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. James

    Well GW wasn't actively trying to destroy this country.

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Anonymouse

    Interestingly this so far unmoderated board seems to be reflective of what people really think, and I don't see alot of bush lovers posting.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Luke

    He's still a moron and the worst presient this country has ever had. I'll bet his favorite book has got to be "My Pet Goat". It's the only one he can actually read.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. just sayin

    Tim
    GW Bush was a moron at least obama can talk without that pompous smirk
    -–

    but not without a teleprompter. only a moron like obama needs a teleprompter for everything.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Likable Personalty

    Bush and Obama were/are both bad presidents, but likable outside the oval office. I expect Obama's ratings to rise once he's out of office, just as Dubya's has. Teabaggers go way too overboard with the hate on Obama and overzealous liberals do the same with Bush – both could've done much better, but in my opinion Bush's presidency has the potential to be remembered a lot better than Obama's when it comes to history.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. heywood

    Its funny to see the commercial from Obama in 07 or 08 talking about how he wont wire tape or eavesdrop because its so morally wrong and an infringement. Then, of course, he sees that what Bush put into place to protect this country is the right thing. Sounds like his campaigns motto should have been, "No Change"

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. j0eschm0e

    imagine if 911 happened on obamas watch, at least bush had backbone. obama is worried about ratings. the sad part is, obama is going low to the point he is making bush look good. "thus" this article.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Jeff Cox

    I like Bush much better as a FORMER President – but I don't feel any differently about how much I disliked his Presidency.

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Len

    I sure none of your poll numbers included families of the 5,000 American,soldiers who died in Iraq's illegal war....when are the
    American people going to give President Obama credit for ending these wars?
    CNN start,asking important questions instead thanking the GOP for their hatred toward our President.

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. brett

    Must've surveyed the Hannity/Coulter/Limbaugh demographic.

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. pa

    Wow, even a quarter of all Democrats like the guy...

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    One word – WMD

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. censored

    You awakened the dead with this topic.

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Peoples State of Illinois

    Jimmy Carter is so happy now that he is losing the reputation as the "worst president ever" to Obama, while he is still alive.

    June 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Herman

    I'm not.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Name

    His approval ratings was in the 20 percentile when he left office. ...worst president ever!

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Sue

    No, not at all, never ever.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. EJB

    Bush rating improvement? You have got to be kidding? It only demonstrates again the profound ignorance of so many Americans. More proof that being schooled does not necessarily correlate to being educated.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Mo

    Obama, the great savior of the world...oh, brother. They're all crooks.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. No Bush

    No, I don't wear a thin foil helmet.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Peoples State of Illinois

    Bush wasn't that great, he did a lot of things I did not like, but at least he was not destroying the country as fast as Obama has.

    June 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. MiddleAmericaMS

    In case you forget that he's a criminal war monger, refresh your memory here: WarUpdates.weebly.com
    :(

    June 11, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Steve

    I never want to hear or see or think of that man again. He is gone. Nothing good about those 8 years. Nothing.

    June 11, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Anon

    one word – WMD

    June 11, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. CJB

    Every president looks great compared to Obama.

    June 11, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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