George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
1 year 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. Name the RIGHT wing

    I can't even stand to look at him. His admin pushed the patriot act. I don't think Bush really did anything (way too stupid), but he was a great puppet for plutocrats. All the stuff everyone's pissed-off about was started with his admin.
    If Americans remember him fondly....well, you deserve everything that's coming to you

    June 11, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Jim

    Unbelievable how many “drink the juice” Jim Jones characters there are here on the liberal CNN website. I’m an Independent but for sure Bush was much better than this fascist character that’s in the White House. This is the most corrupt administration that I can ever remember and I’m pretty darn old. These stupid remarks about Bush spending money…Hey dummies, remember 9/11? You follow the money..you follow the phone calls...You bomb!

    That idiot Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and sent them to Syria and around the area. It was good he was blown out of the skies and ground. The big problem is that Bush (just like our socialistic Obama) fought wars on the scale of how the terrorists fought. Heck, bomb them, not ground to ground fighting, killing our valuable men and woman. That type of fighting is for the area countries to clean up.

    This scandalous regime is the most crooked, lying, despicable administration I’ve ever seen since the last 12 presidents I’ve been privileged to see. And I’ve seen some crooks in my time. This fascist creep takes the cake. He and Hitler make a great couple!

    June 11, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Gman

    Come on Bush made this all possible.

    June 11, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. cleareye1

    Warm up?
    People feel better because he has been gone, long gone. History will not be kind to Junior Bush as it will be difficult to paper over his utter incompetence. If he worked as a manger at some Walmart store, he would have been harmless and forgotten. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court overrode the majority of the voters and squeezed him in on a technicality. The financial disaster as a result I blame on Bush, the 4000+ body bags I blame on Cheney. When the lists are made of administrations, theirs will be at the bottom.

    June 11, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Regnad Kcin

    No, I am not starting to miss President George W. Bush.

    According to him, you were either 'with us or against us."

    Not much different, is it?

    June 11, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Yeah, um no I don't!!!

    June 11, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    All the people with the intelligence and patience of a gnat are remembering Bush fondly.

    June 11, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. Rick

    He was a mor on pure and simple. Anyone who has forgotten that needs to have themselves checked by a doctor for impending Alzheimer's.

    June 11, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. cleareye1

    Warm up?
    People feel better because he has been gone, long gone. History will not be kind to Junior Bush as it will be difficult to paper over his utter incompetence. If he worked as a manager at some Walmart store, he would have been harmless and forgotten. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court overrode the majority of the voters and squeezed him in on a technicality. The financial disaster as a result I blame on Bush, the 4000+ body bags I blame on Cheney. When the lists are made of administrations, theirs will be at the bottom.

    June 11, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. Darkstar

    Time will reveal that the Bush Administration along with many unknown and dedicated Americans worked 24x7x365 to protect our wonderful country from those who worked to harm us every day. Look into the future and be the first to realize that a simple heartfelt thank you to the Bush Administration is in order.

    June 11, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    oh, he will always be a whipping boy..

    June 11, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. mmj

    Yes, I miss him and his wife, Laura. I was proud to call him Mr. President and she, the First Lady. History will prove he was one of our most outstanding Presidents.

    June 11, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. musings

    Are there only two men in the world? I think not.

    June 11, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  14. Bob

    Gee. All it took was the public's notorious lack of long-term memory and the non-stop spinning and rewriting of history by Fox News and the GOP. Of course, the second W. shows his face and says something (which will be stupid because the guy is a moron), those numbers will dip back down.

    June 11, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. lightseeker

    Lying to congress and causing the deaths of 5000+ American Soldiers. Releasing the name of a CIA undercover agent, putting her life in danger and causing the disappearances of thousands of our undercover contacts around the world. Over 200,000 Iraqi citizens dead because of him. What ever happened to the 90 billion in American taxpayer dollars that went missing in Iraq which was meant to rebuild that country. This poor excuse for a human being should have stood trial years ago for the treasonous things that he did. He brought this country to near total collapse and we are still paying for what he did.

    June 11, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  16. ted

    Is that the same poll where a majority of people said running over your foot with a lawn mower wasn't that bad?

    June 11, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. Matt

    I'll always view Bush as the worst president in American history.

    June 11, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. victor

    Wasn,t Gallop the one that had Romney ahead of Obama just days before the election. Bush was the worst and the most stupid President this country ever had. He is a mass murderer sending over 4,400 of our sons and daughters to their death based on lies and false information. Chaneys Haliburten companies set up in Iraq stole billions from taxpayers. $30 billion in cash went missing and never recovered. Bush gave all the surplus money Clinton accumulated under his administration and gave it to the rich. Created the least amount of jobs than any previous administration. Then the economy collapsed just before he left office. I,ll take Obama next to that crook and criminal any day!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Jj smith

    Fondly remembering Bush? We're those polled in physical/mental difficulties? Bush did more,harm to America than any predecessor. The view other countries have of the USA, two wars, a collapsed economy, housing, the stock market, the environment. All in all I can not find one positive thought I have of or for Bush.

    June 11, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  20. dina

    Never never. I am sure he is likable but he got us into this Irag war and spent all that money the United States did not have.Mostly it is Cheny who should take the rap.Poor Bush didn't know what was happening, but still don't like him.

    June 11, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  21. pubesrtoast

    They probably polled fake news fans.

    June 11, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. No way

    Never voted for the man and will never approve of his 8 years in office. Our 20 year old grandson iwas killed n Iraq in 2004. Was that war worth it – Iraq had nothing to do with 911. His administration failed to keep Americans safe on 911. Imagine, a presidential daily briefing in August of 2001 that stated, "Bin Laden determined to strike within the U.S." and Bush's national security adviser, Ms. Condi Rice, stating she thought it was a historical nature comment!! She should have been fired.
    And, he certainly was not a good role model – first time in the history of the U.S. we had a President and Vice President who had been arrested for drunk driving. And it wasn't as if they were teenagers when that happened.
    I'm so grateful to the Good Lord that Bush is not in office any more.

    June 11, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. ge

    the bush crime family

    June 11, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. dina

    Also, he started the "spying" and Obama is getting the flack. Where were the people when Bush did it?

    June 11, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. Brian

    It doesn't work like that for me. I have lost total faith in Obama, but I don't see how that should change my opinion of Bush Jr.. It has simply confirmed that there is not one president who won't cast aside the law for their interests. Not to say I don't think Obama believes that what he's doing is right – his interest may actually be the welfare of the American people, while in no way could anyone in the Bush administration (except maybe Bush) have believed Iraq would contribute to the welfare of the American people. The lesson: power begets self-righteousness and corruption. Always.

    June 11, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71