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. APVA

    Are you kidding me.. Thisis not even news. Why doesn't CNN put up polls on Congress and the job they are doing?

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. ready

    Proof there are a lot of people whose opinions don't matter out there, a lot of drones, and a lot of people with easily programmable selectable memory.

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. John

    This survey is coming from the organization that claimed Romney was in the lead before the Presidential election. Not a reliable source!

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Me

    "Poll: You're starting to remember Bush fondly"

    How can we miss him he hasn't left, just changed shape and color.

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. jprisco

    I look back on the Bush years like a cancer survivor: we, as a nation, survived 8 years of the cancerous bile-spewing growth that is George W. Bush. You would have to hit me repeatedly with a stupid stick for me to look back on him "fondly". Don't get me wrong, Obama is not the man he said he was, but Bush is just a snake in the grass, a pus-filled boil on the bottom of America.

    June 11, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. You'reKidding

    Yea, people love GW Bush so much that the Republicans didn't invite him, or anyone associated with his presidency, to the 2012 Republican National Convention. Gimme a break. This is nothing but CNN divisive tactics to score readers. Huffington post ran a piece just 6 weeks ago that read, "George W. Bush Poll Finds Americans Still See President In Unfavorable Light". I can find a poll to support anything I want to believe.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. browcarey

    The public has a short memory. But not all of us. For many of us, the Bush years were a nightmare, and we still haven't recovered.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Bukaroo

    Americans have short memories !

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Flying Dutchman

    Isn't nostalgia great? Even though presidents ratings do increase over time, I believe the Obama administration's incompetence is helping the process.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Carolyn Evans

    Don't believe this thinly veiled attempt to shape the national consensus. No truly thinking individual misses Bush, the contrived wars, senseless deaths and destruction of third world people thru wars, Cheney, the collapse of the nation's economy and so on. Yes Americans are fickle and short sighted, but not to this extent. It's time for us to move beyond these senseless wars. Can't we use our technology and rapidly dwindling can do spirit to exalt human existence. Let's not play into this nonsense. Obama is merely a politician – it's time for a new era of statesman who will carry our post war agenda forward.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. juliawarhol

    To answer your question, no.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. Hardyman

    Boy, talk about short term memory. If Hitler had been an American we'd have stadiums and buildingss named after him. Oh wait, we already have Bush Intercontinental airport.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Grant

    Maybe after this gov't sucks every last dollar and freedom out of our as**s, George & Barack will go on some road shows and do the thing they do best.. satire.

    June 11, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. pbj123

    Never....ever.....ever. Worst ever. Could never warm up to him.

    June 11, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Leftcoastrocky

    Iraq War, Katrina, Great Recession - I don't miss him

    June 11, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Logic N LA

    Yakobi – in 2009 we were in the midst of the worst economy since the Depression- cause by BUSH deregulation and tax breaks. I am not excusing Clinton for his part BTW. Economists will be scratching ther heads for years over Busch and the Congress he oversaw.

    June 11, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. abmri60

    That is one stupid poll, I bet Bush himself called this one in to CNN.

    June 11, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Zach

    PRISM is bad. Really bad. Obama deserves all the crap he gets for it. But we must also remember that PRISM was started by Bush, authorized by congress, and that congress got regular briefings on the program. Like I said, Obama is certainly guilty here, but so is every Democrat and Republican that is or has been complicit in the perpetration of this invasion of our privacy.

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. oldpatriot

    This is such a load or public opinion management BS that its hard to read. The opinion of the people is not represented in this article or in the poll it cites as evidence. The people in general hate both Bush and Obama and this campaign to restore GW Bush as an icon is nothing but marketing and image management. CNN is no better than Pravda at the height of the cold war!

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. June

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

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

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Jim

    I guess the old saying time heals old wounds holds true. Except for the 5,000 dead and 10's of thousands dismembered soldiers returning from their Halliburton war.

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. ReaganRepublican

    I really wish everyone would stop the childish name calling of Bush and Obama and stick to the facts. I really don't see how some of you can hate either of these guys. They both seem like great Americans. I admit that W. was in over his head but he is a good person by all accounts. And...we should all be proud of Obama. He is a good man, a very smart man and a man that is doing everything he can to help this country get back on our feet. I don't agree with many things that he has done but to hear all the hatred spewed at him just does not make sense. If you have an extreme opinion about Bush or Obama, you need to look at yourself and find out what is wrong with you. Both of these guys are moderates. If you don't see that, then you need to check the sources of your information. You have been lied to.

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. Mike

    Voted for Bush in 2000 and it was and remains the biggest mistake I have ever made voting and I have voted in every election since 1976. He started a needless war based on lies and backed it up with constantly changing reasons. Wasting billions of dollars and killing and injuring thousands of our citizens. Distracted us from capturing Osama bin Laden. Who he let get away on Tora Bora through outsourcing his capture to Afgan fighters. He sat on his backside and watched the banks screw millions of Americans. Then wrote blank check to his Treasury to bail these criminal bankers out with no restrictions which let the bankers pay themselves billions in bonuses. He vetoed healthcare for children because we could not afford it – would have costed something like $40B. Yet he wasted trillions on Iraq war. At least a trillion on banks bail out and a couple more trillion on tax cuts for the wealthiest that never created any jobs. Yep I can say with absolute certainty this individual was the most inept, cold hearted, lying President that I have seen in the Oval Office in my lifetime.

    June 11, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. Ruben

    Of course people are warming up to him. Most of his policies are still in place and are what kept this country afloat during the recession. And of course most people forgot that because Obama jumped on the bandwagon and received all the credit. Has Obama done anything that he has promised? besides force feed us a health care bill that is now shaping up to be a killer for the middle class he has accomplished absolutely nothing. Yet this new generation of kids that voted for him will hail him as the Messiah. He is an old con man that new exactly how to play the ignorance of youth. Just say, hope and change over and over again...

    June 11, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. Shecky

    George W. Bush was a FAR better president than the unqualified muslim socialist who currently occupies The White House. If Bush could run for a third term, I'd vote for him again.

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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