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. nikki

    Not I, I like Obama! !!! Didnt like bush or his father!

    June 11, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. Scooter

    Why? Why is it that people are now liking him more? What has changed regarding his Presidency?

    June 11, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  3. toad

    He really was the greatest... failure.

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. scottrockwerk@yahoo.com

    Bush at, this point Carter and Nixon are looking great.

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. p.j.b.

    Nothing like a major dose of today's crap to make us long for the crap of days gone by!

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. NKBL

    "Bush could have done a whole lot better, by NOT blindly listening to Dick Cheney. He could have used his "own" brains."

    You are absolutely right, Cheney and Ham head (Karl Rove).

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. John

    the only reason people like Obama is White guilt and the fact that he supports abortion.

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  8. jkil

    cedar rapids....you hit the nail on the head... there are so many stupid people in this country it's scary!!

    June 11, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. Vicki

    Republicans can only spew what they hear on Fox News. President Bush will never go up in the opinion of people who saw the real destruction that he brought to this country. The wars that he wanted and the deregulation that brought down the banks, caused the housing foreclosure debacle and by the time he left office left our country in recession. A recession that was in effect when President Obama took office. Since that time republicans have refused to lift a finger for the good of the middle class or working poor and have welcomed the sequester that will bring more harm on so many good programs and of course the poorest in this land. Right now government workers are being furloughed because of the GOP who will not vote to end this travesty on so many Americans.

    June 11, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. damn John

    no not really, don't get me wrong I don't dislike him, but he was not a smart leader, he's led by his emotional states and like most men he's not the captain of his own ship ...at least a sober one.

    June 11, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. jkil

    lol sass2u....he's also the reason there won't be another Republican president for quite some time–
    good post

    June 11, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. Shawni

    Er, no I'm not.

    June 11, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. scottrockwerk@yahoo.com

    Compared to Obama Carter looks like a Financial genus and Nixon looks honest.

    June 11, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  14. Shawni

    PS – what sass2u said.

    June 11, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Bush Say:” American has the ability to make this world better”, Chinese people support

    June 11, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. James Hood

    Here is undeniable proof that GW was the worst prez ever. He made it hard for a white man to run for office. Now the door is open for every color, gender, and sexual orientation. 50 years ago today you tried to block me from attending your all white university. Now I've taken over your sports, entertainment and highest office. How do you like me now? HAHAHAHA

    June 11, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  17. sparky

    "Poll: You're starting to remember Bush fondly"

    In that case, I'm starting to not be me.

    June 11, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. Rob Public Again

    Refresh my memory – who was president in 2006 when the NSA started this ??

    June 11, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  19. Fritz Hohenheim

    I like Richard Nixon. He would be a better and more moral presidents than any of the last two ones.

    June 11, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  20. william k. fitzwater

    Does anyone like Castor oil? Thats the way I feel about Bush his policies were ruinous to the country his international polices a failure but the man I can respect. He crammed his questionable tax polices thru and ills ness of the great recession was a sort of result . So on the whole road to hell is lined with good intentions.

    June 11, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  21. Moonbeam

    Memory capacities equivalent to fruit flies, I guess. That's like being rescued from quicksand and then deciding maybe the guy who threw you into the quicksand wasn't so bad after all, especially if the guy who took your hand and pulled you out of the quicksand is black. So you like the white guy that threw you into the quicksand better, right? Makes as much sense.

    June 11, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Sri

    President Bush got things done – he was an optimist and a man of action.. I can only smile at those commenters falling over one another proclaiming Bush as dumb. He was the president twice and gov of Texas and most of the comments are from those who will probably never become one :). He took some hard decisions and future generations of not just the US will be thankful for that.

    June 11, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. Blue

    President Obama is doing everything in his power to keep us safe. Clinton/Gore tried to tell Bush/Cheney about the plot to kill Americans, and they did not want to hear anything from the previous administration. Look what happened! Our phone and internet has been collected for years. How is it that when something happens the first thing that the officials go after are the phone, and internet records. President just make it legal by having to go to court for the info, Bush did not have this safeguard. Get off of his back and help our President, the world is in a mess and we need to be there for him.

    June 11, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Mike

    Who would have thought Obama could play so much golf and have such a corrupt govt that people actually admire Bush these days?

    June 11, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. Kareen

    Was that poll taken in Georges Neighborhood?

    June 11, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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