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. Nope

    Uh, no. Stop trying to spin public opinion at the behest of your corporate ownership. I don't like a misplaced war, no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, or any of the senseless loss of life that Bush 2 brought to this country. This bit of fluff is nothing more than an attempt to soften our collective memory in preparation for the next election. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but you aren't fooling me.

    June 11, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  2. ross

    I do not miss him at all. Was this poll taken in Texas??

    June 11, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  3. Stephen

    What CRAP! President Obama has done so much with NO HELP. The Conservatives are Killing this country!

    June 11, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. ziegfeldf

    Poll shows that a majority of Americans are dull and have poor memories.

    June 11, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  5. LWJR

    that's cuz their successors are so bad.

    June 11, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  6. Al

    Maybe at the end of Bush's 4th term, if we make it and are still free, hold on a minute sorry Obama's in now isn't he? I get so confused, they keep blaming Bush, I though he was still the president......

    June 11, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. The Dead Critic

    The "Dumbing Down of America" reared it's ugly head the day Obama took office. I'm an independent voter since giving up on the 2 party joke fest in 1980. Both parties are worthless. The funny thing is listening to all these far left ignoramuses who claim Bush2 got us into a war for no reason. You want to know the reason? 3000 dead Americans on our own soil. How quickly the left forgets. Enough said.

    June 11, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  8. me

    I do not believe this anymore than I believe 90% of americans are for gun control

    June 11, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  9. biggamejames

    I would say that Obama and his team in general are more competent than Bush and his team, though there were some good folks working for bush. But in the end, Obama kept doing many things almost exactly the same way as bush...TARP bailout, excessive Drone strikes, keeping gitmo open, spying on american people, trading guns with cartels, the list goes on..Obama kept alot of bushes defense and intel teams in place. Bush did get us into Iraq which was really the only truly terrible thing he did plus he flubbed up Katrina. And Obama got us out of Iraq...That's a key difference.

    June 11, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  10. What goes around comes around!

    "You're starting to like George Bush" compared to what we have got in Obama.

    June 11, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. Edgar Friendly

    We didn't even wind up getting the oil...

    June 11, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. charlie

    Just a blip. Yes, history will be the judge ... of a completely unnecessary war in Iraq, brought about by a cynical manipulation of the facts ... of energy policies enacted for personal gain that are accelerating the global climate change and currently changing densely populated coastlines ... of bailing out cronie-owned banks that should have failed. Yes, history will be the judge.

    June 11, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  13. Rodney McKay

    Americans are fools to have positive views of ANY of their recent presidents, Republican or Democrat. They've all been leading the country on a path to ruin, through their macho posturing (e.g., wars) and corporate sellouts.

    America would do well to return to a policy of isolationism for a decade or two, and give the rest of the world a chance to forget how much they've screwed up everything.

    June 11, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Name isidoro delarosa jr

    Even though YES WE HAVE FOUND THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION hidden and used in Syria(That is why both the higher evils and the lesser evils wont intervene)No one will ever give W the APOLOGY HE DESERVES! His administration was right all along,they just couldnt prove it.I will always have unconditional respect for both W & Rumsfield,(we use what we got)

    June 11, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. Geo1964

    How in the hell can we think Bush did a good job. His administration lied about weapons of mass distruction in Iraq. Over 4000 thousand Sons, Daughters, Husbands, Brothers and Sisters died because he hated Sadaam Hussien. The economy was not good under Bush, the wars hid it.Come on people open your eyes. Plus the government has always spied on us. If you think they havent you are all fools

    June 11, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. WJC

    On what planet?

    June 11, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. Widow

    Another thing that shows how stupid Americans are. Bush Obama Clinton ...seriously a bunch of chodes that cost us trillions.. Hell Obama spent more than they did combined.. Billions going to his campaign contributors.. Where is the "change"

    I guess he just meant wasting a ton more of your money than any other president with respect to the balance when every president had taken office. It is just pure insanity that a country would vote in a guy who just spent 7 trillion with no sustainability whatsoever.. It makes zero sense.. Then he wants big government and more taxes.. Taxes hidden in his healthcare bill that he just said would cost another 250-300 billion 3 years after it was passed.. The idiot doesn't even know how much his own bill is going to cost us. Then the community organizer can't even hire the right people in his cabinet.. Scandal after scandal.. Ridiculous!!

    June 11, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. rbsg

    This can be summed up in one line: "Nostalgia is a seductive liar."

    June 11, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Alvarez

    I often wonder about the dimensions of George's largest dump. Perhaps it will be preserved in the presidential library.

    June 11, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  20. Jsilva

    No one can fix our problems. We will have to lower our standards of living..it is already happening with the steady increase of prices for everything and the decrease of well paying jobs. This will continue well into the next century. As for those that criticize the current administration for spying those laws were instigated by bush, perhaps one of the 3 worst presidents in history. Bushes spending and his military gaffes are well documented. True, Obama is not doing a good job, but bush is mostly to blame.

    June 11, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. Galaxy

    In other words, the number of dumb people polled by Gallup is up.

    June 11, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. DrVonBrain

    George W. Bush - He'll be remembered for being an economic wizard and an outstanding military strategist. As well, people miss his intellectual discourse.

    June 11, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. Fozzy

    I only find myself asking... what is the purpose of this article? Is there really nothing more important to tell the American people than the difference in opinion polling for a 5+ year ex-president is?

    June 11, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown

    Until America realizes that 2 party politics is the problem with our government, we all should be considered a bunch of idiots.

    None of the Presidents are worth what they are to our country. All corrupt, just like Congress.

    June 11, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. lerianis

    Oh, hell no! We are not remembering George W. Bush Jr. fondly, we are still hissing at him and saying that he should have been put in prison as a war criminal in my home.

    June 11, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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