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. Joe

    Yeah Tim we just have to deal with the condescending smirk Obama uses when someone disagrees with him

    June 11, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. bill

    dubya started a unilateral war with Iraq based upon falsified evidence killing thousands of amercian soldiers and coalition partners, he failed to dedicate enough resources in Afghanistan to kill or capture bin laden, Dubya's economic and fiscal policies drove this country into the great recession, he blew a public surplus left over from Bill Clinton's term and drove this country into so much debt my grandkids will still be paying for it, the financial, auto and mortgage sectors came to a near collapse due to bubya's severe deregulation policies, his trickle down economics created billionaires of executives from failed and insolvent companies while line staff and smaller shareholders suffered. Dubya almost killed this country and he is and always will be one of the worst presidents America has ever had! Amen

    June 11, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Mark

    Decades later, I still see Carter was a weak president. I can't think of a single lasting mark on the country.

    June 11, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Andy H.

    Uhhhh... No, I'm not.

    June 11, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    History is going to be much kinder to Bush, than the public has been.

    For the most part, Bush was simply maligned by Obama, with lie upon lie upon lie, to win election. Stupid people, believed the lies, and now they are beginning to get their eyes open.

    June 11, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. cpc65

    What? Did we finally find those WMD's that a couple thousand US soldiers died for?

    June 11, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Daniel

    Yeah right.

    June 11, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. bill

    The only favorable memory I have of Dubya is that he is no longer in office! Thank God!

    June 11, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. tkindsm

    Bush wasn't the smartest President in history but compared this current administrations corruption Bush looks like a saint

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Brad

    Poll funded by the Republican party and Jeb Bush...
    Have you noticed that most failed presidents have a library constructed in their honor. Almost so they can rewrite history with authors who write books with positive things about them in it.. This is such crap! Worst president EVER! Cheater. liar. murderer. All around piece of crap! Not only do I still feel very un-favorable about this idiot, I wish he were in prison. No one man has ever done more harm to the US than George W. Bush.

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Sanfran

    Take Bush of this quasi socialist marxist control freak in a heart beat. He makes Nixon look like baba in arms with his lies and deceit. Have you ahd enough of this administration yet? Are you convinced their only loyalty is to themselves – they are in effect a country unto themselves

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Naaaaaaa

    "According to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday, 49% have a positive opinion of the two-term Republican president, while 46% feel the opposite."

    "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."

    Um.... that means it could be equal.
    Slow news day?

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Lori

    liked him then – like him now

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. jrzydvl

    I guess the more Obama acts like BNush, the better we like Bush. Actually, Obama put the Patriot Act on steroids, that nasty Act the Dems hated.

    June 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. don jones

    Mr. Bush is very fortunate to reside in a country that forgives it's own war criminals.

    June 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. User-301

    I started liking Bush the day he left office and the longer he stays away from politics the better I like him. Did he screw up the country or what!. This just goes to show that just because you stole an election does not mean you were the best criminal for the job. I have to give bush some credit because he did what he wanted to do no matter what anyone said. Sometimes that's the way you have to be in order to move up your ladder and stay focused with your agenda. Looking past his flaws as President, Bush really gave the world some valuable ideas as to what one must do in order to succeed.

    June 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Jon

    It's easier for Dems to view him more positively now because they're finally realizing that a lot of Obama's policies are more of the same, or worse.

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  18. Tony

    It's all relative. Obama sux, so anyone looks good by comparison. By the time Obama's term is up, even Nixon's poll numbers will be soaring!

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. bjnj

    Bush was a commander in chief, not a pretty rock star that we have now. Obama is like the western sets in movies. No substance. Look at all the crap going on in Obama's administration. His defence. Not being aware. He more aware of the basket ball scores then of the state of the union. Oh yes...Obama is pretty. Strikes a great pose but is shallow.

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. harrisonhits2

    Remember Bush fondly ? What, the lies to start his illegal war, the war crimes, the torture, then transfer of vast amounts of wealth to his and Cheney's cronies, the list goes on and on. The only thing I remember about Bush is that he and many in his administration should have been put up against a wall and shot for treason.

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. haha

    Maybe republicans are always on Obama and his administration because he runs this country the way it is not supposed to be run!

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. oldowl

    Yeah, I have Bush right up there with Richard Milhous Nixon by now. They actually have alot in common. The world would have been a better place without their existence in it.

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Deathstalker74

    Well, Obama's favorabilty ratings are high even though he's proven to be a corrupt hypocritical liar, so go figure. Most low information voters are horrible judges of character.

    June 11, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Sal

    g. bush wasn't the brightest president that this country has ever had! 

    June 11, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Just Me

    I liked like Bush; he did not send the IRS after me :-)

    June 11, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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