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. Mike

    Face it. Americans have short memories.

    June 12, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Ykuos

    There is indisputable proof that Barry is the dumbest President / leader in the history of the planet: Biden

    June 12, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Ron in SC

    What a crock! Sounds like a manufactured right wing poll to go along with everything else they manufacture.

    June 12, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. JohnWayne

    Bush's grandfather Prescott worked with the Naxis getting rich during WWII. They are all evil!

    June 12, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Jen

    Watch Fahrenheit 911 for a Bush refresher!!

    June 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Barry Obama, NJ, US

    entirely predicatable. when liberals and uninformed Americans with ADD constantly checking their Facebook feed to see what Kim Kardashian is up to, give way to the passage of time that is a requisite part of writing history books, the truth wins out.

    plus our current President has been exposed as just a man of flowery rhetoric who can't do real work, which is governing.

    June 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Cat

    49% remember Bush fondly? Something wrong with that poll.

    June 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Magi

    Well, guess they have to start cleaning up his image so they can try and push another Bush into office during 2016. Yay, more Bush. /sarcasm

    June 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. the dude

    I still don't like him.
    fool me once... shame on you.... fool me...eh... can't get fooled again. he he .

    terrible president.

    June 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. holspark

    BO has cried "Bush is the reason" so often, we now all know what a true incompetent BO is. Be a man, BO, and just admit you are a screw up. When my 5 year old blames everyone else, i can look past it; when the alleged great Prez BO continually blames everyone else, I just laugh.

    June 12, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. tomfoolery

    I am 66 today, so one year younger than GW Bush! Ole GW very closely resembles my father toward the end of his life at 85. Of course Bush looks somewhat younger at close to 67, yet he still is a close match to my dad. I miss my father a lot and when I look at W, he makes me think of my dad!

    June 12, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Cwewill

    I wasn't a fan of "W" as president... But I must admit he provided me many moments of comic relief...

    June 12, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. parvo00

    "You're starting to remember Bush fondly"

    No. No really, I'm not.

    June 12, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Kelley

    President Bush ar least instilled American pride which is something that is sorely lacking from our current President. I feel like President Obama is ashamed to be an american. Although I did not vote for Obama, I had hoped that he could at least do something while in office, unfortunately we are looking at several more years of nothing.

    June 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. ru serious

    lol isn't that rich? Anyone would look good in comparison to the non-entitiy presently in office, know nothing do nothing divider in chief.

    June 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. John Tighe

    The world really did end in 2000. It ended with the election of G.W. Bush, or should that be "selection"?
    With his election our country has turned into the type of scenario that was previously only in works of fiction like, "What if Hitler Won WWII?" In this case it's, "What if the President of the United States just cared about his rich friends, and turned the country into a hellish nightmare?" Bush really has killed the country, sealed our fate. Obama had a chance to correct this, but unfortunately he hasn't done anything to prevent our nation from going down like the Titanic, just rearranging the deck chairs.

    June 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Bonafarte

    I like bush.

    June 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. zaggs

    Probably because it was a moral imperative to elect Obama to stop the government snooping on its citizens, make sure the government didn't punish you for your political beliefs, not to start wars (and especially not to start wars without congressional approval), lower the deficit, and not to increase hatred of America in the Muslim world. Oh wait, none of that happened.

    June 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. President Bush LOVES his country!

    President Bush loves his country and ONLY wanted the best for America, which could NEVER, EVER be said about Obama and his wife. Unfortunately, Obama has a following that equally does NOT love America - they actually believe our country is evil and needs to be neutralized. I wish these people would have to spend just ONE week in a nation such as North Korea. How quickly they would change their tune!

    June 12, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Richard

    IF one can read they will see that over half the people polled like Dubya..........oooops

    June 12, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. James Cristopher Osterhout

    Stop telling me what I'm supposed to think. George Bush was the figurehead of the most nefarious and corrupt regime ever to sit in the Whitehouse. He cajoled us into a usesless war with lies and falsehoods. Your "news" organization is part and parcel to his treachery. Bush and his cabal should all be rotting in prisons to this day for war crimes. That is how I will always remember this horrible, horrible man. Your spin truly makes me physically ill. You should all be deeply ashamed of yourself for surrendering any ounce of "journalistic integrity" you ever had. How is it you sleep at night?

    June 12, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Mothra Twins

    NO, people are just relieved that he's safely homebound and painting pictures of his feet instead of running the country into the ground.

    June 12, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Carol Besio

    I agree with John's and Witch Hunt's post, I will never be nostalgic about Bush and Cheney, they started a war for no other reason than to finish what the former President Bush started, by killing Saddam Hussein, than following up with over 3,000 young American troops and thousands of innocent Iraqui citizens. What a horrific and sad testament to the US, He was a terrible president and Cheney is the closest abominable person I can compare to Hitler!!!

    June 12, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Pete

    @smith,Hollywood,Micheal Moore,liberals are telling lies, conspiracies when you and I lived through the worst 8 years in our lives under Bush..If you didn't realize it than obviously your ignorent republican head was way up your nether regions in denile and I'd advise researching those facts you think are supposid conspiracies bud!!Unfunded wars in Iraq,Afghanistan created by Bushs lies murdering thousands of innocent military personnel and Iraqi citizens costing trillions,unfunded tax breaks that mostly catered to the 1%ers and unfunded Medicare Part D that along with the economic collapse of Wall Street,housing collapse and over 800,000 a month unemployed was the worst recession since the Great Depression..And bud where were you because it surrounded your delushional ass and you must've been in drug induced coma to say you weren't effected when everyone else in this country was!!

    June 12, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. COhighlander

    Fondly is a word not associated with War, lies nor death. Seriously. Who are they speaking of? I fondly remember GWBush dodge dip duck dive and dodging shoes and wishing it was me who threw them. I fondly think how true when I saw the bumper sticker " be nice to America or we'll bring democracy to your country"

    June 12, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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