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. David

    no president has done more to transform our energy policy for the long term whether in a good or bad way. During his tearm was the height of our dependence on Middle Eastern oil at around 40%. Now we are at less then 10%. Our energy policy looks drastically different (for better or worse) then mid-2005.

    June 12, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. JLS1950

    I remember "fondly" the day he left office – beginning AFTER Obama's oath. This is the "president" who even before taking office and while demanding the huge tax cut for the very wealthy, "prophesied" that America would go to war with Iraq (not al Qaeda) and that the first budget-surplus boom economy in many decades would soon go into recession. Then he made it all happen. "Mission Accomplished" was a good fit.

    I'd rather think "fondly" of Warren Harding!

    June 12, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. daisy in Atlanta

    NOOOOOOO. Bush junior is the most stupidest US president.... no fond of anything

    June 12, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Gill

    OMG are you kidding me?!?!?! There is absolutely not ONE favorable thing about this man. The American mind has become extremely fuzzy.

    June 12, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Galileo Galileo

    A lot that suddenly has hit the news Now was instituted during the
    Bush Administration, including the Patriot Act.

    June 12, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. mdod

    Everyone's overlooking the real significance of this story, which is that every presidential administration looks better in hindsight. Eight years from now people will be remembering the Obama administration fondly.

    (if it takes a name to get this comment posted, then fine; here's a name.)

    June 12, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Colorado

    This story comes out just as the latest member of the Bush family is launching his political career. Interesting timing.

    June 12, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. denise trudeau

    I stand my ground. The Bush administration was the worst in US history bar none. I have not forgotten that Bush and his cronies were the ones responsible for the world economic crisis, which has not been resolved yet. Europe is a financial mess thanks to Bush, the ecological environment is deteriorating, the rich have been spoiled rotten, race tensions have increased–it is appalling that that is the legacy of US politics at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. I am disgusted, especially when they try to say Bush was a good president as if people have no memory. Every time they try to do that I get mad and remind people of how much damage those right-wing conservatives have done.

    June 12, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. F. Lee Hall III

    I will never trust a Gallup Poll again. I don't know ANYONE who has anything good to say about this most horrible of humans. He is a war criminal, liar, and murderer. To believe otherwise is to have not done the research.

    June 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. mk

    We must be stupid. This man destroyed America, converted war on terror to war on Mexican and gave billions to Pakistan who were conveniently hiding Bin Laden. Brought in worst recession – destroyed families and gave Tax break to people who never needed it.

    June 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. herrick9

    Gallup reliable? Not so much..
    Build all the libraries you might care to build but it won't change the FACTS of what transpired during his eight years in office.....Ok, I'll cut 'em a little slack for the the 944 vaca days.....

    June 12, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. jp

    my how quickly we forget – look , I'm still reeling from the economic fall this lousy government put us in – I have to work at least part time out of retirement just to keep my head above water – I don't see any cronie politicians losing their homes or jobs and they never have been held accountable – we are a bunch of sheeple here – believe what ever the "supreme beings" tell you – its bs and pathetic

    June 12, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. eric

    I Love Bush!!!!! Makes Obama look like Hitler. GW was awesome and a real American, a real man – a cowboy even! Like apple pie.

    June 12, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. dennis

    Bush and all his evil, greedy cronies can rot in H-!!!!!! The only good Bush is Dead one.

    June 12, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. pprty

    I didn't read the story....just logged in to say NOT FOND, NEVER!!

    June 12, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Who ever conducted this Gallup poll screwed up just as they called the election for Romney. There has been a lot of stories trying to elicit a false positive response about Bush. Just curious of who were poll, maybe it was the same people polled during Gallup's debacle of the 2012 election.

    June 12, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. rl

    I won't be missing him or any of his administration except General Powell. I don't miss his Dad, his Mother, those bratty twins. or any of the rest of the self appointed Bush/Cheney royality. Thank God and grayhound (or AF-1/then the 747 after the Presendancy ended) he's gone.

    June 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Seth.W.M

    Get real people, they are both just puppets. With that said, I would rather see the Bush puppet up on stage than the guy we have now. Watching Bush read the teleprompters was at least entertaining. Bary just irritates the hell out of me.

    June 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. Shawn

    People see Obama is worse...didn't even think that was possible, but he continues to throw gas on a fire Bush and Clinton created.

    June 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. LisaMae

    George and Laura are true and genuine people! I voted for him both times.......I hope that we can some day we could have another president like him!! GOD knows we need a better president than Obama
    GOD BLESS AND HELP THIS COUNTRY FIND ITSELF AGAIN BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!!!

    June 12, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. WachetAuf

    We are all sheep with a myopic view of the world. We react to immediate circumstances which, we are told, threaten our survival and comfort. The ultimate arch of the universe is outside our frame of reference and mental grasp. It is easy therefore to worship men rather than reflect on matters of values and principle. It therefore matters not whether we admire Bush or hold him in contempt. What matters are things unseen to the common myopic eye.

    June 12, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. mike

    People remember him like they remember their delusional but friendly old uncle. At the same time, the guy did wreck our economy and create the entire Middle East quagmire we're now in...so...

    June 12, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Fact_Feed

    Once you take a Great White Shark, a virtual killing machine, to a taxidermist to have it stuffed and mounted, it is no longer perceived with disdain, fear and hostility. BUT that should not be misinterpreted to mean Bush's presidency is perceived more favorably. It doesn't mean the persona of his presidency has been rehabilitated – doesn't mean his presidency is perceived more favorably as "the good ole days" - not by a long shot.

    June 12, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. Anonymous

    The only possible reason for this is that he has stayed out of sight and doesn't interfere with the current administration, as opposed to Cheney who opens his mouth anytime he can. I'm sure if most Americans are asked to rate him based on starting the Iraq War or not going after Bin Laden and having 9/11 happen on his watch, the favorability would be much less. Unfortunately, there are too many that conveniently forget the big stuff!

    June 12, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. TomGI

    The poll is skewed. No doubt commissioned by GWB's reinvention public relations company. Most of the 1529 were probably Texans.

    June 12, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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