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. apfelsine

    With Bush you kinda knew what to expect. But Obama straight up deceived us! In 2007 he proclaimed that Americans had a right to know what is in their food. Yet, this year he signed the Monsanto Protection Act, the Ex-Vice President of Monsanto is the senior Advisor of the FDA and I can not believe he supports this invasion of my privacy now!

    II have a fundamental right to know what is in my food! And I have a constitutional right to my privacy! I trusted in Obama – believed he was genuine. Today, I feel betrayed and disappointed by him. Democrats, republicans ... it doesn't even matter any more. This government needs a reset!

    June 11, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. jimminn

    Are you kidding me ? Bush should be in prison for his lying us into a war and for his war crimes of torture.

    June 11, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Eric

    No, I don't miss him one bit. He was the worst president in the history of our country, period. He led us into an unnecessary war while diverting resources from the real threat. Then, as if that wasn't enough, he oversaw the worst recession in 50 years and left the next president to clean up more messes than the mother of triplets.

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. linda balocco

    CNN and its polls! They never reflect the reality. They gave Mitt Romney as a winner, when the entire world already knew that Obama was going to win the elections. Is it true that this poll was conducted in the most Democratic state of the country? I mean...Texas?
    To Ben:
    Did you mean impeached, right?

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Roger

    they are all one in the same.....criminals

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Jobu

    Does New Orleans miss Bush?

    No....I didn't think so.

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Dan

    From the Gallup Poll. Which way do they bend.

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. Clara Bow

    G.W. Bush will never been redeemed in the eyes of anyone who has an IQ above fifty. The Bush/Cheney Gang DESTROYED this country & damaged much of the rest of the world. We will never recover from their actions.

    June 11, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Luis Wu

    I miss him about as much as I'd miss a rotten tooth. How soon we forget. That dimwit should be in prison for what he did to this country. Obama is a breath of fresh air by comparison.

    June 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. John

    Hahahaha... Hahahaaaaaa, I can't stop laughing. Is Bush family again applying pressure to the media to try to turn around their reputation (remember bush was selected to be the best president of all time once in a poll)?

    Bush, your place in history is set already. Don't try to change it.

    June 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Jack Russell

    The biggest mistake of Bush government – Iraq war was conceived by neo-con romantics "to make the world a better place". They wanted to introduce democracy to the most advanced Arab country in the Middle-East, removing a bloody dictator. What a dream and fiasco. "Arab spring", which was inspired and supported by the current government, shows nothing but democracy. This time it's Obama's mistake.

    June 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Deez

    History will never forget.

    June 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Conrad Baer

    Bush is rising in popularity? I can't believe what I'm reading! While people are punished for exposing unethical behavior, Bush gets to crawl peacefully between the sheets after issuing orders that killed thousands and thousands of innocent men, women, and children. What kind of a country have we become?

    June 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Willyboy

    Would you please remove this image of The Smirking Chimp off your front page? There's real news out there more important than this vile war criminal...

    June 11, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Delos

    And the world knows this pig belong before the HAGUE convicted of war crimes that why Bush and company wont travel abroad don't you know.

    June 11, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Kraas

    Yeah, at least when he violated our privacy and civil rights, we never heard about it!

    June 11, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Rick

    LoL this is a total BS story, if CNN wanted to know what people really thought about Bush, they would a put a disq thread under it instead of this thing. Bush was the worst president in all of world history, no man had destroyed a nations economy in the manner Bush had screwed over America. Total lie !! More proof Gallup is a republican butt kissing organization.

    June 11, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Brian

    The blunders of Bush's presidency do not change with the idiocy of a few poll voters. Bush turned our budget surplus into a deficit, took us into Iraq under false pretenses, and wrecked our economy. None of those have anything to do with how I feel about his overall political views, they are simple and incontrovertible facts.

    June 11, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Namedave

    Bush is looking better because Obama's constant blaming him no longer stick. Obama mistakes are starting to stick to Obama himself, even though he is still trying to pass the buck, that stops at his door.

    June 11, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Jo Black

    Short term memory loss problems. It'll pass

    June 11, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Butch

    Obama is infringing on our privacy, letting all the immigrants in and doing nothing to improve our economy. Im from Illinois, He did nothing as a junir Senator except run for President as a President hes done nothing. He will go down as worst ever

    June 11, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Billy Bob

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people. Bush and Cheney are war criminals pure and simple. By the standards of Nuremberg; waging aggressive war (unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation) and crimes against peace, Nazis were convicted of these exact charges and some were hanged, and others spent many years in prison. Obama for his many problems is not a war criminal. Vincent Bugliosi the brilliant prosecution who convicted manson has actually drawn up an indictment against both Bush and Cheney, and is trying to find a DA who will file the charges. And no, Bugliosi is not some limp wristed, San Francisco hippie dippy. He is as hard nosed as they get. But, he knows they are war criminals. Saddam was an unpleasant man, but, it was not our business, it was the Iraqi peoples' problem. Of course the Israelis hated him, and being the good surrogates which we are, we disposed of their problem for them.

    June 11, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. NameTodd A

    Best president ever, exactly the way a president should be, total class act. CNN ought to apologize for all there Bush bashing for 8 years, every day they blamed high gas prices on Bush, avg price his 8 years $1.69, average under the liar Obama $3.69 but not once has cnn blamed the liar Obama, funny when crude was $149 a barrel at end of bush gas was $4.09, but crude at $92 a barrel now and gas is $3.99 ,Obama is in with the Saudis huh fatboy Michael Moore, do the math, Obama cheating on gas also

    June 11, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. fastball

    Memories fade...especially when the average American attention span lasts about 5 minutes.
    Nowadays, even some Russians wax philosophical about how they were better off under Stalin.

    June 11, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Greenspam

    Only a fool will have fond memory of Bush. If Americans are surveyed to have good memories of Bush, then American people are fools.

    June 11, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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