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. scott

    It's because people have short attention spans and even shorter memories. It also helps that he is no longer in office making some of the worst decisions this country has seen in 25 years. He is also helped because the current administration keeps stepping in potholes.
    Bush was smart and kept out of the limelight after leaving office. "Smart" because so many dumb thing came out of his mouth when he was in the limelight.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Sick Rantorum

    When your party runs a campaign of lies for 5 years, attributing the policies and actions of the previous Administration to the current one and convinces their flock to respond with "Obama is blaming Bush" every time someone brings up a Bush policy, yes you can expect that the lowest of low intelligent majority will start to believe them. The fact is that policies put in place by ANY administration takes years to have an effect. We saw the effects in the first 2 and a half years and slowly things have been improving. But when you do things like link the Benghazi 9/11 with the NYC 9/11, you are just playing dangerous games of association to brainwash people.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Calcommuter

    Polls show that Skippy W Bush is missed. Why? Because we miss the comedy. Unable to say nuclear. Trying to open a locked door. Strategery. Fool Me Once. Mission Accomplished. The shoe incident. Congress since then has become a non entity, unable or unwilling to get anything done with the "right" stonewalling or investigating nothing. When Skippy worked for the Cheney administration, the battle cry was "you're with us or against us". Or, "Give the contract to Halliburton" and congress went along knowing there was an oil lobby job waiting for them. We dont miss him because he was a good president. Far from it. We miss him because he didnt have a clue he was clueless...

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Name

    PRESIDENT BUSH. A little respect to our last President. He earned that title.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    "Heck of a job there Whitey!" With a public who loves fast-food, reality TV and thinks texting is discourse I might consider the source. Let's let history judge George W. as it will judge Barack H. as the public have neither the criteria nor the aesthetics to judge much beyond "melty".

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. DE

    Proof that some Americans have 15 minute attentiin spans.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. mikeinthevine

    I miss him like a bad case of the crabs.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. harbharb

    In answer to the headline: No I'm not!

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. CaesarXIII

    Bush has one thing that Obama will never have. Leadership.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Lexagon

    Of course less people hate him. He's essentially harmless now, and Obama just started catching the fallout from the worst thing that's happened during his presidency.

    The number of people who *like* Bush hasn't gone up.

    June 11, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. fabe

    Im disappointed in CNN and all media..Why is George Bush (any of them) in the news. Illuminadi must be true then. He is irrelevant unless he is still behind the scenes with Dick Cheney trying to conquer the world like Pinky and the Brain..There are things happening today and yesterday that you don't cover and hit us with a George Bush approval rating..WOW..Bush is controlling us!

    June 11, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Larry Forrest

    CNN is out of their minds .......

    June 11, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Butch

    An American born President with real credentials, a real first lady we miss them

    June 11, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. barpaza

    No we don't miss you at all

    June 11, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. doomed

    and since when has CNN started becoming FOX news.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Brian from DC

    I get all warm and tingly about George W. Bush whenever I think about Iraq, Afghanistan, and the squandered surplus. Ahhhh, the good old days.....

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. TBone

    Yeah, I'll start liking George W.Bush when all my remaining brain cells evaporate and my head explodes! I seem to recall a line in an old film An Officer And A Gentleman about two things being from Texas.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Bob

    Didn't need to read this article. Just came here for the comments. I knew this would make some people climb the wall. Hilarious!

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Seth

    Oh, we Americans are such idiots. Let's not forget who brought us this current NSA mess in the first place.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Mariner II

    Even the comments here tell you how fickle americans are. Bush ran the country into the ground and people how have either amnesia or dementia forget what an idiot he was even with two degrees. They say where there's smoke there's fire. Most of the country voted for Bush twice so what does that tell you about the voters. This is why it is so important to promote education so that idiots don't get to blow it for the rest of us.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. theoldfool1950

    Proof positive of the short memories of the American people. Bush and Cheney should be in jail. That's the way I want to remember them.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. sc3441

    The American people are coming to the realization that there's not much difference between the two parties....imo. One is as bad as the other.....

    Obama is no saint... he's finishing what Bush started. I also wonder about his leadership skills. Was Bush a better leader? Not really......

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Fact_Feed

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The only ones missing this snake-oil salesman are the same punch-drunk suckers and demagogues who have always supported him.

    You know it's a slow news day when garbage like this ends-up as a front-page banner headline. And you know when it's a bad news organization when counterfeit trash like this try to turn reality on its head, using a front-page banner headline to commit the fraud.

    June 11, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. clem

    I bet the innocent people murdered in Iraq, them and us, would think otherwise. "you're either with us or against us" sounds like a dictator to me....AND HE said that.

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. RINO Bil

    Not gonna happen! Ever!

    Bush is still, by far, the worst president ever ... although Obama is sure trying hard to grab that title away from him.

    Sadly, Bush was a better choice than Gore or Kerry and Obama was better a better choice than McCain or Romney.

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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