George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
2 years 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. gaucho420

    Alzheimers hitting earlier and earlier on these days...

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Malkntnt

    Not a chance.

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Robyn

    >> Miss me yet?

    The only place that misses you is The Hague.

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Joe

    No thanks, I'll take Obama any day of the week.

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Thinkergal

    Ugh, ugh, ugh! Noooooooooo. Still worst president ever.

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Jason

    Miss you! Don't ever want to see you again! On tv or on the internet. You and your father completely destroyed America! Be gone and find Jesus Christ, so he can save you!

    June 11, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. wolfyb

    Yep OJ's numbers are up as well. People forget, but not the mangled victims and family members of the dead from that stupid Iraq war. Oh and let's not forget the crash of 2007 due to a total lack of responsible governing. Yep, we miss junior, like a lanced boil.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. SoCalDave

    There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. JustAO

    The economy is improving and the middle aged tea partiers can't stand it with nothing to offer in policy than saying Obama is not a legitimate president. Yet the majority of Americans voted for him TWICE with all this nostalgia for Bush. That doesn't connect.

    Romney was also supposed to win by landslide while GOP governors made it harder for democrats to vote 2012. That doesn't connect either.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. slappy white

    I'm sure there was a point in time when we were nostalgic for Three Stooges movies. too.

    And probably for the same reasons.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. JHL

    Yikes! Folks have a short memory of a few unnecessary wars, a financial melt-down, and an administration lapsing into torture. But as HL Mencken noted, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Kenny

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

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. Harry101

    I never dislike Bush. Things could have gone much worse after 9/11. Of course they could have gone better. But in the end the collapse of the economy and support of the government did not happen as the attackers hoped. Was he human yes and stuff happens that are unforeseen.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. poseidon1220

    Here comes the pendulum! All you dems who ignorantly believed that the country had actually made the shift to liberalism will see that the pendulum always comes back in the other direction after a while. LOL – love it.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. joel from oregon

    amrica needs to remember one thing. worst president in american history!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Kathleen Yack

    saywhat...you are sooooo right! sass2you, another true American who has some brains left! Far too many have lost them to the Party of NO and the Tea Bags who represent the brainless NRA. Brains, there's a thought...Republicans have lost them. Just listen to Bob Dole and the Reagan era Republicans. They don't recognize the party anymore. They must have been thinking about the senior Bush when they polled.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. DustyOnes

    Bush inherited a recession....but even he can't fix the Pelosi, Reid and Obama mess.

    June 11, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. jon

    Hell no!!!! Throw his butt in jail for his unjust war that killed 4,000 troops,destroying the economy, along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld!!! Republicans have a very short memory....

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Jason

    isn't it funny how these criminals just resurface and the media tries to make you like them again after they've literally stole our wealth! It shows they're all working for Lucifer. They're all tied together, but the day you think is coming is near, but you all will be at the side of the pit.

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. L. Regard

    George W. whoooo?

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. RL

    The man told almost 1,000 lies to get his illegal war of revenge on Saddam for the attempt on his "daddy's" life. There should be a special place in hell for him.

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Harvey Wallbanger

    If people are starting to look back more positively at the Bush administration says something about Obama's

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Analystgirl

    Haven't forgotten what he did to destroy this country and it's economy. My friends who lost thier jobs and homes and retirement haven't forgotten either.

    What an asinine article. I am sure with time even oj simpson doesn't look too bad. This is pathetic.

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Truth Seeker

    His popularity numbers are up??? Makes sense, we're happy 'cause we don't see him anymore...

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. steve

    ABSOLUTE, without ANY doubt, the WORST president in American history! Do we miss him? Absolutely not. Hope he rots in hell for sending 4409 of our sons and daughters to their deaths in Iraq in a completely unnecessary, unjustified war. And the GOP is going on and on with Obama over FOUR that sadly lost their lives in Benghazi. Give me a flipping break! Politics in America is a spectator sport, sadly because of the gross stupidity of many who work in D.C.

    June 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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