George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
10 months 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. BSH

    Given how Obama maintained (or expanded) every single major Bush initiative, it makes sense that the two should have similar favorable ratings. One might quibble with Obamacare, but except for that, we are now practically in Bush's fourth term.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Karma

    Short memories!

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. U.S. Citizen

    One thing for sure is that he didn't come across as an egotist.
    He seeded policy and powers to Obama; which are detrimental to our Liberty.

    June 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. katdude

    When will people who vote realize that the president is not the problem, but rather it is congress?
    The answer is never as long as we vote by name, looks and party.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Dave

    You know that Republicans are desperate when they're bragging about how much they're NOT hated.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. Bill, NY

    I will never forget or forgive what Bush and Cheney did to this country. What they set in motion will never be undone. The fact that people are saying they support the Bush Cheney policies illustrates why the survival of the human race is in serious jeopardy.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. BO Lies

    Now there is s real president. At least we had jobs back then.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Sue

    Nope don't miss you. I hope they make you tell the truth about 9/11 someday!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Robert

    This always happens. If we never started our economic recovery he would still be the scapegoat. Plenty of terrible Presidents will be remembered fondly. Bush, Obama, Reagan, etc. All part of the same good ole' boys club. Haven't had a revolutionary president since Jimmy Carter. But no president dares to not include any lobbyists in their cabinet now, so we will never have a president who cares about the 99%. Obamacare will be great based on early indicators, but I don't know if it will salvage his legacy. Put everything is a matter of opinion.

    If I lived in a military town where all successful jobs are military related, obviously I would love both Bush presidents. But as a moderate I consider the Bush administrations not a failure on the President. The 2nd Bush was surrounded by too many has-been advisers trying to finish previous agendas. Karl Rove did so much damage to our country I can't even begin to talk about it. Stop blaming Bush. Elect better congressmen and senators, and more importantly pay attention to the presidential nominations for department chairs. Care for the USA, and not just for the Dems or the GOP.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. caroleannette

    I voted for Regan and Bush 1, and that is the first and last time I voted for Republicans. After taking our country into an unnecessary war killing hundreds of thousand people on both sides, bankrupting the country, I will NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN AS LONG AS I LIVE!!!! GEORGE W BUSH WAS BY FAR THE WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICA'S HISTORY AND HE AND SEVERAL PEOPLE IN HIS ADMINISTRATION , DONALD RUMSFELD, DICK CHENEY, TO NAME THE MOST PROMINENT, SHOULD BE TRIED FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

    June 11, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. King James

    You must be kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. R

    To answer the question, Do i miss him yet? NO!

    June 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Mac

    Bush's approval is up because Libs just realized Obama is doing the same stuff...

    June 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. loudmusic

    Remember "W" fondly? Shoot me now. Worst president in my lifetime. Came pretty close to single-handedly sinking this country. Not blaming him for what happened on 9-11, but for crhying out loud....name ONE thing this guy did RIGHT?

    June 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Marci

    No way, Never,Ever

    June 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. bannister

    It took a president as bad as George Bush....to give us a president as bad as Barack Obama.

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. Craig from Pa.

    1529 people were polled out of 300,000,000+??? Well that's an accurate poll for sure! Bush sank every venture he got into Before his Presidency...surrounded himself with crooks and derailed the train.....He and his gang should all be at Leavenworth for life and stripped of their pensions....

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Marci Richardson

    Never in my lifetime, No way, Nada

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. glaird

    I'm a card carrying conservative and I thought and still think that G.W. Bush was a traitor for the following:
    a) Allowing corporations to displace American workers with H1-B visa workers, on American soil.
    b) Deliberately turning a blind eye to the drunken sailor spending of that congress (many of whom are still in office, because America doesn't understand that you can vote against an incumbent).
    c) The Patriot Act, that gutted the Bill of Rights.
    d) Deliberately turning a blind eye to Congress's pumping of the lending industry, to the point of blatant widespread fraud, in an effort to get home owners to spend their equity. This was his idea of fiscal stimulus. Of course that led to the RE collapse, the destruction of the average American's savings, and the great recession.

    But don't think this gives his successor a free pass. Obama had done NOTHING to address a single one of the above issues.

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. TrudyBird

    You HAVE GOT to be kidding!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. davetharave

    He 'set the stage' for these economic problems ? Really ? Here's what happened – he wrote the script, produced the show and stayed until the final act !! It's taken President Obama over 4 years to unravel the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression but we are now on a solid growth course with a sustainable recovery. If Romney would have won in 2012 we would be right back into reckless banking practices, Wall Street running amok and no regulations or accountability for all the big investment banks and hedge funds, with inflation and interest rates going through the roof. It's only human nature that some opinions of GWB are softening a bit now that he's out of office 5 years, NOT because of some misplaced realization that he might not have been such a bad President after all.

    June 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Margo

    Where did they take this poll? A rest home for Alzheimer's patients? This is the president who left a devastated economy for the next generation to suffer through and clean up. This is the same guy that blind sighted us all with lies so he could increase his daddy's oil profits and pad Cheney's pockets in a war that took over 4000 american service people's live. What's to like? This president considers us all "collateral damage"....on the road to personal profiteering!

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Surprising coming from CNN!

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. Bush Loco

    Y'all are using a tin foil helmet.

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Cricket666

    How could any living American of proper age forget what this fool did? There was absolutely no reason to go to war in Iraq but he did and was responsible for the untimely deaths of all those brave warriors that he sent into harms way for no reason at all.
    This scum should be in prison along with his cohorts Rumsfeld and Cheney!

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71