George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
10 months ago

Poll: You're starting to remember Bush fondly

(CNN) - For the first time since 2005, more Americans have a favorable view of former President George W. Bush than an unfavorable view.

According to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday, 49% have a positive opinion of the two-term Republican president, while 46% feel the opposite.

The survey was conducted entirely before reports emerged last week of U.S. government surveillance programs, some of which began under the Bush administration.

As time goes by, presidents generally see their numbers improve the longer they are out of office. Gallup numbers show presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all had favorable ratings over 60% when last measured.

Read more: Most former presidents look better through history's eyes

Bush has largely stayed out of the limelight since leaving the White House, but he gained a more public profile in April and May with the opening of his presidential library in Dallas.

The new Gallup poll results mark a stark contrast from January 2009, when the 43rd president left office with a favorable rating of 40% and an unfavorable rating of 59%. Two months later, the gap widened to 35% favorable and 63% unfavorable.

Since mid-2010, his favorable ratings have hovered around the mid-40s, while his unfavorable rating gradually decreased to 46% from 53%.

Read more: Bush 43: 'History will ultimately judge ... I'm a content man'

Breaking it down further, Bush has seen improvement among independents and both political parties. Twenty-four percent of Democrats view him in a positive light, according to the new survey, compared to 10% in January 2009. Republicans saw a 14 percentage point jump, with 84% now having a positive opinion of Bush.

The biggest increase came among independents. While 29% gave him a favorable rating in 2009, that number now stands at 46%.

The Gallup results fall in line with a CNN/ORC International Poll released in late April, shortly before Bush's library dedication ceremony. Those results indicated the number of people who believed Bush's presidency was a failure had significantly dropped (by 13 percentage points) since he left office.

Gallup surveyed 1,529 adults by telephone from June 1 to June 4. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: George W. Bush • Polls
soundoff (1,768 Responses)
  1. George Dixon

    Gallup: BUSH MORE POPULAR THAN OBAMA

    In a Gallup tracking poll released Tuesday, former-President George W. Bush currently stands with a favorability rating of 49% and President Obama with only a 47% approval rating

    June 11, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. JET25

    "far left Obama"?

    What has he done that's so "left"?

    Advocate infrastructure spending when bridges are falling down and hurting people? When there's infrastructure that's obsolete old fashioned junk? and Germany..that lost the war...has the cool modern infrastructure?

    Enact a health care plan that forces people to pay their own way? So they don't just show up in the emergency putting the cost on others?

    Advocate a tax hike in an attempt to regain some fiscal responsibility, and pay for some of the spending programs created by Bush and other presidents that have built up a huge debt? (even so, taxes are still lowest in history)

    over half a million government jobs cut?

    Advocate mandatory background checks, simply so someone can't go and buy 10 guns in Frankfort Illinois, and bring them into Chicago's south side?

    June 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Gallup...makes one think of horses...which makes one think of horsesh-t. Did they use their new and improved polling paradigms for this or is it just the same ole same ole garbage that left them at the bottom of the pile with Rasmussen after November 2012? Yeah yeah, we heard their euphemized excuses and "we'll do better next time...promise" nonsense...as if a 17 page "report" could possibly address the fundamental methodological problems they're clearly experiencing.

    June 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. john

    Americans are stupid. I know. I are one.

    June 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Tierless Time

    No, I'm just having an increasingly harder time telling Obama from him...

    June 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Jose

    People are really, really, really, REALLY dumb.

    June 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Pygmymetal

    um hell NO I don't miss you.

    Please, just go away. Forever.

    June 11, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. WB

    Assad is also contempt...

    June 11, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. RichardSRussell

    Any word on whether Cheney's approval ratings are up into double digits yet?

    June 11, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. chizzlin sam

    WAR CRIMINAL and TRAITOR...should be held in Guantanamo for trial...

    June 11, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Jayakumar

    YEah sure. Since the economy is getting stronger, we can now go back and repeat history... elect another republican Bush look alike and enter another recession. A nation that forgets are forced to repeat history. Remember that every recession since the great depression has happened during a republican presidency.

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Dan

    Nonsense, just because the Obama regime has 'continued' some bad stuff (ie: spying on Americans, keeping the POWs at Guantanamo Bay infinitely in prison without trial in an international court, pandering to minority special interest groups etc), doesn't change the fact the Bush (along with his Republican collaborators) was a truly evil man during his regime: lying us into Iraq, illegally attacking Iraq, killing over 70,000 civilians during the Iraq invasion, outing CIA operatives, torturing people, renditioning people for torture, and overall ignoring of the rule of law.

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Bay O. Net

    Yes, I fondly remember how Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but 5 conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court decided to reverse the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that Gore had won the popular vote in Florida, thereby giving Florida's electoral votes to George W. Bush and upending the outcome of the presidential election. I remember how terrorists entered the U.S., hijacked four commercial passenger jets, and killed 3,000 Americans - all under the watch of the Bush-Cheney administration. I remember how the Bush-Cheney administration failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice for 9/11. I remember how the Bush-Cheney administration falsely claimed that Iraq had al-Qaeda terrorist cells within its borders back in 2003. I remember how the Bush-Cheney administration falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I remember how the Bush-Cheney administration falsely claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in 2003. I remember how the Bush-Cheney administration authorized the invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation in 2003 under false pretenses. I remember President George W. Bush standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a banner saying "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" in advance of the 2004 presidential election. I remember how President George W. Bush grew the U.S. national debt with four of the most expensive programs in U.S. history: the war in Afghanistan; the invasion and occupation of Iraq; the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; and the Bush prescription drug benefit program that represented one of the biggest deficit-spending programs in history. I remember how President George W. Bush praised his politically-appointed head of FEMA in the wake of the Katrina hurricane disaster that devastated New Orleans and the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama. And I remember how the record-breaking deficits and financial deregulation of the Bush-Cheney years led to the 2007-2009 recession and the 2008 financial crisis, all during the last 24 months of the George W. Bush presidency, leading to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s and long-term stagnation of the U.S. jobs market. I'm starting to remember all of that fondly. Good times!

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. well

    yeah right. nice try, criminals.

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Tim Murphy

    I hope that George Bush Sr. and Jr. suffers the most painful and torturous fate that this world can bring upon them.... Their graves should be urinated and defecated on...

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. GOP

    America is bankrupt thanks to Bush and GOP.

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Kenny

    This tells me that Americans are getting dumber and dumber by the minute.

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Yancy

    Just proof that American's are indeed getting dumber and less informed if this poll is to be believed.

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. Graham

    Headline should be: Frigging Idiots Have Short Memory.

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. bellaterra66

    This is incredible. Former Pres. Bush was horrible. How can we forget that??!! Two wars for nothing. Are we crazy?

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. chizzlin sam

    some of bushie boy's friends...
    Booz Allen Hamilton, Edward Snowden's employer, is one of America's biggest security contractors and a significant part of the constantly revolving door between the US intelligence establishment and the private sector.

    The current of director of national intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, who issued a stinging attack on the intelligence leaks this weekend, is a former Booz Allen executive. The firm's current vice-chairman, Mike McConnell, was DNI under the George W Bush administration. He worked for the Virginia-based company before taking the job, and returned to the firm after leaving it. The company website says McConnell is responsible for its "rapidly expanding cyber business".

    James Woolsey, a former CIA director was also a Booz Allen vice-president, and Melissa Hathaway, another former company executive also once worked as the top aide on cybersecurity to McConnell when he was DNI. The company headquarters in the leafy Washington suburb of McLean in northern Virginia, close to CIA headquarters and home to former and current intelligence officers.

    Snowden's decision to reveal his identity as a computer systems administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton, directly handling National Security Agency IT systems, raises significant image problems for the $6bn company and its 25,000-strong staff, which has traded on a bond of trust with sensitive clients, particularly the intelligence establishment.

    now back to cnn....the corrupt news network...

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. blaze562

    Anything would look better than what we have now, but the people who supposedly voted for the spear chuck er shall enjoy his fruits to the very last but truth is truth.

    June 11, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Paul

    Could it be because Obama has made the US look like a communist nation more than it ever has!

    June 11, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. bob

    You must be kidding me!

    June 11, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Grinning Libber

    So Americans like war criminals?

    June 11, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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