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. belker

    Who cares? He's done and we will never have to listen to his (i.e., Tricky Dick Cheney's) special brand of BS!

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Lando Calrizzle

    Biggest scapegoat in American history. Time is on your side Mr. Bush.

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. Proud Texan

    Bushenomics simply wrecked the economy. That it's turned around as quickly as it has is astonishing. But it will never return to the levels of "Before Bush". Iraq, enough said. And make no mistake, Bush is the reason Obama was elected. Twice. Bush not only wrecked America, he destroyed the GOP along with it.

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Sam

    Isn't this the same Gallup that said Romney would win by 7 points (only 11 points off reality)?

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  5. Matt Mattson

    What is really interesting is to see all the liberals twist in knots while explaining why spying on the bulk of the American population is a good thing . . .

    June 11, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. The Facts

    The People feel Threatened by OBAMA.

    We may not of approved or liked a nation under War with BUSH.

    But WE THE PEOPLE never felt Bush made War on us.. THE PEOPLE.

    The People fear OBAMA has placed a target on EVERY American and that he considers us, THE PEOPLE the enemy

    June 11, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Ka.Te

    I would hope one day our government takes the Initiative to investigate Bush and his cronies, I am sure they have something to hide!!

    June 11, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. God

    You didn't call me.

    June 11, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. TimK

    How Bush W figured he could get anything done all bent over like that is beyond me. Bent over: you know, with his head up his ...........

    June 11, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Julie

    They smartest thing Bush ever did was disappear after office. That may have something to do with Republicans not wanting to be seen with him through this last election cycle.

    June 11, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. erin

    People must be thankful to Bush for his spying program!!! Obama didn't invent much in this department, Bush is the father of this child.

    June 11, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. Dano

    Americans have such short attention spans they forget who caused the near ruination of our country after just 5 years. We'll be paying for the horrible decisions made by the Bush administration for many decades to come. For all of you who blame President Obama for the revelations about your email and internet use being mined, remember that all of these programs were started during Bush's term in office. Blame Obama for continuing these programs if you want, but don't forget where they were originated.

    June 11, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Nick

    Americans have short memories.

    June 11, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. jimmy

    He will go down in history as the worst and most embarrassing president in the last 75 years.

    June 11, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. HennyPenny

    worst President ever....

    June 11, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. fdp1968

    How can people even think that way. Look at his record. He was a failure, almost destroyed this country. worst we have probably ever seen.

    June 11, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. Bobbie

    Most presidents receive a lot of heat after leaving office......especially after the sitting pres blamed him for prior mistakes and his own mistakes......now, people are beginning to see you can't blame someone when you have been in office over four years plus. As with Mrs Rice, she was given false info and so was Bush about weapons of mass destruction. In time, people see them as receiving info from ground soldiers which may not always be accurate at the time since the info goes thru many hands before it is received by management. Bush certainly did not deserve all of this backlash, neither did Ms. Rice.

    June 11, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Can'tgetfooledagain

    Dogs have short term memories too.

    June 11, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. jas

    Remember, George "unibrow" Bush was elected twice. What does that say about the American voting public?

    June 11, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. jim

    When your side is builton blind, partisan hatred about serious issues and when you gain power and make the hated predecessor look like a piker when it comes to those same issues, you make people like the last guy.

    June 11, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. Peter

    ... and just wait till next year when Obamacare sticks it to us ...

    June 11, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Ima Mused

    I miss him in the way I miss the bubonic plague. Not at all.

    June 11, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. JIm

    *yawn*
    So tired of the ranting and raving over Bush and Obama. Both have had strengths and faults, neither is as wonderful or terrible as the hyperbolic rants and raves suggest. It's human nature to remember the good and tune out the bad.

    June 11, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  24. Dyna

    During the President Bush 2nd term, the Democrats took control of Congress by false accusations, but in those final 2 years they did not do their job. Buying homes or changes to mortgages for old homes slipped into the Danger zone by Congress doing NOTHING to stop subprime lending. Rep. Barney Frank admitted it was the reason for Bad Times with Toxic Asset buildups in Banks and that all led to a very bad financial year in 2009. And it still has lingering impacts.

    You don't buy a Home on Credit with no background check, no down payments, and really folks (a subprime interest rate?).

    Subprime interest is below the Prime Rate and is adjusted as soon as inflation goes up...and on a month by month basis.

    YOU BUY HOMES at more than Prime Rates so pick them when Low to refinance or start NEW. That way you can lock into a long term loan (25, 30, ....??? years).

    June 11, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  25. Laura

    First off, I don't beleive this poll for a second. Second, Bush will always be an embarrassment and a disgrace as a President. How he got into office with such a low IQ and a complete lack of knowledge on ANYTHING worldy just shows that if you have enough money, you can buy ANYTHING. Sadly, that includes an office.

    June 11, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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