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. MennoKnight

    All I have to say is Weapons of Mass Destruction?

    June 12, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. tlight131

    This is stupid. All I need to remember when I look at GWB is that he erroneously invaded a country and then lied to the world about his intentions. Also the liberal media is very conservative, but most Americans don't make their minds up themselves they let fox news and rush Limbaugh tell them what's right. But the last time I checked Rupert was an ardent supporter of the conservative party.

    June 12, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Libdumb

    Compared to the ignorance of Obama and his total lack of leadership, Bush is an Einstein and the second coming of MacArthur.

    June 12, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Mike

    What trillion dollar war did Obama start based on lies? What financial melt down did Obama start? What healthcare for children did Obama veto? What 9/11 disaster did Obama sit and watch dumbfounded? When did Obama let Bin Laden slip away? When did Obama jump out of a jet and say mission accomplished only to then see the war kill thousand more US soldiers? When did Obama push through a tax cut the nation could never afford and sell it as job creation? Nope all you haters out there Obama is a good president and George W. Bush is and was an absolute disaster.

    June 12, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Angie

    Now that the American people had a chance to compare him with Obama, there is no question that Bush is going to come out ahead, in terms of character, honesty, and love for this country, Bush wins hands down.

    June 12, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Oh Glorious

    The (desperate) rats are coming out of their holes. Give'em a glimpse of something, anything remotely positive they can cling to and they gobble it up like poisoned cheese. Truth be told, the poor babies haven't had much to cheer about lately, McPalin and Barbie and Newt and rimney and the rickies and John Boehring... oh well.

    June 12, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Indiana Voter

    It looks like the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" is still affecting a lot of the liberals on this website. A positive story is posted on CNN about Bush, and everyone uses it as an excuse to spout their hatefulness about Bush yet again. People really are starting to miss the former President after having this current President. Obama has made things much much worse, and more divided politically than any other President, even if you refuse to believe it because of your partisan hate.

    June 12, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Bnutty

    GOP,Witch hunters,witch doctors or both:

    clearly you are retarded. Have you noticed the deficit hike since 2009? Seems like democrats just want to feel like they are different from everyone else... they feel they are ahead of the curve and they will let you know it, because you can see they never stop crying and comign up with stupid nick names for people. They refuse to look at cause and effect, and obviously numbers. They completely refuse rock solid figures. They just talk trash all day long and they won't admit when thier newly found god. Bush was not great at all, but I would take him over Obama, because Obama's tax and spend policies kill samll busniess and our economy, and Bush did not treat american taxpayers like villians.

    June 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Flargus

    That's because people have a memory of less than a year and an attention span of 12 seconds now.

    June 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. fromda

    Please....CLINTON allowed 9/11 to be planned, FOR YEARS, under the HIS Admin. and did absolutely nothing!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. al

    Not me. I still feel the same way about him I have since he left office. He did some good things but did more harm than good in his second term, darned near bankrupted the country and will still go down in my personal history as one of our worst presidents.

    June 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. LtButRt

    His time in the White House amounts to pure negligence!

    June 12, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. wordwench

    Re read this, America:
    "The survey was conducted entirely before reports emerged last week of U.S. government surveillance programs, some of which began under the Bush administration."

    June 12, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. TravisL12

    Article Title: "You're starting to remember Bush fondly"
    I'm not.

    June 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. jerr

    He broke this country

    June 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. leelanau_bear

    People on the left hold steadfastly to the lie that the economy was Bush's fault, and not their own, with the Community Reinvestment Act of Bareny & Chris......Bush's failure was trying to govern, and compromising with these half-wits. How much further do we go blaming the banks for simply doing what they were charged to do, which was make crappy loans fast, for which the government pledged to guarantee?

    June 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Ima

    Bush was the worst president in modern history and possibly the worst in history.

    I will NOT forget what a horrible president this man was. Evil.

    June 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Paul46

    NO! I do not remember Bush fondly. He's the dork that got us into this.

    June 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Framco

    George W. Bush is the reason Obama is the President.

    June 12, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. NOT MY CHAIR

    its amazing how short the American memory is... bush isn't the worst president in history (Reagan) but he is bad enough to make Obama look good

    June 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. lottie

    short memories . anyway the GOP has very selective memories. They don't seem to remember they voted for all this servaliance stuff. No they are outraged. Give us all a break.They should go the same way as the bush.

    June 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. wordwench

    Republicans screaming about anything that will keep Democrats from focusing on their jobs, Democrats doing their damnedest to keep Republicans out of office instead of doing their jobs. Like babies in a sandbox, pointing fingers at each other "you're bad!" " You're worse!" I'm fed up with the whole lot of you.

    June 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Joanie768

    I don't know where you people are getting your poll numbers about missing Bush....you are utterly crazy if you think WE the PEOPLE miss that idiot...He is going down in history as the worst President the U.S.A. has ever had. Come on. Everything was the worst when he left office...We are still trying to get from under all his messes and WE the PEOPLE are finally getting some progress....but I will never agree with you that WE are missing Bush.

    June 12, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. TeddyN

    I look at his father with a great deal of respect, however, i look at him as the worst President in history and has the blood of thousands on his hands. He was more concerned about chopping logs on his ranch than running a country. As a disabled Veteran i thought it was disgraceful for him to proclaim "Mission accomplished" as Service members were being killed and injured. I will never have respect for him at all

    June 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. KBNJ

    As a life-long Republican whose only Presidential vote against a Republican was Bush the 2nd time, I think this has more to do with Obama than Bush. I don't think Bush was a bad person – just a bad President. Obama is FAR worse, unfortunately, and by comparison Bush looks good.

    June 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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