aspect of that failure be "in your face" everyday now if the form one of this nation's biggest economic downturns ever, thanks in no small part to the lack of oversight provided by his cabinent and other appointees....to view all of this failure, and then to say you actually approve of it is a not so subtle sign of: (1) mental problems, or (2) such an intense hyper-partisanship that it leaves no room for analysing issues and learning from mistakes for the ultimate betterment of this country. I feel not the slightest sense of responsibility to offer my hand to such downright unpatriotic idiots.

    January 14, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. jim, Middletown, Connecticut

    Far more Americans have died in Iraq than perished due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. So, it would be fair to say that – rather than keep us safe – Bush created another event that would result in the unnecessary loss of thousands of American lifes. In any case, he certainly did not keep us safe on 9/11. Why is it that so many people give the man credit for an effort that is/was a day late and a dollar short?

    Bush's accomplisments – AIDS relief in Africa and a reasonable, if not initiated, immigration policy are two examples – seem very small against the backdrop of his many failures.

    January 14, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Max

    Maybe he'll be closer to a respectable level if he acts more pathetic. It's a reversal from his past eight years of arrogant recklessness, but comes way too late. He gets a disapproval rating from me.

    January 14, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. LIBERAL FOR LIFE

    Buh Bye, LAME-O!!! Instead of you worrying about terror striking, you should have multi tasked a little harder and made sure both the safety and welfare of your american citizens were not jeopardized. Instead, you sat around and waited for Bin Laden to strike again while the country's economic system went up in smoke. Thanks alot LAME-O!! You will definitely go down in history for this one.

    January 14, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. cobra

    There is going to be a heck of a lot of people very soon wishing that President Bush was back in the White House.

    January 14, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Matt

    yeah, bounce...I'd like to bounce his head off a curb....

    January 14, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. cobra

    Six more days and it will be time to fly the flag at half mast and upside down as a sign of distress!!

    January 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. LIBERAL FOR LIFE

    Yes he kept us safe after 9/11, but now we are all poor and without jobs. Do you realize he gave the authority to all these fortune 500 companies to send our jobs to India or other countries overseas? What do you conservative right wingers have to say about that? Your jobs were jeopardized as well.

    January 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Idealist

    I believe that he and his entire administration should be brought up on charges of CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY (in addition to "War Crimes").

    January 14, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Don

    I have never been a fan of President Bush...but he has been our President and he deserves the respect that comes with that office. I may not like his policy decisions...but I do respect his service to our nation. We need to put a stop now to this childish name calling of public officials...I hated when people did this to Bill and Hillary and now Obama...and I hate it when people do it to Bush. You can critize without the hate.

    January 14, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. T Dawg

    You people are hilarious! Rather than take responsibility for your own greed and entitled mentality that got this couny where it is. You want to blame it all on one guy in a White House. He was not perfect, however he played the hand he was dealt. I am sure all of you could have done a great job protecting the country from terrorists, saving people that would NOT leave a city before it went under water,after the fact. Saving the country from an economic disaster that was brought on by the deregulation of the Clinton era, supported by Obama. Iraq was a mistake, but everyone wanted someone to pay for the towers and the majority of you supported it at the time. Once you are in it you can't run from it. you have to finish it. Bush did not have have the national puse strings, that is congress. He did not hold anyone's head under water in N. O. after Katrina. The buses were there before the storm. And he certainly did not make the idiots buy homes and cars that they could not afford. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELVES AMERICA!

    January 14, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. RSJ

    Bush made some mistakes but he was alot better than what we could've had. A man who blamed the 1st Bush for NOT going into Baghdad in Desert Storm. A man who wanted to fight a "sensitive" war on terror. And now we have a man who can't set a straight foreign policy. I don't agree with lots of what Bush did, but I will give him credit for this country being safe from attack and for a stronger military. The economy wasn't his fault. The housing crunch was coming since the 90s. What does Bush have to do with people buying houses they can't pay for? HELLO people! Wake up and smell the responsibility.

    I can endure Obama for 8 but its Palin 2016!

    January 14, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Billy

    Boy, who are those morons?

    January 14, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Debbie

    Ha. All this means is that more people are glad he's gone.

    January 14, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Robert

    QUESTION FOR DEMOCRATS: Shouldn't the real headline read... "Democratic-controlled Congress leaves office with lower approval rating than Bush, Truman or Nixon" ? Just check out the facts:

    1. Bush exits on a 34% approval rating (only three points lower than Clinton's June 1993 rating, and nowhere near Truman's all-time low of 22%) while the 110th Democratic -controlled Congress exited on a horrific 20% approval rating.

    2. In July 2008, the Democrat-controlled Congess set the 34-year Gallup history with an all-time worst rating of 14%. No President, not even Truman, ever posted anywhere near that low.

    Short form: If there's a goat to kick around, look at our Democrat-controlled Congess not George W.Bush.

    January 14, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Dimes1

    The bounce is just buyer’s remorse by Democrats for electing Obama

    January 14, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    John Gotti had a higher approval rating.

    January 14, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Matt

    @ Robert

    Since 2006, when the Dems took a majority of Congress, the GOP has filibustered like crazy and Bush set a record for vetoes, so nobody is buying your malarcky. Looking at the Congressional rating as though it's a statement about the Dems is nonsense. It's really a statement about how sick the populace is of the partisanship and the games that result when people allow politics to supercede rational thinking.

    January 14, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
1 2 3