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. Miss GW?

    I swear this must be April Fool's Day. GW will go down in history as the worst president we've ever had. Does anyone remember his lies, torture policy, greed, and the deaths of thousands of soldiers and countless innocent civilians? Does anyone remember he ignored warnings of 9/11? How about Cheney, the king of greed and narcissism. How about the tanked economy he caused? Need I go on?

    June 11, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. 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 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Truth

    Democrats hate Republicans as people.
    Republicans hate Democrat ideas.
    Big difference.

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Matt

    "Bush is a war criminal. Must be tried at The Hague, including Obama for his direct and indirect role in the killing of Libyans and Syrians." Yeah, to be honest, I'm not sure why haven't learned that we'll never be able to provide safety and human rights to these war-torn crapholes. But we still try and we still end up being hated. I say let these Islamic cultists slaughter each other, the world will be a slightly more intelligent place.

    "I hope you Osama Obama voters like the Hitler reincarnation" and "only proof that America is getting dumber is that they voted in that mongrel OBAMA – SHAME ON YOU AMERICA!!!!!" – I must say these are a couple of the least intelligent things I've read on the internet and that's saying quite a bit.

    "It's not really a surprise. In 2009 we were in the midst of the worst economy since the depression." – This gentleman actually had the nerve (or lack of memory) to conveniently move the economic crash forward a year or more into the Obama administration.

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. alan

    after 4 years of the bunch thats in there now,i am looking fondly back to the Nixon administration.

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. The Vocal Atheist

    Ummm... actually no... not at all. Really... nope!

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Voiceinthewind

    They must be asking his immediate family because I don't know anyone who has changed their opinion of America's worst president who is nothing but a murdering, war mongering, evil person that belongs in prison.

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Pandora

    It's getting deep folks!

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I definitely was not polled!!

    June 11, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Bob

    "blamed everything they could on Bush"

    Credit where credit is due – he destroyed the economy, and our freedoms, he gets the blame.

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. A-nono-mouse

    Miss you? I'm still trying to figure out why you aren't in prison.

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. pgraham52

    Couldn't we all just agree we could do better than this and then try.

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. G

    This has to be the fakest news poll/story CNN has released. Makes me nauseous that he has that much money to have this on CNN headlines. More nauseous that CNN actually has this as a headline.

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Flgeeman

    NOOOOOOO.......... WE DO NOT AND NEVER WILL LIKE THIS MURDERER.
    He is a TERRORIST and should be tried for crimes against humanity.

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. mike0404

    Miss him like I miss a bad cold

    June 11, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. McGee

    He remains one of the 5 worst and least-competent Presidents in American history.

    June 11, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. lawrence heinen

    George W. Bush is quite simply the worst President we ever had, and by a very wide margin. He failed to stop the 9/11 attacks (all he had to do was make public the very strong warning he had received in August of 2001), he launched a war of aggression again Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, ruining our reputation and causing mass hostility throughout the Muslim world, thus greatly diminishing our nation security, and he wrecked out economy. Quite a record.

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. knightmese

    @Alan Hitler? Really? Take a few moments to go read about what Hitler really did then realize your comparison is completely idiotic.

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Richard Wad

    Bush was terrible, and he looks like a real superstar compared to Obama.
    Obama is a couple tick tocks away from impeach mode.

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Boater39

    More proof that Alzheimers rates are rising in America....

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Clouds9

    Nope! I'll never forget ole georgie sending hundreds of innocent young men and women to their deaths! It's like the unfortunate gift that keeps on giving. Obama, on the other hand will be known as one of the best presidents in office along with the Clintons!

    Hillary 2014!!!

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. mb2010a

    Americans are certainly a weird bunch. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are both guilty of treason and war crimes against humanity and somehow his poll numbers are up. How soon we forget...

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. blindbear

    Worst. President. EVER. Unchanged.

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. BobWhiite

    How soon we forget. Just cause he is stupid doesn't mean he shouldn't be held accountable.

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. SteveinMN

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you cake eating, war-mongering, shallow thinking, rash acting silly-arsed, never-grown-up, silver-spooned FRAT BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON, COUNTRY RUINER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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