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. Jaimie

    Nobody asked me my opinion. The person who started a war on the basis of Weapons of mass destruction. Where are they? And Now we are to look up to him? Sorry CNN you have gotten it wrong again.

    June 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. MACT

    If I am remembering Dubya more fondly it must be because my memory is getting bad as I age.

    June 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Al

    WillB
    If Bush had NOT been the worst President in US History, Obama would never have been elected once much less twice.

    Good point. We owe it to Bush for helping make history. Great job "W"!

    June 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Bret

    This is nothing more than media manipulation. It's like the game "Telephone" you learned in pre school. If you start with a basic statement on one end, the contrivance you gt at the other end is far removed from the original. In this case, it is hard to forget the lies about WMDs, the indecision when the towers came down, nearly bankrupting the country because of his pride to finish his daddy's war, creating more unemployment (he didn't, but his policies didn't help), he enacted the "Patriot" Act and his party created a divide that may never be breached. No matter who followed his Presidency, they were set up for failure. He entered the job set up to succeed, but left the country in tatters (that are only now getting sorted out... To some extent), he is, by far, the worst President to have served!

    June 12, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Tee

    You can skew any poll by where you choose to select the participants. If you take the poll outside a church in the bible belt and the next during a gay pride parade in a major city, you can almost predict the results ahead of time. For people who claimed to be someone who united people, not divided them, the Bush/Cheney years will remain a divisive point that split the country apart not into political parties but to political enemies willing to take down the country if necessary to prove their point,

    June 12, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Marc

    Its because all of his bad decisions have been corrected. Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy and the deficit are on their way to correction. He was a dismal failure as a President.

    June 12, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. wolf776

    Once again we can see that no one ever went broke because they underestimated the people. Bush is undoubtedly the worst president ever. The lies, the cronyism, the insane goal of bringing democracy to the middle east that doesn't want it, the fiscal irresponsibility... it goes on and on. And poor Obama was stuck cashing all the checks the George and Dick wrote.

    June 12, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Jim

    Are you kidding? The worst prez we ever had. History has already proven that.

    June 12, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Chip & Dale

    The only people who are supporting George & Dick are the ones who also made a fortune in those 8 years. George & Dick played cowboys at the expense of USA and our money. They alone put this country and the world into what it is today. George & Dick are the only ones who put this country into a 2.2 Trillion dollars for a war they did not win. What George & Dick have done to this country is see that you and me and your family and our families families will pay for that 2.2 Trillion dollars. It does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican WE WILL ALL PAY.

    I do not know of any other President who had a pair of shoes thrown at them. You all blame Obama but this is what was handed to him from George & Dick. George & Dick were the first ones to toss American's money when they saw what they had done.

    June 12, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Superman

    Nonsense! Just because he's old and retired doesn't excuse him of the atrocities that he did while in power!!!! He's no Christian!! He just used Christianity to try to whitewash his crimes! I'm sure most of the Bush Administration is destined for Hell! And the same is true for the Obama Administration!

    June 12, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Superman

    Nonsense! Just because he's old and retired doesn't excuse him of the atrocities that he did while in power!!!! He's no Christian!! He just used Christianity to try to whitewash his crimes! I'm sure most of the Bush Administration is destined for H.e.l.l! And the same is true for the Obama Administration!

    June 12, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Not sure who you polled but it wasn't the American people who lost almost everything because Bush went after the wrong terrorist. Because of him, parents lost their sons and daughter, child lost their mother and fathers. The American people lost jobs and their homes. They have also lost their faith in the government. Maybe u should go to the people and see how Bush did.

    June 12, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Mike12

    Dear Liberals. Learn to accept reality. What's happening now is "because of" Bush. It's also much, much worse than it needs to be "because of" Obama. That is all.

    June 12, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Rev. Rick

    I was a conservative Republican for most of my voting life (over 40 years) and not surprisingly, a conservative Christian, having been raised in the Bible Belt of the South. However, starting with the Bush administration I became embarras'sed to be known as either. Now, with the continued conservative/Tea Party attacks on President Obama (who I did NOT vote for) I have turned the corner and now consider myself a liberal Democrat. Do I think President Obama is a great president? No, but he's a better one than Bush ever was. If the masses are now "warming" to Bush as the article says, it's because they either have a short memory, or perhaps they are simply relieved that he can no longer run for the office of president again.

    June 12, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. rogue351

    Worst President and Vice President of all time. 2 wars, a major attach on united states soil. The Halliburton Scandal private army, and then to top it all off bush deregulates to the point of a finical collapse. No one is warming to him they are recovering from the shock and awe that was his disgracefully presidency. And what have has the GOP done since ? Everyything they can to stay with the ways of the Bush administration to spite the American people. And the Tea Party wants to go further down the rabbit hole.

    June 12, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Rev. Rick

    I was a conservative Republican for most of my voting life (for over 40 years) and not surprisingly, a conservative Christian having been raised in the Bible Belt of the South. However, starting with the Bush administration I became embarras'sed to be known as either. Now, with the continued conservative/Tea Party attacks (and conspiracy theories) on President Obama (who I did NOT vote for) I have turned the corner and now consider myself a liberal Democrat. Do I think President Obama is a great president? No, but he's a better one than Bush ever was. If the ma_sses are now "warming" to Bush as the article says, it's because they either have a short memory, or perhaps they are simply relieved that he can no longer run for the office of president again.

    June 12, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Revolution

    Bush and Obama. Same policies. That's why it's funny when someone slams one and not the other

    June 12, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. JPhelps

    Dubya was one of the worst presidents ever. No regard for the constitution or the laws of this country or any other country for that matter. We'll be paying for Bush's mistakes for decades.

    June 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Jim

    Nope, I still think he's a moron,had no business becoming President let alone getting two terms.In fact I'd say it's safe to say he was indeed the worst President ever and that includes Nixon.

    June 12, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Palin Power

    Dubya was truly the worst president ever and brought the GOP down. We need Sarah Palin as our next President. She is the savior of the republican party and is the only person who can cleanse and purge the taint of the Bush Clan.

    June 12, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. Tiredofbias44

    Actually Bush is looking good because the only things Obama has been able to do right were started under bush. Obama is the most incompetent, indecisive and corrupt Chief Executive we have ever had.

    June 12, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. M

    No – we don't need this nut ever again – 5 thousand soldiers died in IRAQ because of this idiot.

    June 12, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. yogi

    Bush should be in the Hague, he is a war criminal. The "warming up" effect can only be caused by those who are too dumb to understand what a complete disaster Bush's administration was.

    June 12, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Tim

    Bush kept us safe and promised he would. other countries did NOT act up like they do now. NOR DID HE GIVE our enemies FIGHTER JETS, TANKS, and billions of dollars. he wasn't affraid to keep our carriers in waters outside of Iran. as soon as Hussein moved them, Iran started acting up.

    Bush has also secretly met with the parents/families of fallen soldiers without media around. Hussein won't be anywhere near our soldiers without a camera around.

    was he the best president, NO. but he didn't have as much controversy as this guy does. and the war yes the war.... when 9/11 happened everybody saw red. who were out there in numbers protesting the war? were you? or were you saying lets get these guys and anyone involved in it.... you can't be for a war and then years down the road "oh hey this isn't right".

    what of Obama has he kept any promises at all ? our troops are still fighting, and in more places now then ever. Hussein is on record saying he'll look into any violated civil rights Bush did with tapped phone calls and what not.... oh wait a minute what's been in the news lately? oh yea our emails, phone records, and whatever else they want.

    how does a president and all his superiors not know of anything that's going on ? if i screw up at work, if you screw up at work, i'm sure your boss would know and you'd be fired. but this guys knows nothing. if i had a penny for every time Carney said i'm not aware of that i'd be living in the florida keys somewhere fishing for Marlin in $100k + fishing boat

    June 12, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Pander Bear

    Worst President ever. Will never "warm" to this disaster.

    June 12, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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