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. Dan

    Of course we like him now. Look at his replacement.

    June 11, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  2. Dan

    Not on this liberal website.

    June 11, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. EricInNC

    Tax cuts for the super-wealthy. Shifting IRS resources away from auditing the wealthy cheats and toward average taxpayers. Ginning up a war they said would pay for itself. Pushing non-science in science curricula. Selecting amateurs for serious jobs (e.g. FEMA). Letting most polluters off the hook. No new National Parks (just shuffling of existing areas w/o protecting wildlife). No Child Left Behind. PATRIOT Act. Military Commissions Act. Illegal wire-tapping (yeah, even worse than Obama's). Deregulation of the financial industry. The only thing Bush ever did worthy of praise was not blocking the reduction of sulfur in diesel fuel. The only good thing his party did was implode. The rest was a disaster for anyone who pays attention to details rather than sound bites. Are the dems great? Not by a long shot, but compared to the pirates on the right, I feel safe saying I don't miss ANYTHING about the Bush years, esp. since so much of the disastrous, obstructionist attitude is still preventing progress. Bleah.

    June 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. stickyhumid

    Yes.
    Given that Obama is exactly like Bush (but twice as bad...and more tyrannical).... sure, Bush looks quite good these days

    June 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. Please tell me this whole article is a joke?

    Bush was by far the worst president this country has ever produced. His lies that led to a war in Iraq. His lack of intelligence and moral strength led us to most of the problems you are now blaming on Obama. The spying on Americans, guantanamo bay, our economy problems and debt all started out during his administration. Obama may not have solved them all, but Bush sure is the one you need to be blaming.

    June 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Joyce

    At least Bush respected the constitution.

    June 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  7. Bilbo Baggins

    What's funny is all this spying was made legal under George Bush with several laws and acts, like the Patriot Act, I swear people have the worst memories.

    June 11, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. Mary Gray

    I did not agree with Bushes policies! I did watch the library opening. I have great respect for all of our presidents, Bush did d good deeds, but did some not so good deeds like the war in Irac. I am a registered democrat. I like president Obama's policies. I have worked My entire life and paid into Social Security. My husband has filed for divorce. after 24 yrs and is a republican and is going to leave me with nothing because he doesn't like me and has extreme greed issues. Why are only the democrats concerned about everyone of less and not racise, The republicans only believe in blood lines, like the English These political parties have torn this nation apart. It takes more than blood, sperm, and an egg and political belief to make a PARENT!!! The republicans want a prince just like in England. I have learned that the English are not as giving as we believe! Yes prince Harry is cute, but he is only marketing material. Queen Elizabeth is the richest ruler in the world? Why is that? Are her citizens suppressed? While she is so rich! This is happening in America! My son is a Marine Freedom is not free!

    June 11, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Paraglider

    What a joke! last thing we need is another criminal like Bush who will impose Jew world order police state on us.

    On contrary, we need to get rid of these figures as much as possible.

    June 11, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. Joshua F

    Obama-This country deserves him!

    June 11, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. jim

    George Bush was an imperfect president, but I think he is basically a decent man. For example, I can't imagine Barack Obama stopping to help me change a tire. He might propose a billion dollar taxpayer-funded program to help me afford new tires. But personally he seems like an arrogant jerk.

    June 11, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. holam

    I don't really miss George Bush, I was really glad when his time came to an end. But, I do wish we had a better choice with the election, we really didn't have a choice. I didn't want to vote for Obama or Romney.

    June 11, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. citizen2

    I'm not that forgetful....Bush2 was awful. There is NOTHING that could raise my opinion of him. Let's remember that the Patriot Act was signed by George Bush, and current security and surveillance programs are a direct offshoot of bills passed during his administration, not during the Obama administration.

    June 11, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. Californian

    I don't remember Bush fondly. Just because Obama is walking in his footsteps and outdoing him, doesn't make Bush resonate any better in my mind.

    June 11, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. revolting peasant

    I wonder what this says about the accuracy of polls.

    June 11, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. James Foley

    And make no mistake, Until Bush Jr. is tried for his crimes, he'll remain the archetype of bad conservative principles, and everything wrong that goes with so-callee conservative government. All criticisms lobbed at Jr. are still valid to this day.

    June 11, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. Jaimie

    Nobody took the time to ask me. And the answer is still no, I do not.

    June 11, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. Log Cabin

    I fondly remember him as the worst president in US history who killed over 4000 brave soldiers in Iraq.

    June 11, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. James Foley

    And to discover what really drives poll numbers I highly suggest looking up "Yes Minister, leading questions" on Youtube

    June 11, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. Old Lady

    Nobody asked me. Just sayin'

    June 11, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. no bullshovik

    Isnt bush the ine who intriduced the patriot act? Isnt obama just continuing with that?

    June 11, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Ted Wu, Los Angeles

    I don't believe in the survey. I am just happy that GB is gone, so is Romney, and that we are having a decent president.
    I just wish Obama God speed in getting rid or the malaise brought to us by his predecessor.

    June 11, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  23. Dave

    I haven't changed my view of his presidency. I have been interested in his paintings, and I have always tried to not feel any hatred for him. Mainly I think tht he was just not at all qualified for the office and he was used by others, particularly Cheney, as a puppet to further their agendas.

    June 11, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. Mary1972

    Not really. Who makes up such pools? False hopes to GOP?

    June 11, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  25. javadanny

    The WMD lies and the destruction of Iraq will haunt him throughout history. Then add to that the fact that the retired GWB, in comparison to Carter and Clinton, is a lazy fuck of the first order, a worthless suburbanite.

    June 11, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
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