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. HBB

    Dub, The worst president in my lifetime (Yr O B – 1949) and probably my father's too. (1917)
    No, I don't miss you!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Catori

    He got 1,000,000 people killed for nothing in Iraq, failed to prevent the Second Great Depression and cared so little about 9/11 he kept on with his school visit, when 3,000 Americans were killed in one morning.

    Sure we miss him.

    June 11, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Kelly51

    Say what you will about Bush. At least he didn't hate America.

    June 11, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. shoos

    He is one I will never appreciate as President. Liked his dad loads, but not him.

    June 11, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Ken L.

    The reason he's becoming more popular is because he's kept out of sight with his mouth shut. Even I like him that way.

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

    Whether you liked Bush or not, at least he wasn't a hypocrite. Obama has done just about all the things that he once attacked Bush for. Secretly.

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

    I do not miss Bush at all. And I hope to say the same about Obama when he leaves for good. Why is it so hard to get a decent President? No body "good" wants to run anymore. It's a mess in Washington, and frankly until we reduce our monster-sized government, it will always be a mess!!

    June 11, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. The Ayatollah NObama

    How's that whole "hopey changey" thing working out?

    George W. Bush – a true American patriot!

    June 11, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Nigletgook

    No Mr. Bush I don't miss you, you cost thousands of soldiers lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please go away. It really doesn't matter who's president they all are garbage yet time and time again Americans buy into that crap.

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

    Sounds like what happens when some people die. Living with them might have been hell at times, but once they are gone and time passes you start to filter out the bad stuff and forget all about it and start focusing on the good stuff.

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

    The guy made mistakes for sure. But what Obama is doing right now makes Bush look like the greatest President in our history. Obama is a smooth talking disaster. Says alot about Americans that'll go for smooth talking over action, ethics and decency.

    June 11, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. Marty, FL

    Unnecessary war, no way to pay for it
    Tax cuts for the rich, no way to pay for it
    Prescription bill, no way to pay for it
    Karl Rovian divisive politics

    Worst president ever...
    No more Bush's

    June 11, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. chuck

    Bush was a saint compared to this administration

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

    Honey, have you seen my glasses? I can't REMEMBER where I put them.

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

    he came into the presidency and a very difficult course of events ensued, beginning with 9-11. a poor response to a natural disaster in his second term and he was cast out as a liability. truth be told, many of the same things he was criticized for by our current president have later been adopted by him. ultimately that is biggest redemption of all... when someone gets elected on the platform of doing everything differently than you, but after getting into office and reviewing the options chooses the same or similar course you chose.

    June 11, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  16. bilk7

    George W. Bush was never a real bad guy. It was his policies and the fact that he was never prepared to be the leader of the free world that were bad. Now that he's no longer in a decision making position, his stands can no longer hurt Americans (anymore than they've already been hurt by them) and it's only natural now that his polls would go up based on him as a person and not him as the President.

    June 11, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Talking Legacy

    When remembering Bush, many of us can only remember the unconcerned look on his face when told that America with the World Trade Center had been attacked. He stayed doing nothing, nothing at all for the longest time while many people suffered and died and continued to die. That was not leadership. That was not presidential. That was Bush. That is a large part of his legacy like it or not.

    June 11, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. independant jim

    your PR people constantly say you were a good guy and sooner or later people will start to accept your wrongs as they fade from memory .. some one else posted that even OJ isn't viewed to badly now

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

    The innocent people you and your illuminati folks killed at the world trade center 911 to bring about your NWO, the lie about WMD just to get oil in Irak, the American soldiers and civilians you send to their death in Irak and Afghanistan. The economy nose-dive, the innocent children that were been kidnaped on the streets of U.S that you and your sick cult politicians call toys and sexually abused and in some cases use as rituals.......and the list goes on and on. Those that knows the fact, hold the facts , those that opened their eyes and refused to be blinded or missled by you and your corrupt evil politicians and NWO folks don't miss a damn thing about you. Feel like you cant be touched but death awaits you just as it awaits every single person in life, then you'll face your creator for your pay just as everyone will. SICK SOUL

    June 11, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Connie Lingus

    You must be polling idiots!

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

    I don't miss him, if you do you are a sad pathetic sack.

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

    I personally think he did a great job with what he had, and I am speaking as a soldier who was sent off to war.

    June 11, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Ken Nambu

    George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, are American heroes. This country is much better off with them as presidents. Thank God for the Bush Family!!!

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

    No surprise since Obama's Hope and Change and Forward promises have been largely unkempt.

    June 11, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. The Lord of Excess

    Look at the comment by "blakenaustin" and it sums up the standard uninformed tool viewpoint. Americans are not so much fickle as completely ignorant, with extremely short attention spans. I would wager you could take a similar poll and find that 50% of Americans do not even know who George Bush is. We are a nation of imbecilic fools by and large though so it is really no surprise that we prefer our President to be just like us. I say all this as an Eisenhower Republican, and I think his administration was about the last time we had reasonable representation in Washington.

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