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. Not Surprised

    It's because people don't look at the facts – either side of the isle. We live in a "instant gratification" world which means most people just make decisions based on emotion of the moment, not facts or at least considering all the factors. Everyone wanted to blame Bush for everything before they realized the savior (Obama) wasn't able to fix the same things that Bush supposedly couldn't fix. Your ire should be directed at Congress – no president has ever "passed" a bill or legislation that resulted in some unfavorable impact on you.

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Jon

    Go spend your blood money and stay out of the media, meat-head.

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. JohnRJohnson

    The worst, most ignorant, inept president in the history of the country, George W. Bush is only missed by the people who have no idea what he did.

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. frieda1977

    ummmmmm...... No I'm not.

    June 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. Derek

    i don't believe this poll for a second. Way oversample of Republicans to get a story out of it to make headlines. Things are nowhere near as bad now in terms of the economy, wars overseas, etc. as when Bush was in office.

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. Ugh

    I miss Roosevelt.

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. brady52

    I see this as not so much about George Bush as it is about a general dissatisfaction with politics in this country. Most Americans are simply fed up with the political climate in Washington – whether it be a Republican in charge or Democrat. They want something...anything...better than what we are currently experiencing. Paralyzing polarization and a lack of regard for the country's true best interests while we constantly are subjected to radical extremes on both sides seems to be the order of the day. I think many folks who live in the middle have just plain had it And you know what? We SHOULD be dissatisfied. To those who call President Obama a Muslim or un- American or at fault for everything..or to those on the other side that say the government should fund virtually every aspect of our lives...I say "grow the hell up". If you don't intend to play better with others to help make this country better...get out of the sandbox. Don't put our troops on the line for unexplainable reasons and don't take away the things Americans ARE entitled to. Now watch..the very ones I'm addressing will attack this post. :)

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. daeh ttub

    Let's not forget that this notoriously right leaning Gallup Poll had Romney beating Obama 50 to 49 percent on the day of the 2012 election. Welcome to the "Re-write History" campaign of the GOP and the Bush Legacy to kick off the 2016 campaign.. Let us see all the questions and understand the demographics of that tiny sample. .

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. Langkard

    Interesting photo spread?

    Why no pic of GWB picking his nose in the stands at a Ranger game (as seen in the ytube vid)?

    Why no pic of GWB giving the middle finger when he thought the cameras weren't on yet before an interview (see ytube vid)?

    Why no pic of GWB standing in a flight suit on the deck of an aircraft carrier and in front of a sign reading "Mission Accomplished" just a few months into a war which lasted almost 10 years?

    Why no pic of GWB giving an unwelcome shoulder massage to Angela Merkel at a conference in Germany?

    If the media is going to keep white-washing and revising the person and administration of GWB, then of course the usual sheeple are going to forget what an absolute disaster of a president he was.

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. gbd001

    It's easy for Bush to look great when compared to the worst president in American history: Barack Hussein Obama.

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. CDAinLA

    please report news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. LP

    How quickly people forget! In 2009, almost 70% of Americans disapproved of him. Now that they have gotten used to shifting their blame to a new target and assigning Obama all of the blame for Bush' messes, they like Bush again. He drove us into the ground as a country. The day before he left office he was one of the least favored presidents in American history, by both Democrats and Republicans. The day after Obama took office, so many of those Republicans shifted that blame to Obama....how about a little accountability, Republicans?

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Robert

    I voted against Bush 2 times when he ran for Gov. and 1 time for Pres. and voted against his father 2 times and voted for Clinton and Gore . Now Bush looks way better than obama and it has nothing to do with his is skin color or the fact he's half black. I'll take any Bush or Bill Clinton over obama.

    June 11, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. stonekeyboards

    Yeah,,,, lets go back to another 8 year recession and another 911??? I don't miss any of that!
    Lets move on! No President is going to fix the world or fix all humanities problems. period!

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

    He can thank Obama for saving the country from his catastrophic reign of idiocy.

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

    The only comment I really want to make any more about anything is that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution for this communication to be intercepted, collected, monitored, stored, processed, or searched by any person, system, or algorithm employed by, contracted with, or operated by any United States federal, state, or city agency, department, committee, panel, council, or group regardless of its content, even if it may contain such words or phrases including but not limited to bomb, president, thermite, train tracks, pressure cooker, shoe, airplane, flight, drug, render, bullets, detonater, ricin, anthrax, weaponize, uranium, assasinate, CIA, FBI, NSA, TSA, DHS, border, customs, embassy, assange, snowden, wikileaks, cryptome, secret, encrypt, Utah data center, drone, or al qaeda.

    June 11, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. V

    I don't miss him ONE BIT.

    June 11, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. RL

    They didn't poll me. That was the longest 8 years of my life. At least I'm alive. How about all of the kids that died in that unholy oil war? "Miss me yet?" Not likely.

    June 11, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Raymond A. Thompson

    Do I miss Bush Lite? Nope! As a President, he makes a perfectly fine ex-President ...

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. Joe Clark

    George W. Bush will go done in history as one of the worst Presidents this country ever had and the Americans who elected him and then re elected him are and remain stupid beyond all human comprehension.

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Menut

    Hell has frozen over! What a joke... Bush is the BIGGEST Joke as a President of these United States!

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. www.mauriziobattifora.com

    ... people who tend to forget the past will make the same mistakes in the future...

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. John

    Ahhh, time.... Lest we forget and wistful memory rewrites history. How many lives lost senselessly, an economy strapped and a legacy of intelligent governance ( Bush Sr,) destroyed. Did the aftermath of 911 cause us to lose our way, to seek revenge and put a "smoke em out" mentality in office? Hands firmly on the tiller America, we need to right our course!

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. RapidOne

    Bush was terrible. Anyone who doesn't think so is a moron.

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. Darlene Buckingham

    The fake polls hit the front page. The brainwashing is not working anymore.

    June 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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