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. Rosa, b'ham al

    Yikes! I screamed in horror when the Cnn web page booted up with W picture on the front. Please do not scare me like that again. I still have PTSD from his 8 years.

    June 11, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. Nim Rod

    Really you people who hated him now like him because you hate Obama? lol...This is why I choose not to vote they're all fools.

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

    Overthrowing a dictator that used nerve agent on his own people just ain't what it used to be.

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

    It's funny how quickly forget how bad of a president Bush was. Of course he had Fox on his side, which Obama doesn't. And we all know what type of people watch Fox and believe blindly everything they say. How sad. Fortunately Obama is the president like it or not and no matter what stuff is made up about him, he is a million times smarter than Bush could ever be and if the Repubs would finally get over the fact that they lost and get on with the work of the people we would be a better country.

    June 11, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. denny vietnam vet

    Could not find his way to vietnam but able to play john wayne flying on to that air craftcarrier

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

    You are a war criminal. I hope you and chenney pay dearly

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

    This just show how S T U P I D the american public has become. they embrace the tyrant bush who created 2 wars without provocation , he helps collapse the economy losing millions of jobs and rewarded the bankers who screwed it all up with a 700 billion dollar bailout , The patriot act , Water boarding , Gitmo scandal, 9/11 .

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

    How could anyone think of this man fondly. Certainally not the families of those men and women who gave their lives for a war that had no meaning and there was no prize to the winner. But he got Hussein for trying to kill his daddy. So guess that was worth all the American lives shed for his grudge was. This man needs to be prosecuted for his war crimes.

    June 11, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. ca94114

    Bush lead the country into an illegal, unjust and unpaid for war of aggression.

    George W. Bush, Traitor.

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

    ARREST THE TRAITOR AND HIS STAFF.
    Bush WH Gang, with Silverstiein and Mossad, did 9/11. CIA confirms. All of Congress knew/ knows. See Veterans Today for reports.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    This mess BO inhereited is from Bushs and Cheney, Bank piratcy. NSA. Recession. Abandoned Bogus Wars. and worse to be revealed.

    June 11, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. realist512

    Give me a break. He is one of the worst presidents ever. He led us to war to show his daddy up.

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

    Boy now I've read everything a person in "blakenaustin" that's not only republican but ignorent enough to brag how he voted for that Texas imbecile in Bush twice.Now there's someone so pathedic he shouldn't post anything with Pres.Obamas name because he's part of the cause thats kept this presidents so busy straightening out his debacles..Don't ever talk if you voted twice for that imbecile Bush and if you're ignorent,gullible enough to follow Repubs Gallop polls you know the one poll that had Romney stomping Pres.Obama in last years elections but the numbers never matched the slaughter Romney recieved from the president!!And republicans you wished your so called patriotic ones were so useful in turning this country around when its been Pres.Obama and democrates alone all along because your partys insistence on filibustering obstructing everything that helped America and it'd people,not patriotism,just BS!!Remember your partys going down because of Boehner,McConnell and the like that put corporate greed before citizens,country and when defeated at midterms don't be so surprised because we won't be!!

    June 11, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. sparks2000

    that may be what the poll says,but I don't forget the crap he put this country through,nor the economic bind he put us in nor the rights he took away from us with thew patriot act....he is always going to be a dirt bag in my book....sorry

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

    The issue isn't that Bush has been _that_ good. The issue is that Obama has been _that_ bad. Remember when he was elected on the idea he could change Washington and reelected on bipartisanship? Now we're all so distracted by these spying scandals we forgot that we never balanced the budget. Heck he didn't even get Guantanamo Bay shut down.

    June 11, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. The Lord of Excess

    But as we can always see, America gets what it deserves in all of its elected officials. Bush and Obama are the same as are all of our congressional representatives. They do not work for us, they work for corporate interest, first, foremost and only.

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. Ban KKiller

    Bush is a war criminal. Obama is too. Both are bank stooges. America is dead. The fascist state is all.

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. guigsy

    Why do CNN keep pushing this topic? We hated him, We still hate him and he was one of the worst Presidents in the history of the country. Proven time and time again. Documented and irrefutable. Just move on George.

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    There is no perfect human being, but I certainly feel he is much closer than O could ever hope to be! Everyone makes some mistakes but I don't feel Obamas are mistakes. He told us he would change our country and he sure is doing what set out to do and things sure are getting worse! At least under G. W. Bush's watch I feel we were a lot safer than we are now due in part to Bush' s love of God and America and its people!

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. bro

    nothing wrong with my memory, and this article proves how easily people can be brain washed

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

    Wow, the media must really be angry with Obama to put this article as the top story! They are certainly going to make his life miserable in retaliation!

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Revolution

    Clearly because we got a worse pres

    June 11, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Rob

    Bush listened to Dick Cheney's push into Iraq, he made some serious mistakes based on that V.P.'s very bad advice but he was strong in some areas. Had he not listened to Dick Cheney's Hell-bent schemes he would have been a much better president. From a personal standpoint I think he's a good man.

    June 11, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. charles

    No news! CNN is going to low now. This is what I know about the Americans , they are like stocks. They can go any direction even with a smile of someone. We should learn that we cant have both security and privacy at the same time. For those who are crying, there are many bad guys out there who are smarter than the average guy.

    June 11, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Kevin Barbieux

    Everyone seems to miss the most important thing here – that's the source – gallup polls. They haven't been accurate in a long time.

    June 11, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. Sean

    I wish he would go away forever, like sucked into a black hole forever.

    June 11, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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