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. Robert G. Wilkerson

    Undoubtedly the people surveyed have a short memory. Little George was responsible for two unnecessary and unfunded wars,an economic recession bordering on a depression etc.,etc. I will never forget him neither will the families of over 100,000 people of Iraq who were killed,the families of 6000 dead Americans, and the some 33,000 Americans who were wounded or permanently disabled.

    June 12, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. John

    Which event brings back the fond memories?
    ......9/11?
    ......Shock and Awe?
    ......100,000 dead Iraqi's
    ......4,000 dead Americans?
    ......A switch from Sunni lead Iraq (Countered Iran) to Shia lead Iran (cozy partnership with Iran)?
    .....Real Estate Collapse?
    .....Wall Street Collapse?
    .....Drop in Dow Jones from 10,700 to 7,900 during GW's 8 years (loss of 4 trillion in Americans 401K's)?
    .....Doubling of our debt from 5 to 10 trillion ?
    .....600,000 jobs/month lost during end of 08 start of 09?

    Which of these do you miss the most?

    June 12, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Todd

    Compared to this current administration, which is not only the most corrupt and dishonest administration in the history of the United States, but also make Nixon look like a boy scout, Bush was a very good President, and just the one we neededin the aftermath of 9/11. Can you imagine Obama and Hillary apologizing to the terrorists for getting killed in the 9/11 destruction? Thank God Bush was President when it happened, and no Obama, Hllary, or even worse, John Kerry.

    June 12, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. hammer

    Obama is not a leader.If another 911 happen like in New York I would hate to see what he wouldn't do.

    June 12, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Poll Crap

    Proof all these polls are inaccurate. They are nothing more than the media lap dog's attempt to sway public opinion. We are all still waiting for Bush and his administration to be brought to justice for his war crimes and treasonous acts. Worst. President. Ever.

    June 12, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Charley

    Has anyone else noticed how a Bush critic actually cites policy which to base their opinion, then you have Obama critics who merely utter baseless blanket statements? It says a lot about conservatives – who obviously live in a fact-free environment. Frankly, I am tired of it. Bush started 2 wars that were unnecessary, created the evil spy network that is now in the news. Began the push to undermine our state and federal govts – sucking the energy out of our foundations – only to have greedy profiteers take the place of mostly efficient govt labor and practices. Let's not forget the economy that was shedding 3/4s of a million jobs a month at the end of the Bush presidency. The Bush "ownership" society that created a credit bubble that burst and destroyed home values and pensions. 50,000 factories that went to China while receiving HUGE taxpayer subsidies, undermining middle class families... on and on... it goes. How a majority of Americans now have a positive view of Bush is an amazing disappointment in my view of the American People

    June 12, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. George Dubya Bush

    My fellow Americans...praise me!!!!

    June 12, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Dave

    Never had an unfavorable view of President Bush. Can't say the same for Obama, who can't stop trying to blame President Bush for every thing, while continuing the same policies, perhaps even to an extreme, of the previous administration which he vowed to tear down on his first day in office. The only smart thing that the community organizer ever did was to realize the error of his campaign rhetoric and leave most policies alone while trying to take the credit for President Bush's policies.

    June 12, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Bush wouldn't look so good if Obama wasn't so bad. Just bad from the point of view of doing very little, he really is the ani-Bush. What we need is to thread the needle of finding someone active without destroying America or selling it to their buddies.

    June 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. aCriticalEye

    I dont have one good thing to say about Bush, Cheyney & Co. They nearly destroyed our country, and their cronies are trying their damdest to complete the job.

    No sir, I have absolutely NO fond thoughts of Dubya.

    June 12, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. what1ever

    How can you have a favorable opinion of someone that started a war for no reason. That's pretty much the worst thing that a human being could do, at least I can't think of anything worse...

    June 12, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Mike

    I've always had a positive view of Bush. He understood that the only way we can know the value of our eductation is to have some metric to test against. This isn't a radical idea... it's a logical one. As a computer programmer, when I finish coding a module, I don't just say "Well, it works, because I feel good about it." Instead, I devise hours of tests to run it through, to prove that it does what I say it does, and nothing more (or unexpected). Why isn't our education system the same way? Why is the idea of testing teachers, or testing students, such a horrible one? I admit the implementation needed improvement from the first past of No Child Left Behind, but the fact is, he was the only one going down the right path, and simply hadn't travelled far enough down that path before people decided his idea was somehow foolish and stupid, and that we should rely on gut instinct instead of objective measure to determine whether or not our children are receiving an adequate education.

    June 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. chip

    Obama = Bush on steroids. Everything bad Bush did, Obama has done more.

    June 12, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. what1ever

    How can you have a favorable opinion of someone that started a war for no reason? That's pretty much the worst thing that a human being could do. At least I can't think of anything worse...

    June 12, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. aCriticalEye

    Humm... something is going on here...

    Notice all the real names all of a sudden, hummm
    Then notice all the one word names, such as Mike.
    Then notice all the real one word names all LOVE dubya.

    No.....that is tooo far fetched. Look at any page and check the prevalence, its uncanny.

    June 12, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. bill

    Oh Please, who conducted this poll? Fox News? And did the poll sampling consist solely of Bush family members?? No president has ever screwed up America as bad as Dubya did, and we will be paying for his mistakes for generations to come.

    June 12, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. celusil

    War criminal who allowed 9/11 to happen, attacked the wrong country, violated constitutional rights of every citizen, wasted our surplus, and brought about the financial collapse of the entire world. sure what's not to lik

    June 12, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. PushingBack

    Nope, still don't like him. Check back again in 20 years!

    June 12, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. what1ever

    Obama hasn't been a half bad president, he did a better job than I thought he would for SURE! Bush on the other hand, is one of the worst human beings walking around on the surface of the Earth.

    June 12, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. marianne

    He's fine, as long as he's nowhere near the White House.

    June 12, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. politico123

    I love how people point out that Bush started 2 unjust wars, sent the economy into a death spiral, Partiot Act, etc... and then go onto say that it is not Obama's fault. True it may not be his fault by starting it, but tell me when he attempted to stop these issues? How long did the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continue after Obama took office? If he was so against the Patriot Act when he was campaigning in 2008, why is it still on-going? He may not have started it, but he is just perpetuating the stuff Bush began. Obama has been in office for 4+ years, ample time to fix the problems "handed" to him.

    June 12, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Erik

    Reminds me of a line from Torch Song Trilogy....its easy to forgive people when they're dead; they make so few mistakes...its easy to look fondly on the man now...he's not President anymore and keeps his mouth shut.

    June 12, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. darth's daughter

    FYI Pres. Bush the second term, was put in there by the Kennedy clan, who has a passion for doors and has never acknowledged there anything other than back door to banks, etc., etc.

    June 12, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. what1ever

    Literally not having a president would be better than Bush. Obama has done a great job.

    June 12, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. craig

    that person should be in jail along with obama.

    June 12, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71