George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
10 months 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. nintex

    I am reading Bush's "Decision Points" and he comes across as a good man, but totally incompetent for the job of President. I think he had some good intentions, but an awful lot of bad advice. He admits to mistakes and takes the blame for things that happened; it's just unfortunate for the country that someone with more leadership wasn't in charge.

    June 12, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. Jennifer NY

    I will never remember George W. fondly. He started an illegal war, filled his appointments with crooks and cronies leftover from his crooked Texas days. Thousands of people have been killed in Iraq including our service men and women, he caused Iran to become more powerful by getting rid of Saddam. We became a debtor nation for the first time in US history...he almost brought the US down in bankruptcy. He didn't want to listen to his terrorism expert who was running around "with his hair on fire" before 9/11.....if he was involved, he and Condi might have prevented 9/11.

    June 12, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  3. PaganScorp

    "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." It looks like you Americans can as far as W goes.

    June 12, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. tiz

    Obama makes everybody look good.....

    June 12, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. Timodeus

    I think we remember the economic status during this time more than policy decisions. For most of his terms we were in the middle of a bubble. Obama came in shortly after it burst. I remember going to college and working summers under Bush, but I remember getting my degree and being unemployed under Obama.

    June 12, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Gabbo

    Just a very honorable man with great intergrity ....oh how we miss that kind of leader NOW !

    June 12, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. caw

    The ONLY warming I will ever have for Bush is to burn a facsimile of him in effigy. He single-handedly destroyed the economy while at the same time destroyed the respect the international community had for our country.

    June 12, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The only ways I can "fondly" remember Dubya are as follows:
    1. Thanks to term limits, he was gone after 2 terms.
    2. The new type of Republicans are a lot worse than he was.

    June 12, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. Steve

    Trade Deficit doubled with China Under Bush, He change the Bankruptcy Code to protect the 1% population from reeling from the lending practices of the Banks and AIG. He was out playing golf on the day we invaded Iraq and the GOP scoff at Obama for any time he walks onto a golf course. He Bankrupted our country with the help of his side kick Dick.

    June 12, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Garroty

    Bush was the president who finally responded to terrorism. He spread freedom in the middle east and removed a sadistic tyrant implanting democracy in the heart of the region. That war was supported by coward demcrats who condemn him now. He will be remembered as a friiend of democracy.

    June 12, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Tiger

    He should be remembered, hanging in public being beaten with sticks by a crowd... Dickhead Cheney at his side.

    June 12, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Eli

    This story is bush league.

    June 12, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. brooklynbl

    Are you kidding me? Where the heck do you get the information for polls like this? Couldn't be further from the truth. Who in their right mind ends up liking Bush after what he did to our country and costing thousands of soldiers their lives and devastating the economy? I don't believe CNN for one moment. Their information is usually bogus and they can't write a complete and concise report on anything if their lives depended on it. Where they get their journalists is a guess, maybe a University from a small Caribbean country? Ugh.

    June 12, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. Ramez

    The only thing that I remember fondly about G. Dubya Bush is the day he left office. It would take pages upon pages of text to just summarize everything that is wrong about him, all of the horrible things that he and his neo-con co-conspirators intentionally and maliciously did to America and to the world, and all of the damage that resulted from the American people's trust in those thugs.

    June 12, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. Matthew

    :People blame Bush for Iraq, but I remember that 80% of the country at the time and most Democrats also wanted that war.

    June 12, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Andrew

    To add to my previous point.

    Harry Truman left office with the lowest approval rating in history, so low that the Republican Dwight Eisenhower won the next election.
    Warren Harding died with one of the highest approval rating in history, so high that the Republican Calvin Coolidge won the next election.

    Harry Truman is now considered a "Near Great" president and Warren Harding is now considered a "Failed" president.

    June 12, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Grady

    Fondly remember him??? In essence forgive him for the gross stupidity of his administration.
    Never, history may be favorable to him, they even say good things about president Grant, but I will never "fondly" remember him. It's like pining for the good old days of the Black Plague.

    June 12, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Let's ask the Iraqi Shoe Thrower what he thinks of Bush.

    June 12, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. Mentallect

    Thanks Obama
    1. Iraq Fixed.
    2. Economy Fixed.
    3. Afghanistan Fixed.
    4. Financial Crisis Fixed.
    5. Housing Crisis – better.
    6. Deficit Fixed.

    Bush can thank you. Because you fixed all the Bush problems, amnesiacs forget how horrible a president he was with 29% approval. The lowest rating for any president in recorded US history.

    June 12, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  20. s.jones

    At least he didn't let our Country get pushed around, wasn't afraid to stand up it and lived by/believed in our Constitution because he was a true AMERICAN.

    June 12, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. Name liberty

    Here chew on this for a while. One World Order, run by one final dictator not a Christian elected official from America! Coming soon, when? Were in the makings right now! Read WND.com/ don't miss out
    on immorality, confiscation of property by UN ultimtely, obstruction of rights, gay rights, after morning abortion pills teens
    without parent knowledge is being pushed, false flags, cults ideas of who should run what,and when did you "elect" to give up All your Constitutional rights? Whose running America, not Americans, the bought and paid for press, UN troopson American soil while war weary US troops are so fatigued their label. Unfit or mentally ill, and not allowed ownership of guns, ask the NRA. But, I just observing the tearing down, the manipulation of families. No jobs, no hope, college students swimming in debt. Call me stupid, but we have over a million Americans youth, locked in USprivate or gov't run prisons;
    and you wonder what President was behind this, All of them! And its still happening while you sip your summer ice tea! Thanks for reading, some will see the bigger picture, others will never see, America is dying

    June 12, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  22. JJ236

    Well yes, after living the O experiment.....There was still some trust of the government during his tenure. Today there is no trust of any government agency. IRS is not politically blind anymore, NSA is listeneing to your phone calls, lies, deflection and deceit from DC everyday.

    June 12, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I would love to have the opportunity to urinate and take a dump at the entrance of the Bush Library.

    June 12, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Willa45

    Most People these days already know full well when and why they don't like something or someone. Trying to "Brainwash" people into liking George W Bush with words like 'you're starting to remember Bush fondly' insults everyone's intelligence!.

    June 12, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. carol

    Wonder where that poll came from. Not sure I know one person who can say he was a good president. I even know some Democrats that were once Republicans! Bush was god awful president.

    June 12, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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