George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
1 year 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. cardone

    I did not and do no and will not like Bush about Iraqi war. This is the biggest mistake he did together with Dick C. and Colin Powell. They did not lie very well!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Skalamoosh

    Sounds about right. He had his shortcomings as all presidents, and all people in general, have about them. Moving into Obama as president goes to show what can happen when you have a corrupt Gov't leading things. No progressive change and extension of the recession which could have been recovered by now. No more reason to "blame Bush" for things that were not his fault to begin with, but the liberalism itself.

    June 11, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. jon

    They must have called people in Texas only, no wonder it's so good.

    June 11, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. MikeTheAtheist

    I believe that Gallup survey just as much as I believe the Gallup survey that said Romney was going to win the election.

    June 11, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Pork Buckets

    2 unfunded wars. One of which was totally unnecessary. Resulting in the deaths of 5000+ service people, 100,000+ Iraqis and the maiming of 35,000+ soldiers.

    1 unfunded healthcare mandate.

    1 unfunded tax break for the wealthy.

    6 years of red control of congress and no fix for the housing bubble.

    Ends his term with the worst economy in the nations history.

    Trust me. I have lost all faith in Obama but will never, EVER, EVER....miss the dubya.

    June 11, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Mike,Albany

    If this is true, then most Americans are as dumb as he is, and memories are extremely short. However, here are a few choice reminders: "Brownie, yer doin' a heck of a job!" "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, [long pause], ya can't get fooled twice!" "Misunderestimate", and "We know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction".

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. Bill from Long Island

    We're liking Bush more and more? Sheesh, that's proof of just how badly Obama is screwing up.
    (PS Hey Laura was kinda cute in her younger days.)

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. fuzzback

    And the dumbing-down of America continues...

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    The worst fellow.

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. MaryM

    Right, lets bring ol'George back so he can start a few more wars.

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Mike,Albany

    If this is true, then most Americans are as dumb as he is, and memories are extremely short. However, here are a few choice reminders: "Brownie, yer doin' a heck of a job!" "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, [long pause], ya can't get fooled twice!" "Misunderestimate", and "We know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction".

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Justin

    Love this guy, he dealt with some issues that no other president had to deal with. Though everyone is now against war when 9/11 even the hippies were saying we need to invade!

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Steveo

    History will decide on Bush. I find it interesting how some of you just want to forget how some DEMS voted for war! Why is that? H. Clinton, Pelosi, as well as the flip flopping John Kerry voted fund and fight those two wars. Remember? Yet The same Kerry was the Dem nominee in 2004 and you have all but crowned Clinton in 2016!

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Kenny

    I'm a Republican and Bush was (and still) the President I despised.

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. TC

    Polls on CNN show now that I hate privacy and love GW Bush. Either I live in a different America or CNN is polling in a House or Reps session

    June 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. tkzed

    Just goes to show the collective ignorance of the population takes 5 years to rear its ugly head.

    Bush was a maniac guilty of war crimes.

    Jeffery Snowen and Wikileaks will prove this.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Jane

    Is CNN really trying to get Fox viewers that much with tripe like this? It was bad enough during the librarylolapalooza so this is my jumping off point.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. DonN

    Republicans are, were and always be enamored with the Bush Dynasty. But because he left the country in near ruins when he left office, they kept shut for the most part venting their spleen on Obama as they have for the last few years, now amid the bogus scandals created the Speaker of the H0ouse, they feel its safe to bow in obeisance to their idols: GHWB & GWB. Most the rest of the country still doesn't like him. What liberal media are you Republicans talking about? There hasn't been a liberal media in close to 15-years.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. don

    bush is nothing.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. ObjectiveGuy

    Yes, Bush blew it on Iraq, but I honestly think they had the WMD that Sadaam Hussein claimed they had. Other than that, he was a sincere guy who loved his country, and tried his hardest to do what was best for us. Clinton handed him a time bomb with the mortgage fiasco, which was going to explode as soon as housing prices stopped increasing. Anyone who was in the White House would have had the same economic collapse occur, so we have to give due thanks to Mr. Clinton for that. Obama does not have a fraction of the integrity or the good intentions that Bush had. Obama is purely self serving, and does whatever serves the Democratic party's needs, not the USA's needs. Yes, compared to Obama, I miss Bush a lot.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Dominic

    Worst President ever. I will never miss this man. He should have been impeached and thrown in jail. Our nation would have been better for it.

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Bob

    First term invaded Iraq no reason scaring everyone into believing they had nuclear weapons terrorist etc
    Second term his in the cabinet mostly his bank and mortgage affiliated buddies the treasury department sent the country into a recession that may take some time to get out of and then pile that on top of all the dumb crap he managed to get us into with his scare tactics he surely was an awesome president please!!!!! I still can't believe he got re-elected

    June 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Pat in il

    You're kidding, right? Some republicans must be stuffing the polls or something. The more I know about the Bush years, the more unfavorable he becomes to me.

    June 11, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Annie

    Who did not see this coming? Anyone with intelligence knew Obama was going to change things. For the worse.

    June 11, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Commenter

    "Dubya" was the worst US president ever. I was embarrassed to be an American. He and Cheney were either crooks or fools or both...definitely stole elections, got us into wars under false pretenses, etc. The worst...the absolute worst.

    June 11, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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