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. Winky

    Let's see if this is true in 2014? I doubt it

    June 11, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. nunya

    OK< Not!!! Bush made it safe for terrorist in Iraq and Obama will make it safe for them in Afganistan. However, I like Obama way better than Bush. This article got it wrong. its a fluke, bush is still the person who got us into a horrible horrible recession and almost caused another great depression!

    June 11, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. Mary1972

    No one polled me or my family. We would have voted a big "NO".

    June 11, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  4. Gail Kirchner

    I will never remember Bush fondly. I didn't like him then and I wouldn't like him today. Our country is going through a hard time but Obama can't be blamed for everything. If he had as much power as everyone seems to think he has, he'd be God.

    June 11, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. brown291

    Were starting to remember Bush fondly? This is the same agency (Gallup) who predicted Romney to win the election hands down so now were suppose to take them seriously? yea o.k.

    June 11, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. MAG

    Love, the new property Bush opened up during his Presidency Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery!

    June 11, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. gusaustin

    99% of people's negatve opions of Bush are because the left was so angry that Gore lost, theyve since been repeating the same lies, etc to smear the man. For the uninformed they believe it. The left was especially angry after 9-11 when Bush's approval was like 99% and they ate their hearts out that Gore wasn't in. Ater 9-11 I was so thankful that Gore had lost. Iraq was worth it too, it was a war started in 91 that had to be finished.

    June 11, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Seyedibar

    Probably true. The bulk of the American public has the attention span of a gnat.

    June 11, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. G2

    Those numbers are only because people have the political attention span of a Nat. 30 Years from now his approval numbers will be 80% when our chirdrens' children start to pay off the debet he created.

    June 11, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. Johnny Cochran

    Well no kidding. Compared to Obama, he looks like a rock star. Obama was/is complete unqualified for the job. Bush made some mistakes. The perscription drug law is one of them for sure. History will show that Bush really wasn't responsible for the economy. The housing market bubble was the result of Clinton politics that for some reason people don't hold him accountable for. Prior to Clinton, you couldn't buy a house without 20% down or paying PMI. All of the problems with the housing market can be traced back to Clinton era. Look it up. Don't believe me. Bush should have changed it and took his lumps, but in modern day politics, he was trapped. If he changes the policy and the economy tanks, he is the goat. If he does nothing and the bubble burst, he is the goat. By the time Bush took office the housing market was a no win situation. Clinton also benefited from the capital spent by business for Y2K and the internet bubble. Please tell me one piece of legislation he passed that improved the economy other than letting people buy a house with no money down (urban reinvestment act), and we see what that got us. Wake up people! I don't like war, but if you look at Iraq in the long game, it made sense. Iran is on the verge of a revolution, and if a democracy could take hold in the middle east it could have dominoed. In fact it did. The Arab spring is a direct result of changes in the region, but the Obama administration sat on the sidelines. Now extremist groups took control. Bush didn't do a bad job, and history will continue to show that. History will eventually show that Clinton was the luckiest president in history and was actually the cause of the current crisis. Obama will be shown as the most dangerously incompetent president of all time.

    June 11, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Bush caused the death of 4,500 Service-members. He started the Iraq War with falsified data and no exit strategy. He should be in prison.

    June 11, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. crimsoninok

    I knew when Obama was elected that this would be the blinding truth.. Sad it took him being re-elected to see it.. Yes, you Obama voters, IT IS YOUR FAULT!!

    June 11, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. humberto

    The Auto makers are making money, No drama about weapons of mass destruction and gofers tell the citizens how bad the world is and shredding government documents, what a bone head article.

    June 11, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. Sam

    I will never like Bush. My first election was 2004. I view Republicans as a threat to the ability of the non-rich to eat. I will never like Bush. But my total hate for him has waned.

    But there was no Bush. The pre-Tea Party GOP was so homogeneous in its thinking, so lockstep, so disciplined and fanatical that you could have replaced Bush with Cheney, or both with potatoes and no policy change would result, for a Republican potato is still a Republican, and would do whatever Rush Limbaugh told it to do.

    I am against, and will always be, against the Republican Party.

    June 11, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. Jackie

    Well that is like asking is Richard Milhouse Nixon an American hero. George W. Bush has sealed his legacy from day one when he ignored the Bin Laden memo of using planes to attack the US. Then going to War in Afghanistan, turning to invade Iraq based on complete lies. Bush ordered torture and kidnapping of innocent people. Bush got thousands of US soldiers killed. Bush came to office with a balance budget/surplus and left the US in deep Recession. Banks illegally foreclosing on homes ,fixed increase interest rates for profit and lawmakers set up a market crush as they bet against the US. Bush is a War Criminal known around the World and already indicted in many country. But many Americans call him their hero and would forgive him for 8 years of hell for the USA. Now most are trying to say it was Obama in office in 2001-present because to admit Bush did it is to much.

    June 11, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Jany

    It will be a cold day in hell before we like him again in Dallas, Texas

    June 11, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. SouthernFriedInfidel

    *I'M* starting to like Dumbya? I hardly think it's possible. His "decision points" were flawed, particularly for a supposed history major, and he either acquiesced in a path that led to the ending of my career (being replaced by "offshore resources" living in India) or he consciously chose the path that put me out of work and has kept me from the career I loved all my life since then. That's just my thoughts on a PERSONAL level. Thinking of the damage he and his cronies did while they held power, I will only stop loathing his memory when I develop Alzheimers.

    June 11, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Erasrhedd

    Nixon's numbers got better as time passed. Big deal, means nothing.

    June 11, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. Bea

    Who is this we, Kimosabe? Bush Jr. still remains one of our worst presidents. He started two unwinnable wars that have caused the death of thousands of people. Afghanistan has become the longest war in US history. He also was the president who had one of the worst economic collapses in US history. We still haven't fully recovered. There are millions of people who are either unemployed or underemployed.

    June 11, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. benny hill

    WOW, is this FauxnewsCNN?
    I have to find another news source. No way this is true.

    June 11, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. Waynes World

    Who exactly did the gallop poll, poll? It wasn't the citizens of the United States. Must've been members of Congress and their lobbyists. Or the people of Texas. And as a family member of people lost in 9/11 i detest him with every fiber of my being. And would not be opposed to publicly hanging that @%<~!

    June 11, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  22. jc

    any way you slice it, the trajectory we are on. Americans are really screwed.

    June 11, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. johnk

    Are you people kidding me about Bush? This guy was a complete bozo in the fact he had no idea as to money management, got involved in a war he had no clue as to how to win it or how much it was going to cost plus its financial reprocusions of funding these two wars. Drowned our debt to a all time high and by the way it has gotten even worse with Obama. And finally passed broad sweeping measure to fight terrorists, yet complete ignored our infux of illegals into this country swelling that number to a huge amount. Now they have erected a presidential library for this boob! Boy, the American voting public are just as bad as this very poor President was in thinking he was great leader.

    June 11, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. hashaam ud din

    Americans are a brain-washed nation

    June 11, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. dean77

    Heck, I'd take the peanut farmer over this guy. Thanks Dems!

    June 11, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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