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. hey

    Miss him...not so much. But then again most presidents get a bump in approval once out of office.

    June 11, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. RS

    Absolutely not. Good riddance.

    June 11, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Global Citizen

    Let's face it, this guy is a war criminal. Two illegal wars and no accountability.

    June 11, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. dlb19595

    I miss him and never ever thought I would...Presiden Obama has BROKEN EVERY SINGLE promise he made to this country, it's a travesty. He could sell the devil FIRE and be believable about it. I say watch out American Obama care is going to be a FIASCO!!!

    June 11, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. nolio67

    I must say even as a liberal I do look at GWB as a more likeable dolt now and have always like his wife, Laura–who I think helps his ratings. I still abhor his administration and the legacy of doom it has left for us–Cheney, Ashcroft, Rummy, ugh, history will NOT be kind to them.

    June 11, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. CC

    Americans are known to be fond of criminals.

    June 11, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Finder9

    When Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice are charged with war crimes against the United States and its military, I will think fondly of them.

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

    People have short memories, and forgive rather easily.

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

    Um, no. Just relieved with each passing year that puts him further and further in the past (and that he didn't entirely destroy the world). It was like letting Godzilla loose on Tokyo. How dumb can people get. 300 million people in this country and that was what people chose.

    June 11, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Pete from Spotsy

    Butterfly ballots, Katherine Harris, Supreme court, and Landslide Bush elected with 500,000 fewer votes than Gore. Budget surplus into deficit. Dow at 12000 when he took office; Dow at 7500 when he left office. USS Greenville with Bush campaign contributors at the helm sinks Japanese school vessel. 9/11 and 3,000 dead Americans while Dubya is reading "My Pet Goat" on his umpteenth trip to Florida campaigning for Lil' Jeb. Tora Bora and "Wanted Dead or Alive" Osama escapes. Iraq war, Mission Accomplished, "Bring it on" boast and 4,400 Americans dead. Space shuttle disintegrates on reentry. Katrina, and heckava Job, Medicare Part D. Economic meltdown. Yeah, the Bush years were a joy.

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

    sally

    I haven't forgotten how Bush got us into a perfectly senseless war in Iraq where there were no terrorists. Now the place is probably full of them.
    Seems as I recall that the Democratic congress also agreed with the war at the time.

    June 11, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. bev

    Bush is an alcoholic who took this country to war knowing there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction, he wanted Iraq to pay for threatening to kill his "daddy". He then proceeded to bankrupt the USA and leave with that "silly smirk" on his face while doing so. He & Cheney should be tried as war criminals and arrested. Over 4,000 US military gave their lives based on lies. My belief is he should "man up" if that is possible & take his punishment!

    June 11, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. raggedyart

    Guess what! If Bush hadn't have been president, then neither would Obama have made it into office. In fact, perhaps Hilary, or Romney would be President right now; maybe preferable, given how things have turned out. Face it, the Bush presidency created an alternate universe in which terrorism, universal surveillance, and poor economic choices reign supreme. So if you want to talk about blaming someone, I say yes, do blame Bush!

    June 11, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. Steve

    Compared to Obama, he is a saint. At least he was honest....well, as honest as a President can be

    June 11, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Bon Fire

    I'm sure I could warm up to George Bush, if I was invited to his trial and subsequent burning at the stake.

    June 11, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. ezduzit757

    Once again I find myself so disheartened by the stupidity if so many.

    June 11, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. ShanwDH

    GW Bush is the worst president in US history. I am thankful every day that Obama is in the White House and the Bush tragedy is over.

    June 11, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    lol lol lol ... y'all are liking Bush, now, huh ? Don't like your phone records calls being confiscated ? Don't like the media's phone records being confiscated ? Don't like that Obama's cronies – Susan Rice, specifically – got on national TV and accused a Christian preacher (and an innocent one, at that) of committing a crime – without due process ? Don't like that Mr. Hope and Change and Transparency seems to never know anything ... about Benghazi, the AP issue, the IRS ... until he sees it on CNN ? Oh really ? You didn't see this coming ? Too bad for you and you deserve all of it now. Good bye Obama 2016.

    June 11, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Name scot

    I try to remember that Bush was able to go ti sleep the night if Shock and Awe.

    When he began the slaughter of tens of thousands of human beings on a ginned up pretext

    So the US could own an oil country.

    Could any of you not had nightmares at deciding to kill so many uninvolved people.

    No. I dont think of W warmly.

    June 11, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. davonblr

    Guess what! If Bush hadn't have been president, neither would Obama have made it into office. In fact, perhaps Hilary, or even Romney would be President right now; maybe preferable, given how things have turned out. Face it, the Bush presidency created an alternate universe in which terrorism, universal surveillance, and poor economic choices reign supreme. So if you want to talk about blaming someone, I say yes, do blame Bush!

    June 11, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Liz

    I love this slideshow. Well done!

    June 11, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Jopa

    Had Obama lived up to even a fraction of his promises, George Bush wouldn't be rising in the polls

    June 11, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. roy

    Hard to believe how anyone could have a favorable opinion of Bush who pretty much bankrpted the country and paved the way to get Obama elected president not once but two times????????????????????

    June 11, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. lynette

    I voted for Obama – twice and I while i am not thrilled by him I am not even for a hot second missing this man from Texas.

    June 11, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. Ken

    Must be that poll was done in Texas. No one in their right mind would look upon that idiot's presidency with fondness.

    June 11, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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