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. Lost Freedom

    Just goes to show how stupid the voting public is today. Why don't you vote in Hillary next so that Big Sister can keep the government abuse going.

    June 11, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Brian

    Yea bush did have some great follies. He could actually be charged for war crimes.

    When you look back 30 years from now you'll just remember Obama's follies. They are that great.

    June 11, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Ron B

    Nothing can change the fact that George W. Bush was the worst President ever. So stupid, ignorant, egotistical. This nation may never recover from the many messes hi is responsamle for.

    June 11, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. RomneyWho

    America is "The Land of the weak and Lost" They cling to their captors and fight the ones who come to set them free. What a waste! :(

    June 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. jinglebuddy

    People have very short memories. That's for sure.

    June 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. boyscout

    you were terrible then and you are still that guy . We don't miss you – not now and not ever. You lied, you stole, and you sent our sons and daughters off to fight for oil not our freedom. You are still disgusting and your daddy is even worse. No we don't miss you ......

    June 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. Rick

    I will never warm up to this idiot. He can't leave this world too soon as far as I'm concerned. May our country never again have to endure the scourge that was the Bush administration.

    June 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Gary

    In other news: Dementia On The Rise. Story at 11.

    June 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. divejoy

    How much is that Doggie in the window

    June 11, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Bruce

    NO! Not one bit. Not one little, teeny, tiny, morsel.

    June 11, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Yay

    Yes we totally miss you. Thanks so much for signing the USA Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Thanks so much! We love police states! thanks for the war and financial chaos! Yes miss you so much!

    June 11, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. fabe

    He's a reptilian; i get the chills looking at him; God bless his soul; he has a lot of blood and dirt on his hands; hope he sleeps well without having to get high to forget all the damage him, his friends, and relatives have caused the entire world for decades. People kill and die today indirectly from his actions years ago.. I'm waiting for him and the rest of the reptilians that run this earth to peel off their skin; maybe the movie "V" was not fictional!

    June 11, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Jayakumar

    Not surprised. THe republicans even got around to liking Ronald reagan, the president who oversaw one of the longest recesion this country has known and at the end of whcih we were embroiled in many wars. That does sound like Bush, right? But people forget and history is forced to repeat itself.

    June 11, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Ryan

    Nope, my present dissatisfaction with Obama has more to do with his undelivered promises, and our government's invasive over-reaching into private phone (of the AP, and the every person reading this) and internet traffic. None of this has led me to think any better of Bush 43. He is still the worst Vice-President this nation has ever seen. If you can't tell, I still hate Cheney too.

    June 11, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    The Mark Sanchez of Presidents butt fumbled on many occasions

    June 11, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. FM

    Of course. When the memory of his utterly disastrous presidency was fresh, his favorables were 35%, a more accurate barometer. Hard to imagine a President screwing up many more important things than George W. Bush, a nice man but a truly awful President.

    June 11, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Roscoe Chait

    Hey, I feel better about Sarah Palin, too, now that she has finished her 15 minutes of fame. I sure don't want Bushie back.

    June 11, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. fabe

    And if you need proof America is getting dumber half of all Doctorate degrees given out in America are given to foreigners.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Antonio

    Stupid Americans.

    Stupid stupid stupid.

    I'm living in hell.

    Expected response: "yeah they why don't you get out"

    With the way things are going....we'll see.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. Theseus

    Don't know why our views of him would change, he still has the leadership and IQ of a third grader who regularly skips school.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. sslatten3

    Wow, so Junior finally broke even on personal favorability. Wonder what it would've been if Gallup had asked if Americans approved of the JOB he did as president. Probably still in single digits.

    Don't forget, folks: It was Gallup who predicted President Romney lol

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. dhall

    The man wasn't even able to pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly, let alone lead the Country – crazy times.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. dcase20

    What a prime example of America's short term memory. No Suprise. America will always repeat the mistakes of the past due to its collective insanity. USA USA USA

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Obahtr

    obama is the poorest excuse for a president that ever was. You people that think he's doing a good get your head out of your posterior and see the light. He is ruining this country!

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. sslatten3

    Wow, what a HUGE milestone. Junior finally broke even on personal favorability. Wonder what it would've been if Gallup had asked if Americans approved of the JOB he did as president. Probably still in single digits.

    Don't forget, folks: It was Gallup who predicted President Romney lol

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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