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. josh

    This illustrates the danger that with time we forget what has harmed us ..Bush has been the most dangerous president in our modern history and though there has been a slow march to our decline starting with Reagan ..Bush put the last nail in our coffin..with lies into war and the accelerated distruction of our economy ..we may never recover...

    June 11, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  2. Larry Forrest

    N O. We are not.

    June 11, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. lerianis

    Oh, hell no! We are not remembering George W. Bush Jr. fondly in my home, whenever someone mentions his name we still hiss and get out a holy cross. George W. Bush Jr. should have been thrown in federal prison for manipulating intelligence data and should have died there.

    June 11, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. Greg

    Wow. Bush is easily the worst president in my lifetime. Just some highlights of what happened while he was in office. 9/11, Iraq war, Abu Ghraib, Valerie Plame, the Patriot Act, Guantamo, the financial crisis. Sure he was great!! What more could he have done? It would be nice to see him put a little " mission accomplished " banner on all the graves of those that died in Iraq, including the completely innocent women and children that died. He was a delusional deceiver and a war criminal and will be remembered as such by many in the world.

    June 11, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. BK Moore

    The increase in Bush approval just proves the short-term memory loss Americans have. Obama is a pain in the ass, but he is still stellar compared to the incompetence and lies of W.

    June 11, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. pazke

    I feel the same about him now as I did then. And it ain't no warm and fuzzy feeling.

    June 11, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  7. Richard Thwaites

    Americans are such a gulllible bunch. Bush was an abject embarrassment to the Americans who put him into office. He had the intellect of a high school jock and the damage he caused to the US, and indeed the world, will take generations to repair. It's a wonder that he didn't get the Americans into a NUCULAR war!

    C'mon America. Smarten up. Find yourself a leader who has an ounce of brains and a pound of courage.

    June 12, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Robin

    Good luck with that, there is no way a smart person would like George Bush as a president. We are still in wars because of him. I'm hoping someone is noting this post at the NSA. Thanks for that too President Bush. We just love the Patriot Act.

    June 12, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. Scott

    Actually I still hate him. He destroyed the US of A. Obama has started us back to recovery.

    June 12, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. LJ

    I will never "like" Bush

    June 12, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  11. dc

    I am not surprised, considering what we have now. I am encouraged that more people have stopped drinking the kool-aid....

    June 12, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  12. texan2

    I think GW did a great job. I wish he could/would be governor of Texas again!

    June 12, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. TiredofBush

    President Obama could go on vacation tomorrow and still wouldn't log as many vacation hours as Bush did.

    June 12, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  14. Just Here

    Definitely don't remember him fondly since we're still recovering from his screw ups

    June 12, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. Wayne B. Wright

    gag, gag, how soon the American people forget. I haven't forgot, we are still putting up with some of the afterbirth, really don't believe your poll

    June 12, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  16. James Preston

    A survey of less than 2,000 people is supposedly an accurate projection of the entire nation. Did Karl Rove read that poll?

    June 12, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. Name

    I would think that Bush,along with his sidekick Cheney, have been smart not to emerge into public life. They know they made huge enemies, here and abroad. Scum buckets.

    June 12, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  18. NYNJCT

    Thanks to Obama's poor performance in American historically, American started reevaluate George W. Bush's legacy in a positive way. I miss Mr. and Mrs Bush.

    June 12, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  19. The ultimate equation

    Obama = Bush + mandated health care

    June 12, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  20. Jack Dawson

    I did not always agree with Bush, but at least you knew what he believed and he did the things he said he was going to do. Bobo on the other hand is only predictable in his inept performance. Neither guy will make the top 10 in history, but Obama will be way down the list when enough time has passed to evaluate his presidency. The guy is a joke, just not a funny one.

    June 12, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  21. lotsahelp

    I voted for gore but when 9/11 happened i thought bush did much better than gore would have. In 2004 i still didnt vote for bush and while i think his biggest mistake was using the same group of advisors that his dad had i didnt have a problem with getting rid of saddam, i dont think racism was behind katrina events, and i think the great recession was a combination of bith bush and clinton policies.

    June 12, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  22. Bright Quang,B.A,.

    In my opinion that former President Bush that he sat on the American Constitution because I have found out the American Constitution that it did not allow any American leaders that they invaded to foreign countries.
    Second, the American Constitution did not allow any Americans that he or she betrayed his or her oath when he or she has taken an oath that the one ought to be loyal with the American people and nation.
    Third, former President Nixon that he has betrayed his oath when he installed secret microphone or so-called is Watergate. Then, H was lost his American President.
    Finally, if he respected American Constitution, he did not betray treaty peace in Paris for Vietnam War, So the Vietnamese people, and South soldiers that they could not die and imprison and their property could not lose when Vietnamese communists were nationalized by some cheated men. The American face, honor, and justice that these could never be lost by the Vietnam War.

    June 12, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  23. fogedaboudit

    Don't forget Gallup also predicted a Romney victory last November. They've slipped a long way in my estimation. A pox on your polls!

    June 12, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  24. LouieD

    What you're seeing here is just the rise of the impending Idiocracy. Let's see if, after Obama/Biden's second term, they can travel around the world freely, without fear of arrest or sparking protests. The fact that Bush and Cheney can't speaks volumes about whether or not they deserve to be "remembered fondly."

    June 12, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  25. Dr E

    Miss Bush!? H to the NO!

    June 12, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
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