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. vidal808

    No, I don't miss him, never did, never will!

    June 11, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Jamie

    What CNN didn't tell you was that the people who responded to this poll were all Republicans.

    June 11, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Cyn Doyle

    OMG! We are being bombarded by corporations and power mongers who are very quickly now stealing our freedoms as citizens (not just of the United States, but as citizens of the world). Our government totally ignores petitions that have hundreds of thousand of signatures.

    Our collective voices can't be heard anymore over the crinkling of corporate money!

    We are lab rats for the likes of Monsanto and other GMO companies.
    Nestle and others are eyeing control of our water supply.
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (a "trade" agreement) will make freedom on the internet just a memory.

    Drones will someday hear us even when we whisper "I love you" in bed with our significant others.

    The time has come for ALL to stand up to fight the evil that is now very dominant in our world NOT to care about how former sell-outs such as Bush are now perceived by us.

    June 11, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. petroskies

    in least some morons start to understand between yes we can, and I do from Mr. Bush

    June 11, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. MAL

    Bush is likable, a person you want to have a beer with but he was a horrible president, if not one of the worst.

    He laid low for a long time and has recently has been doing damage control and it has worked, great tactic to salvage his legacy. And now that Obama has cleaned up his mess, the Bush years don't hurt as much...

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Mark A. Wilson

    Do I miss George W. Bush? That's like asking an Auschwitz survivor if they miss Adolph Hitler.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  7. ILikeIkev2

    Sigh. Public memory is short. I guess republicans will luuuuv Obama once his term completes.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Alex

    Bush started the NSA program and the republican congress authorized it. I think it sucks too and blame Obama for not dismantling it, but to claim it to be Obama fault is more right wing ignorance. Of course, according to republicans, the economy was fine until Obama took office too. Bush was a terrible president and the country is still reeling from his monumental failure. Obama has been less than great, especially on civil liberties, but a huge amount of what he is blamed for, like this spying, was inherited. And I am certain if he supported civil liberties more, our right wing friends would be calling him a terrorist loving Muslim. Well, actually they already do.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. ANNIER

    Wonder WHO they asked on this poll, because it sure wasn't me! Cedar Rapids – couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you!

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Jean-Sartre

    Who did you poll, dead people?

    "Bring 'em on!"

    "Mission accomplished!"

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

    He was a LOUSY president, going to war under false pretenses, just being a general country bumpkin, Poor public speaker. No skills at diplomacy Simply AWFUL. Now that being said, I find the Man affable, pleasant, a regular guy. that's great for a neighbor who you want to borrow a lawn mower from but not the leader of the free world.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. Shorn

    Never ever ever will I miss this incompetent waste of breath.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. PK

    They like him better now because he's keeping his mouth shut and not making any decisions!

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. jamaal

    may vey well go down in history as the dumbest, most damaging, worst president in history. I have a hard time forgetting that 5000 u.s. troops died because his administration trumped up reasons to go war for no reason.

    June 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. short sighted conservatives still licking there wounds

    Manipulation by the media...on obama's fake controversies. gwb was the worst feeble minded president to have ever served. He never would have had a second term if it was not for the 911 fear mongering. I thank god for not allowing me to vote for gwb...ever. all the dead and traumatized us citizen soldiers have been betrayed by him, his cronies, and the people who put him in power...the easily manipulated short sighted hypocriticaly conservative voter and its misplaced faith in being on the side of god.

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

    Miss him? Seriously? The man who brought down America all by himself? Miss him?

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

    What self-punitive fools Americans can be.

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

    Haha! That would be a NO!!!!

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

    I miss George Bush like a case of warts.....like the plague.....like one of the worst presidents in history. Yes history WILL judge and find him wanting.

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. Kelly51

    According to the poll information I can see one thing clearly. The people commenting on this forum are either trolls or just really misinformed and very dumb.

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. tgrigsby7

    Absolutely not. Bush, Cheney, Romney, Rice, and Wolfowitz should be trading cigarettes for their lives in prison for lying to Congress about the case for the Iraq War, for exposing a CIA agent, for his torture doctrine, for extreme violations of the Constitution, and while it may immoral but not criminal, destroying the economy, and ignoring the Al Qaeda threat until 9/11 occurred. He is and will always be the president that should have spent hard time in prison.

    Some Americans may bathe in the koolaid, and others may have the attention span and memory of a fruit fly, but there are enough of us that are educated, independent thinkers with a strong sense of ethics, and we will NEVER let Bush be redrawn as some misunderstood hero.

    No, he is not missed, except possibly by the World Court.

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. Kings on the back row...

    Hey, he ONLY ATTACKED THE WRONG COUNTRY and SENT OUR ECONOMY TO THE DEEPEST PART OF THE OCEANS.........still MISS HIM ??

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Fred

    who were the idiots who were surveyed?

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. PaulC

    I certainly don't miss him and I have absolutely no favorable memories of anything he did or said.
    He was a lousy president and time will not change that fact.

    June 11, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. Concerned Citizen

    Will these poll numbers be able to wash the blood of 1.5 million dead Iraqi's off his hands?

    This poor excuse for journalism by CNN is a partisan attempt to lay the groundwork for a a Jeb Bush run at the White House...

    June 11, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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