George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
2 years 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. John

    The poll should be called how stupid the poll respondents are.

    June 11, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  2. sparks2000

    Poll: You're starting to remember Bush fondly-–I am?I dont remember saying that?sheesh Am I getting THAT old?

    June 11, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. billy

    At least Bush had enough sence to stay out of the mess when he left.

    June 11, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. Kyle Michel Sullivan

    In answer to your headline - no, I am not. I despised the man when he was governor of Texas; I still despise him. He is the worst of our entitlement society.

    June 11, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  5. Bookldy209

    You didn't ask me.

    June 11, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. 6797777

    Bush numbers are up ? What garbage , he wants to be liked but no thank you . He made some horrible decisions that we are now paying for, lets move beyond Bush please , he had his chance.

    June 11, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. gladhesgone

    W was the worst president in US History.

    June 11, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  8. USAPeasant

    Lol I just saw FOX News' Hannity support Obama and say muslim women have more freedom than American women!!!! The left and the right medias have gone nuts all because of Edward Snowden. God bless Edward Snowden, a true patriot and American Hero.

    The real traitors are Bush, Obama, Peter King, Lindsey Graham, Diane Feinstein, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell. Look them up all have ties to corruption, nefarious policy, and all voted to grossly abuse the power to spy on the American people breaking our right to privacy and unreasonable searches and seizures. Vote these traitors out! Wikipedia publicly shows Peter King's ties to a well known terrorist group, he's Homeland Security and Intelligence Chairman, and the man attacking Patriot Snowden. You literally couldn't get more ironic.

    June 11, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. pubesrtoast

    voting for Bush once is dumb, voting for him twice is dumber.

    June 11, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. davidintel

    The only fond thing I can say about him is I'm glad he can not run again, worst president ever!!!

    June 11, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  11. Les

    There is not a snowball's chance in hell that anyone of any intelligence would every remember Duh-bya fondly. The sight of him still nauseates me. He lied to the American people and created a war that destroyed and continues to destroy the lives of those who served and those around them. The only reason his independent numbers could have gone up is that former Republicans are disgusted with the party (either not conservative enough or too wacko) and are calling themselves independents.

    June 11, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  12. Bob

    I had problems with Bush, but watching Obama makes me like Bush more and more.

    June 11, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. zappo15

    Great, shows the wisdom of the public. All the bad stuff Obama is doing now is a continuation of what Bush started in the first place. No question Bush's legacy is splendor for the US.

    June 11, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  14. Ohio

    No. No we're not.

    June 11, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. dean

    I hated Bush with a passion but after four years of Obama's lies I'm now a republican, I finally realized people need to help themselves. Bush only went into Iraq because if he didn't and Saddam gave chemical weapons to Al Qaeda there would be hell to play. Thanx george and sorry

    June 11, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  16. shelly

    They didn't ask me, I would have set them straight about this m*r*n.

    June 11, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  17. Rocky

    I would have written a true assessment of this article and accused media of trying to launder Bush's image and of trying to rewrite History. I would have pointed out that hisotrians have ranked Bush as the third worst President in the history of this country. But I won't make those assertions. You know why? I want to coddle up with the Powers that hold NSA's leash. Yes, Bush is a sweet guy. We are fond of him. In his tenure we became a land of plenty. I saw milk and honey flow in our rivers (it was only a dream, though). Yes, all is well, the housing market is booming and our deficit has been erased. Good Morning in La La land!

    June 11, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  18. Jordan

    Yes I love how Bush helped enact 'The Patriot Act' which gives government unlimited power over the american people. It set the stage not only as an act against citizens, but is used as a reference for spying on and detaining(and killing) said Americans; "In the name of fighting terrorism" is the excuse. The intelligence the government doesn't want revealed is classified. Anyone exposing these crimes is accused of 'endangering' the American people and our troops off shores.

    Yes I remember Bush VERY well...'no child left behind' which gave FCAT a huge boost in deterring the teaching of our students in a fashion similar to fascist countries. You must learn THIS way or you will fail. Teach to the test, not to the inventive society we used to be.

    I remember Bush invading Iraq with Congress' consent months after we laid troops on their soil, not finding any WOMD but also CHANGING the reason to going there after the fact to taking down a dictator, Throwing their country into shambles and then using OUR money to rebuild their country to try spreading Capitalism and Christianity. What did we get from that? More people hating USA's foreign policies and China getting all the oil from our hard work.

    Yeah, I remember Bush\Cheney, I still appreciate having Obama in the White House. Sure things are happening during his term but the people responsible are people Bush either put into the position, or they came into the position during his term.

    I'll still vote for you in 2016 Jeb\Chris.

    June 11, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  19. D

    Short term memories, I tell ya. You'd think people who be remembering the good ol days of completely warrant-less wiretapping that Bush's NSA was doing thanks to all the recent news.

    June 11, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  20. Mark

    Obama's presidency makes every other look good (save, maybe Nixon's – that is probably a tie).

    June 11, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  21. Voiceinthewind

    Quit with the Propaganda already, Americans remember the thousands and thousands of people killed and still being killed because of this greedy evil person who we all know was the worst president in the history of America and belongs in prison. He bankrupted America morally and financially and America and Americans are still paying and we won't forget this for many years to come so quit trying to make anyone think the opinions of The Shrub have changed we all know that he is a bum.

    June 11, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. Daniel

    This is the usual thing. Americans always seem to like the PREVIOUS republicans because they seem so sane and rational when compared to the CURRENT republicans. One day we'll remember Joe Walsh, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin as models of rectitude and compromise.

    June 11, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Danram

    George Bush was and is, at the core, a good man who means well. I've always gotten the impression that he's a genuinely humble person as well, far removed from the self-absorbed narcissist who succeeded him.

    His weakness was that he was simply a poor manager who didn't surround himself with enough good people. In many crucial instances, they really let him down.

    June 11, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  24. jeffro

    The "stop blaming Bush" thing is so idiotic. Yes, we are still impacted by the polices of Bush... and James Madison, and Lincoln, and Roosevelt, and every past president. Bush AND Obama polices will impact the USA for decades to come and long after you and I are gone.

    June 11, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. Bajopus

    Considering that the current administration is shaping-up to be the most corrupt in American history, it's not difficult to look good by comaprison.

    The left went on and on about Bush being a 'War Criminal'. ...and then they elected a Chicago thug who operates like a mob boss. Water boarding? Hell, Obama just assasinates people from the air! Screw water boarding.

    The entire federal government is collapsing upon itself due to an endless stream of scandals and cover-ups. Honest liberals are abandoning Obama in drone. Only the fools will remain and risk being associated with this crook.

    Yeah, Bush wasn't so bad.

    June 11, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 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