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. Hedge

    Not missing Bush! The lingering problems from his tenure are still with us. Good riddance.

    June 11, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  2. Bush Girl

    george bush was an amazing president who cared about american people. people are now realizing what a phony obama is. I miss bush

    June 11, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  3. Naresh

    If 49% of citizens of a country can like a man who defied UN's findings and involved the nation in a unreasonable murderous war against Iraq leading to loss of innocents in both side , what can you say about the nation ? Leave alone the mess that Bush created in the economic front, do those who fondly remember Bush justify the war ? Has anyone of them lost a father or a son or even a distant relative in that war ? Sickening !

    June 11, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  4. Janet

    I voted for Bush the first time, but not second. His irresponsible fiscal policies crashed our economy, and his reckless war killed thousands and was based on a lie. He is the reason I am now an Independent and lean Democratic. As I consider the future of my young adult children,I think my opinion of him has actually become worse, not better. It will take a long time to recover from the disaster his administration wrought.

    June 11, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  5. Robert

    At least Bush didnt attack us like Ob does......Ob is no good, Every time we turn around that illegal is hitting or sneaking something in on us......

    June 11, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. Jeff

    President Bush was SO much better than Obama. Please, President Bush, we want you back!!!

    June 11, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  7. Z

    Gallop is a leaning right wing polling group..remember how they predicted a Romney win, how wrong could they get..is it any wonder this poll has W Bush in a favorable light..sure when all you poll are Faux nutty nuz watchers..Thank our lucky stars we have someone in the White House now that actually has a brain..and uses it!

    June 11, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. Johnny

    I would never like bush... well other than the shows he helped create on comedy central... Those were better than his stolen terms as a president.. I think that was his official title. not the one I gave him.

    June 11, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  9. Robert

    Gee imagine OB losing his popularity on CNN

    June 11, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. Ron nixon

    Whaaaaat, yet another poll I wasn't invited to participate in. Guess I didn't meet the criteria' too black, to patriotic, and incapable of being brainwashed.

    June 11, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  11. Robert

    Compared to Obama he's an Angel...

    June 11, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. PAUL

    I will take President Bush over Obama any day of the week.

    June 11, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. ny88

    All this means is 49% have either very short memories or they still have their blinders on. While I never hated the man, he was a horrible president. Just because he seems like a nice person (as opposed to the evil VP he chose) doesn't mean he did anything that would deserve a favorable rating. He allowed scum like Rove and Cheney to thrive. That's reason enough for an unfavorable rating.

    June 11, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  14. Arick

    I don't think Bush was a bad guy, he just surrounded himself with bad guys who manipulated him.

    June 11, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Dandy

    No one asked me either. My opinion of Dubya was bad before, now it is turning to hatred. That numb skull started Prism also!!!! OMG, now we have secret stuff that Dubya started that we are just now finding out about!!! What else could he do any worse?? Two wars, run the country into the ground economically, and start Prism!!
    Dubya is the Vladimir Putin of the US government. Fortunately we have term limits on the presidency. Dubya should be tried for treason.. or stupidity.. or both!

    June 11, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. cwj

    Not even kinda sorta.
    Less hate does not equal more like.

    June 11, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. Salty Bob

    President Obama is a far cry better president than Bush ever was, I will never miss him in any way he was a waste that gave us more wasted blood and capital in on the world stage.

    June 11, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. no, wrong, bushsuxrealbad

    even hitler starts to look good after a few years and it's only 'cause collective idiot memories are very short.
    worst president ever. and i am THE authority on this very topic.

    June 11, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. ImIrish

    Oh, I always did like him. The current President....not at all.

    June 11, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. loadmaster3

    "It's all Bush's fault" Barry Obama clearly states that he never had prior knowledge of any of the many scandals that have been occurring is his regime. He found out about all of them when we did,right?

    June 11, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  21. are122

    After Obama even Jimmy Carter is starting to look good.

    June 11, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. Boohincus

    The right wingers who abandoned him have started trickling back, suddenly dewy eyed over the monkey king George. No significant change has occurred with progressives or independents. They're not sentimental about the Texas dumbo and still recognize him for the towering incompetent that he was. Shame on the press for trying to rejuvenate 'ole stupid's' reputation by implying that he's being warmly welcomed back in all quarters. Not!

    June 11, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Da Sanitizer

    "he voted for Bush twice.." and now GW looks shining ... again.
    I wish I could comment on that further, and mention that we haven't started any new fake wars, that we haven't gotten caught in more torture allegations, that we haven't had that feeling of some dark forces "handling" the puppet Georgy boy, .... and on and on.

    Oh boy, I do enjoy watching "stupid", but then... it's not that good for our country, is it?

    June 11, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. Robert

    Obama has done a really good job of cleaning up Bushes messes and that might be why some people are remembering him more favoriably. It wasnt easy, getting bin laden, ending the war in iraq, stabalizing the free market, helping gm turn around, passing comprehensive health care, turning around afgahanistan, getting gadhaffi, etc, etc, etc... but he did it. Once all the stuff he screwed up is fiexed its easy to remember how his george w's boots sure looked cool.

    June 11, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. jalalfatemi

    another face saving promo of a war criminal by CNN and Co; given all the numbers are true, it still goes to show the short term memory of some of US voters :(((((

    June 11, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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