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. Tony Torres

    The American people at least 49% have very short memories, oh how easy we forget that Bush almost ruined us with his inept handling of of the economy, the Iraq war, Afghanistan, tax mess, should I continue? If the Republicans worked even a small amount with Obama, maybe we could get something done but their bigoted minds won't let them and we pay for it. What happened with being patriotic and fair, I guess it only works with a Republican Prez. nothing but selfish politicians.

    June 11, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. ironman59

    "W" is not any better than when he went into office or left. He started 2 wars, 1 clearly unjustified. He set tax rates at record lows then wanted more. He initiated one of the largest infringements of personal liberties since the founding of the country.

    June 11, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. Buddy

    Barry, what happened to you? We who voted for you had such great hopes, but you turned out to be just like any other two-faced, corporate sponsored, selfish politician. I now feel that you're just as bad and maybe actually worse than GWB, and that's saying a lot. We had such great hopes... and you let us all down.

    June 11, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. freddie

    No I don't miss Bush or his administration cuz I live with it everyday. It all started after September 2001. Bush was in office when the Patriot Act was passed, the TSA was created and government added tons of new jobs. The surveillance began, the wars began, the defense contractors lined up for their money some with hired guns and some with computers. In all fairness due to the emotional tide we as a country were feeling. Almost every one of our legislative government voted for the whole buffet that the white house presented as necessary for the health and welfare of the USA. I say it again I don't miss Bush for one minute.

    June 11, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. maria

    How I will remember Bush? the only legacy he left was thousands of soldiers dying in the Iraq war ,a fictitious war ,a war that he and psycho Cheney created a legacy that I hope ever will not be repeated in the ages of history ,I wonder how he sleep in the night knowing he and his craziness decided that it was WOMD in Iraq and the only mass destruction they found was a hole and inside was Sadam Hussein filled with lice,, ,that was our president ignorance ,he is the worst of the worst ! When I see soldiers without limbs or half men in a wheelchair I instantly think about Bush ,he is the responsible one for what we see now! he was the worst of the worst ....

    June 11, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. bankrupt1

    sounds like they are trying to hypnotize us...

    June 11, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. mike

    America loves their c student.

    June 11, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. PtBarnumBoy

    Nobody asked me. How anyone could remember this man with anything but contempt and anger is extremely hard to imagine.

    June 11, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. glk20c

    Bush gave us King Obama. I hope King Obama gives us Rand Paul.

    June 11, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  10. Fish

    I think George W bush belongs in prison for crimes against humanity!

    June 11, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. rs1201

    I voted for him twice and I would gladly welcome the opportunity to vote for him a third time if it were only possible. I never voted for Obama and I'm glad that my decision was right...he's an incompetent man who doesn't belong in the Oval Office!

    June 11, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  12. kw4life

    Of course certain people remember Bush fondly- those people are the idiots who wasted 2 votes on him in 2000 and 2004. Many Americans suffer from some sort of politically-induced amnesia. Bush was a terrible joke of a leader...the mess he made left America in shambles. Of course people are going to blame the current president for the messes of the predecessor – this nation is full of impatient, insatiable, politically-charged individuals who are incapable of waiting for results to take effect.

    June 11, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  13. girlkansas

    I miss Reagan.
    There was a real American loving President.

    June 11, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. maria

    LULU : it was Iraq the war he promoted and looked for WOMD ! not Iran ....still I dislike this odious man !

    June 11, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Bob

    Why would we start to view a 9/11 co-conspirator fondly? he needs to be put on trial for treason, mass murder, crimes against humanity and a multitude of other charges, and at the rate Obama's going, he'll be sitting right next to Bush at the new nuremberg trials.

    June 11, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. wrm

    I haven't cared for the last two presidents but I at least give Bush some credit as an individual – he was faithful to his convictions no matter how much I disagreed with them. Obama is two-faced and will say anything to anyone to win their approval. He is an amoral opportunist. I will be glad when he is gone.

    June 11, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. Darkstar

    Let us not wait for a Gallup poll to reveal that more Americans also had an epiphany and come to realization that Lt. General James Robert Clapper, Jr. is a brilliant, honorable, dedicated man who has faithfully served and protected this country, protected the Constitution, Civil Liberties etc. for you. While you go about your day and enjoy your freedom as an American, know that Lt. General James Robert Clapper, Jr. worked to ensure just that. Hence, a simple thank you is order. Thank you Lt. General James Robert Clapper, Jr.

    June 11, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. MRDBStone

    The old guard republicans (The structure behind Reagan,Bush 1 & 2 Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove et all..) must in no uncertain terms rehabilitate GW, in order to run Jeb................ Watch as they use the "Leftist main stream media" to do just that! The push for Bush 2016 is about to begin.

    June 11, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  19. GSJ

    You got to be kidding me!! Some of us have not forgotten(or have forgiven) some of the most stupid and counterproductive actions taken by the Bush administration. After 9/11, we had the Worlds support, but thanks to Bush's administration policies(follies), they were pi$$ed away.

    June 11, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. NorCalMojo

    They say Roman emporers would pick the most horrible person possible as their successors so they'd be remembered fondly.

    June 11, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  21. Lori

    I for one do NOT miss GWB, but I have to admit the "Miss me yet?" headline with that goofy picture of him made me giggle.

    June 11, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  22. Suzanne

    ...You're joking, right?

    June 11, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. CA Liberal

    No I am not even starting to like that disaster. I remember.

    June 11, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  24. John Geheran

    ........probably because GWB policies are looking more like Obama's every day. prediction: when the historians weigh-in, GWB will be both loved and respected while BO may be loved but respected not so much.

    June 11, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. Bob

    Let me see: 2 – wars, one where all his intelligent directors (he appointed) lied to him ALL of them, AIG, Enron, AIG, Goldman Sachs, ignoring Shiela Bair his FDIC director who know him do something now or housing will collapse, crooked banks (still being prosecuted), Wall Street run-a-mok, Big oil tax breaks, etc etc etc. 8 years and total control of both houses yet nothing on immigration, health care, jobs, yep zero. NOPE don't miss him, the GOP or tea drinkers at all.

    June 11, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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