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. Anonymous

    CNN what a troll article. Things aren't going well in the Liberal White House, Lets remind everyone its really Bush's fault!

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Jake

    I think the article pretty much summed it up!

    "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."

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Dirt

    I think CNN get their polls from asking their own staff, then considers that must the answer all Americans would give. The only people who miss Bush are the ones who were making a lot of money off the Iraq war.

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. Seattle Sue

    I still see little George as a war criminal.

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. drake remoray

    The people that put him in office were clearly not smart to begin with...so what did you expect?

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Roger Mexico

    Yeah, he's such a sweetie. I'd always like him to go on a little hand-shakin' stroll in Iraq, let the locals throw him bouquets an' shiat. Pinch his lil cheeks.

    June 11, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. billyBob

    CNN what a troll article. Things aren't going well in the Liberal White House, Lets remind everyone its really Bush's fault!

    June 11, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. eleanor

    The poll must have been done in the Red states or among people too young to know what he was all about!

    June 11, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. Joshua Wertheim

    Further on the recent poll that more Americans view President Bush jr. favorably than unfavorably: They must be asking Americans born since he left office. Or, perhaps, folks really don't remember that he had us invade Iraq on the pretense of them having WMDs. Or, perhaps, they don't remember that he led us into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Regardless of why someone would actually have a favorable impression of him after the most disastrous Presidency in my lifetime (and probably the lifetime of anybody alive while he was President), I just have to say that I bet that Stalin probably had a favorable rating in the USSR six years after he died – because anyone he didn't kill while he was premiere was grateful to be alive.

    June 11, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. David

    Americans elected this guy twice. If they could forget his faults over the course of a single election, he will certainly be absolved of his limitations in four years. We get what we deserve.

    June 11, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Mike

    Oh dear God!

    June 11, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Harry

    Okay, CNN. I really really miss the guy. Is that what you want to hear? (My posts keep getting "moderated").

    June 11, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Jamie

    Amazing how short an attention span most Americans have. They seem to forget that the bulk of our problems today were caused or exacerbated by Bush's 2 wars and complete refusal to defend against Al Quaeda, even when warned specifically about them by previous administration.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Kirsten

    Really? 49% ? He caused the death for thousands of us troops and hundred thousands of innocent children and women. PLus another hundred of thousands of us troops who have trauma and disablities which in turn affected the disintegration of their families due to their illnesses and not be able to work. And Cheney is the worst. He left my husband disillusioned and many of his war veterans friends. Take a poll on the vets who served on the iraq war we will see. I am republican and now a independent because of what happened. And obama is the same way now. He promised to have our troops all back by now and our vets still don't have any benefits. They have to fight the gov to get them which is sad.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Greg Morgan

    How quickly we forget. We'll be paying for his mistakes and blunders for the rest of our lives.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Prophet Maximization

    George, Have you eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree?

    The Mortgage Backed Securities came from the banks that lied to people about mortgages (not fannie, freddy, or dodd). They had to unload the risk, so they wrapped up bundles of mortgages with 20% of the mortgages looking good and 80% of the mortgages being "toxic" assets. Paulson and Goldman Sachs engineered many of the Exotic derivative products that led to the crisis and the toxic assets. This was the candy coated fruit with poison (toxic assets) that went around everywhere.

    Before Obama was elected, the GOP and Bush with the brains of Paulson and Goldman-Sachs usurped the political process and stole the $700 Billion dollars to pay off their gambling debts from the "2ÔÔ7 5ubpr1me Mortgage Cr1515". With that tax break, "We the People" are still paying this off for them with no plan to pay us back for their gambling losses.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Really

    Wake Up Liberals. Obama is already a lame duck President.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. Newport Pagnell

    Count me in...was doing a lot better under Bush. Not so much with the new fools in DC.

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Bobpitt

    I guess Americans are not a serious bunch, they already forgot the total incompetence, the two wars, the destruction of the economy, and the complete 1di0tic foreing policies that made your country the laughing stock of the world..

    June 11, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. David

    I guess they now see President Bush in a more positve light now that they see President Obama's 'Hope and Change' was really 'More of the Same'.

    June 11, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. Fel121

    Really; I mean, REALLY!

    June 11, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. Mark

    Recount! I'm not buying it.

    June 11, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Me

    Barack Bush and George Obama will not be remembered fondly. ;)

    June 11, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Mike

    I guess Americans are getting dumber for every day that passes....

    June 11, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Mark

    Ask the dead soldiers who died in the Bush Family Wars if they feel the same.

    June 11, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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