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. Gretchen

    "Fondly"? Um not only no, but oh HECK no. He's a crook who bought his way into the White House, got us into two ILLEGAL wars, daddy got him into Yale and bought his grades, while granddaddy was on the board. DUMBYA is still awol from the military, never bothered to finish his tour of duty. He ranks right down there as the WORST President with Warren G. Harding and Nixon.

    June 11, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. BushRules

    Bush was a good president. So is Obama.

    Obama said Bush did a good job fighting AIDS in Africa and I totally agree.

    June 11, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. Eric

    I loved GWB!!!! It was popular to bash Bush for a while, but only by wankers and lame Dems (who are no longer in style either).

    June 11, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Rlg

    Being a nice guy and being a good president are two different things. Nice guy he might be, but good president, no!

    June 11, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. GOPSux

    Not surprising at all, considering that 48% of the American people still believe in creationism and 20% still think the Sun revolves around the Earth. Small wonder that we're the laughingstock of the world.

    June 11, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. NameJp

    They didn't ask me.

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. snowdogg

    I guess "most people" have really poor memories.

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Bekka

    Oh, CNN, don't make me gag. What I am remembering, though, was all the horrendous things that occurred during his presidency, and almost nobody in the media batted an eyelash over it, but everyone is being quick to point fingers and cry "scandal!' at Obama.

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. Annie

    Whoo hoo, George HW Bush was a hottie!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. Franklin

    Americans have a short memory, but you know who has NOT warmed up to Bush #2?

    The mothers and fathers and widows and orphans of those who died during Bush's war to prove he's a BIG MAN. Time moves on, but the dead are still dead, and George W. Bush is still a fool.

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. wrong long

    Forget him? He was in the big chair when the biggest attack since Pearl Harbor happened. His response? Attack a non-responsible country with no WMD. He was in the big chair when the worst financial collapse since the depression occurred.His response? Bail out the crooked banks that caused it after he pushed de-regulation. Who could forget the most incompetent administration in generations.

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Joshua Wertheim

    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 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Name Steve

    George W. Bush should be remembered "fondly"! He inherited a massive
    buildup of Islamic terror, hatred, and preparations for 9/11 tks to the
    Clinton Administration! Clinton's ineptitude and assinine behavior that
    followed the "first" WTC bombing in Feb93 was inexcuseable! All of you
    should be thankful that Bush acted in a strong, decisive manner when
    the WTC was attacked the second time!! And those WMDs that were not
    found in Iraq...guess where they went...SYRIA!

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. Bill

    No surprise considering the percentage of Americans that don't really know what's going on with our country.

    June 11, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. bombastus

    Time is suppose to heal all wounds. I suppose we can forget about the dumb remarks, the stumbling/mumbling press conferences, etc. But what we cannot forget or forgive is over 4,000 American soldiers dead, well over 20,000 wounded, and somewhere in the range of 100,000-200,000 Iraqs dead and for what? This is what we should remember.

    June 11, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  16. Drew

    Remember, every President gets 15-20 years of space after their presidency for the public to truly grasp how they performed. And it's not just Bush and Clinton. Northerners were ready to vote down Lincoln in his reelection bid in 1864. Truman was hated during his second term. LBJ grew mentally lost in 1968 before declining to run again. All three are now viewed as great presidents...and there are others.

    June 11, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Americans have short memories !!!

    June 11, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Paveit

    NO, I don't think so. He should be in jail and if he traveled without the FBI protection , he would be as soon as he stepped out of the country. Everyone but us realize he is a war criminal. Just like his dad.....

    June 11, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Jonathan

    I can't believe you people bickering over who is worse between W and Obama. They are the SAME! They don't represent you; they represent the corporate and Wall St world. Stop fighting between liberal and conservative, because that's what the corporate media wants you to do! Instead of fighting each other, start fighting the giant multi-national companies that don't pay taxes and pay off Congress to write the laws in their favor. Start fighting the millionaires and billionaires that run our country behind the curtain. The government is just their PR firm. Fight them, not each other! Wake up!

    June 11, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Bret Price

    Hell No I don't miss George W Bush in office! He's what got our country in the financial mess that it's in to begin with!!

    June 11, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. Looper

    Hey, I am so happy that he is not the President anymore. TGFB! (thank god for Barack)

    June 11, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Summer

    When Bill Clinton left the office, he turned a deficit into a surplus. Created 21 million new jobs. Low unemployment rates.
    Increased minimum wage. Put 100,000 more police on the streets. Reduced number of people on welfare.
    Accelerated cleanups at toxic sites, more Superfund cleanups in his tenure then ever. Improved water and air quality via the CWA and CAA. Low government spending and low government number of employees.

    Then... Enter W., he totally screwed America up with bad politics and terrible leadership! This ass-wipe totally screwed America, WHY is anyone blaming Obama for what that total fucktard created?!

    June 11, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. June

    99 out of a 100 posters around here work for the GOP creating spin. Thankfully we see you for what you are – scammers.

    Secondly, I like Bush. He proved that even C students can aspire to be president. But I definitely do not like those evil fiends that ultimately made the decisions in his posse.

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. David

    Len said......."when are the
    American people going to give President Obama credit for ending these wars?"

    We are still in Afghanistan and not being able to agree on a status of Forces Agreement ended Iraq. Not President Obama. He was negotiating to stay past the deadline date set by President Bush.

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. patrick

    I don't and I was fool enough to vote for him twice .But what kind of choice did we have ? Gore ?The posturing self important Munchausen clone ? or Kerry – the statesman wannabe /ketchup gigolo . I fault W, the idiot puppet prince for setting up the conditions for the theft of our nation by this agent in place .

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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