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. drphoenixj

    Oh please, let's not start blaming Liberals for blaming Bush. The reason people blamed a lot of things on Bush is because it was his fault. Get over it.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. He got it right

    History will be much kinder to "W" than our current President who is more consumed with being a rock star outside of these Unites States.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. jhnjul

    This article does not have a lick of truth to it. Its purpose is to groom the people for another Bush.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. TB

    Oh please. It was under the auspices of this man that the likes of Henry Paulson came to power and scared the American government into giving close to a trillion dollars to wall street bankers. The deficit ballooned and here we are with the government sequestration laying off people and adding to unemployment.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. Deez

    Haven't we learned by now that these "polls" are worthless?

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. Name sammy

    Americans deserve all they get. It is self imposed because of your imperialistic views. The truth is they ARE out to get you–Democrats And Republicans alike.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. God

    They didn't call me.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Scott

    I don't miss the guy who sent my friends and I to die for nothing.....CNN new low.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. Some guy

    At this point most Americans realize that the president is just a figure head, so of course less people hate him now.

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

    The USA and the world will be suffering from the Bush presidency for decades to come. Republicans may be sick of the blame, but too bad. Yes, it IS Bush's fault and will be for a long time. That's how terrible he was as president. He left the nation in ruins and the world in chaos.

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  11. nanners

    HAHAHA...we are so screwed up, and you guys just LOVE pushing the public's buttons don't you.

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Nest Up: Hitler from Uruguay: "Miss me yet?"

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. Yes1fan

    Ironic that this is being asked at the same time that Cheney / Bush era Republicans are now trying to paint blame on Obama for the "NSA spying on Americans" that CAME ABOUT UNDER ORDERS FROM CHENEY / BUSH in 2002.
    Although Obama was wrong to not immediately end it, Republican attempts to blame this monster on Obama are HIGHLY hypocritical.
    Obama at least nuked some of the more egregious violations of civilian laws that NSA had been violating under Cheney / Bush.

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  14. Craig

    Ha, ha, ha. 2 sensless wars (Iraq & Afghanistan), thousands and thousands dead on both sides & trillions of dollars spent on both wars. Let's not forget that as a result of all that Bush warmongering the American AAA credit rating flew out the window, the economy almost shut down, people lost houses, jobs, and family members....and all for what? No one has or will ever take over Afghanistan, and Iraq is a living nightmare. And, dont forget about Bush's best friend that crook Cheney. While were at it let's toss in homophobia, ridiculous blind faith, shady deals with insurance companies, and on and on. I miss Bush as much as I miss Hitler.....NOT AT ALL. Good ridence to bad rubbish.

    June 11, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Lynn

    Real men don't play football , they do cartwheels and somersaults on the sidelines .

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. steveg51

    He started 2 wars we had no business being in, plus not paying for them, put us basically in a depression and ignored the warnings about Bin Ladens plans to attack the United States by using planes as bombs. Hey, what's not to like?

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. Bodi

    We miss you ALMOST as much as Flippo, Bozo and Crusty. They were clowns too, but didn't wreck the country.

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. RichardWayne

    Bush is still the worst President of my lifetime. But Obama's problem stem from one thing – he lied. About almost everything. He promised hopes that he could never fulfill without the money and the votes. Now he just blames others.

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. sick of republican phonies

    Well yeah, they like him NOW- since he's out of office. As long as he stays on his ranch clearing brush and keeps his mouth shut and stays out of sight, I like it. At least he can't do any more damage. When he was IN office, making a mess of everything he touched, we all hated him.

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Dianne

    I missed him before he headed back to Texas. I knew Obama was going to be a disaster.

    June 11, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Narinder Singh

    "Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-4, 2013, with a random sample of 1,529 adults."

    So much for these surveys. But one thing is sure, once this type of survey results appear on prime channels, they pretty much set the mood in that direction.

    June 11, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Rick Morrow

    We really miss George Bush instead of this Muslim Liberal Socialist who can't even read the Constitution which he swore to uphold?? Obama has really showed everyone on how NOT to govern a nation.

    June 11, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein

    I don't think that I will ever approve of his job. The only things that I agree with what he did was the war in Afghanistan and the help & money he put into fighting AIDS.

    June 11, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    NO.I DO NOT miss that guy. what's to miss? Him starting wars on his own? Making America the world target for hate? Running our debt into the stratosphere & leaving it for the next guy? Killing our economy? Sending jobs over seas & promising that we'll have the jobs here? Should we ask China why they got the "oil money" Bush promised us? Keep that idiot in yesterday & leave him there.

    June 11, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. DocHollywood

    The reason people tend to like Bush more is because in nature, you have a hard time remembering bad stuff. You always let any good memories over ride bad ones. A type of self preservation. So it doesn't surprise me at all.

    June 11, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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