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. Otto

    The eveidence that Bush was incompetent, corrupt, and a puppet to the rich (Saudi's included) is overwhelming. The only lies you'll here about his time in the White House are courtesy of the Bush Library in Dallas.

    June 12, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Michael E

    I don't remember Bush fondly. Just the opposite, actually. He was an absolute disaster in the White House and he made Nixon look honest by comparison. He horribly mismanaged the economy and lied about intelligence to force us into an unnecessary war. Hundreds of thousands of people died unnecessarily because of this awful man. How can anyone remember him fondly?

    June 12, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Scout

    I'd rather warm up to a bobcat.

    June 12, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. hannah

    I think Bush was the worst president in the history of the country. He wasn't really elected either time; the first time the supreme court elected him, the second time the Diebold voting machine program was hacked. When he was running the first time, I had been an Independant and when I saw what would be happening with Bush, I knew he would start wars, I joined the Democratic Party. Bush years were a disaster; wars not paid for, spying on Americans, ramping up TSA, terrible prescription drug program again not paid for. No oversight on the finanancail that caused the banking system to about go under in 2008 and the recession that, due to congress' inaction is still with us today. He would call out our enemies calling them axis of eveil just to get them stirred up so that we then could ramp up our arms program. He was a puppet president that failed America on all levels. It was an 8 year nightmare.

    June 12, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. cobra dan

    current administration is sneaky and americans have lost trust in there govt, make nixon look like a saint. Obama promised transperancy, that was a big lie. having obama and holder around really makes me miss bush more.

    June 12, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Bob

    When people see another Republican in office, they'll wish Obama was back.

    June 12, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. don moon

    i pray that he and all his no good friends all burn in hell for leading this country down the wrong path

    June 12, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Joe O

    CNN gets funnier all the time! Remarketing Bush!

    June 12, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Buckeye

    I miss President Bush. The economy was great and the middle class thrived. Now the economy is worse than it's ever been – gas and food prices alone are killing the middle class. Obama is the worst president EVER!

    June 12, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. chuckt20

    Funny how all these Liberals blamed him for all these things that actually happen under Democratic control. Someone on here said this proves how stupid America is, that was already proven when we elected the idiot in the White House now. O'bama will go down as the biggest liar,cheat, and overall failure of all time. This guy is making Nixon look like a saint.

    June 12, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Just Because

    Most people forget that BUSH had a 22% approval rating when he left office! That means he did a good job??? WOW how BLIND people are – PAT TILLMAN RIP – NEVER FORGET!

    June 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. TGL in Canada

    History will prove that George JR. was an inept man who lied to the American people countless amount of times to assert his own agenda. The tragedy was the loss of patriotic military men & women, and tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq, who were victims of his and Cheney's conveluted rhetoric. The result of spending 400 million a day for 8 years on two wars, will continue to cripple the US economy for years to come. I feel badly for the well intentioned, hard working people in the USA who will spend their lives not being able to realize the American dream because of this fool, and his administration.

    June 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. hillbillyphilly

    I always thought people would look at Bush more positively one day. Then again, I don't think public opinion could have gotten much worse than when he was in office.

    June 12, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  14. Mike

    I am a democrat and while I did not vote for Bush, I do believe that many of the negative aspects of his presidency were in fact the product of a biased media and hollywood. The media hated Bush and did everything in their power to discredit him and it did in fact work. If you ask people why he was a bad president, most people will tell you it was because he was a bad speaker, or invaded Iraq or destroyed the U.S. Economy. But most educated people no that the invasion of Iraq was fully supported by both parties in Congress and even prior to Bush's presidency Clinton had the same intelligence and supported the same decision. The Economy tanking was a product of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and sub-prime lending, this can be traced back to both Democrats and Republicans which had a hand in the disaster. I don't think Bush was a bad president, in fact I think he did make some good decisions (and some bad one's as well), but to be honest I don't see Obama (who I did vote for) as being any better or worse.

    June 12, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. loudmusic

    Remember "W" fondly? Shoot me now. Worst president of my lifetime. Name ONE thing this guy did RIGHT. Go ahead. I dare ya.

    June 12, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    They must have gotten him mixed up with his Dad.

    June 12, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Paul

    Liberals love to forget:
    1) A vast majority of democrats voted for both wars, including Hillary Clinton. At the time it was strange that Obama did not.
    2) Democrats had a lot to do with the economic mess (sub prime mortgages). See Barney Frank and blocking of 3rd party over site at Fanny/Freddy (former boyfriend Herb Moses being an exec there, and all the money he got from them definitely a conflict of interest)
    3) The locating and killing of OBL was directly due to the "enhanced interrogations" methods that were criticized so strongly by the left.
    4) Bush’s tax cuts really, really, really helped the poor and middle class. In fact those cuts for the lower income levels were made permanent in January of 2013.

    June 12, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Dan Cas

    What a joke. He was so fondly remembered last November when he wasn't invited to the RNC Convention. He is a disgrace to our state of Texas and the United States of America. He needs to fade into the sunset with all of his corrupt, treasonous cronies.

    June 12, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Chuck

    Who the hell did they ask during this poll? Bush relatives?

    June 12, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Game Patriot

    Libs like to avoid the FACTS: Every member of Congress had access to the same information that Bush used to determine that there were WMD's in Iraq. Further, nobody knew that Saddam wasn't harboring Abu Nidal and other terrorists. The Iraq Resolution passed with significant bipartisan support. And remember, there was no terror act on US soil after 9/11, because the fight went to Iraq & Afghanistan. As for the financial crisis, all you libs can conveniently forget that the sub-prime mortgage industry was at the center of the recession, and that the seeds of that recession were planted by Jimmy Carter in 1977 with the Community Reinvestment Act, then strengthened by Clinton when he was in office, then further strengthened by Barney Frank. Read up and try to argue otherwise. You can also bash Bush for Abu Ghraib and waterboarding and Gauntanamo, and i'll respect others' opinions. BUT, you may want to consider the increased use of drones by the Obama administration and the civilian casualties associated with those strikes before you point the finger at Bush for inhuman of prisoners. War is dirty business, as is PEACEMAKING, which will continue to become more apparent in the years to come. Bush is not an articulate man, and he made some bad decisions, but he steered this country well in his 8 years, managed significant crises effectively (except Katrina), and showed himself to be a man of principle. Can any of us say the same about the political opportunist in the White House now? Guy is an ego-driven empty suit consumed with his legacy rather than looking out for the best interests of the United States of America and democracy throughout the World. He has shown himself to be filled with hubris and devoid of principle.

    June 12, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Scott

    I, personally, think that history will judge him to have been a better president than folks today believe.

    June 12, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Anonymous

    People who supported Obama were totally duped by him. They all believed his lies that he was going to do so much for them and he has done nothing. It just proves the people who have long supported Bush were right all along. Sorry so many people in this country actually fell for Obamas lies. Maybe next election they will be a little smarter in who they vote for if there is anyone they can actually put their faith in. Obama was a flash in the pan, a black who was charismatic and who so many really wanted to be the right one. Sadly, he was not. He enjoys the perks and the fame of office more than he cares to help ALL the people of this country.Not really sure of his loyalty to this country at all! He won't put his hand over his heart when we say the pledge of allegiance etc. There is a kernel of belief in the rumor that he is all for muslims and not for us. He will not go down in history as a very good president. More like a faux president that got into office because so many people who voted for him were looking for freebies! He sure fooled them didn't he?

    June 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. John

    Just goes to show how stupid the American people are, then. "W" was the worst president *ever*, bar none. Unless we, God forbid, somehow elect Palin or one of the other RNC mental midgets, he'll likely retain that distinction for some time.

    June 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. GenPatton

    So many lies by the Left have been proven wrong, so of course President Bush's stock is rising.

    June 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. Candlewick

    The only way this is possible is that the new guy is exponentially worse. Who would'a thunk it?

    June 12, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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