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. W.G.

    Bush is responcible for the deaths of thousands of our soldiers !! He´s a lying thief that should be
    in prison along with his EVIL MASTER CHENNEY !!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    President Bush Great President, President Obama the worst human being ever to become President. Only three plus years until this bad nightmare is over.

    June 12, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Pam O

    Favorable toward him as a person? Or toward his presidency? I have nothing against him as a person, he seems nice enough, if a little dumb. I detested him as a president, and I dislike the legacy we have now due to the hawks he had in his administration that he didn't have the backbone to keep in check like his dad did.

    June 12, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. A True Conservative

    Wow Charley!! What planet have you been living on? Conservatives have been trying to shine the light of facts on the current administration since 2004 yet liberals refuse to consider the facts. This President is very corrupt and obviously a product of the Chicago political environment. He surrounds himself with former Weather Underground people. He "writes" an "autobiography" that, it turns out, is not accurate. He tells the world he will close Gitmo, we can keep our Dr's and pay less for health insurance under his plan. He says that he will not spy on Americans – and then does the exact opposite. How blind can you possibly be? He is either a liar and political hack – or stupid. Considering he sat in a church for 20 years and didn't know what the preacher was teaching – maybe he is the latter. We'll never know based on his college work – which he refuses to release.

    June 12, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Doug Blackman

    If opinion is softening on W, it's only because some people have forgotten about the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the way his administration tried to sell it as "good for America".

    I am pretty sure this same group of people think Sarah Palin is a born leader, and that 'Dancing with the Stars' is entertainment . . .

    June 12, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. A True Conservative

    what1ever – so how do you feel about Hillary? Kerry? If I remember correctly (and I do) they along with Bush believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But hey, don't let little things like facts get in the way of your opinion!

    June 12, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. reality101

    Hey Chip! You are 100% in your statement that whatever bush did bad....Obama has done worse....and worse...and worse. None of his promises were backed up or fulfilled. Typical corrupt, atheist Illinois politician. Their palms are greased more than 3rd world countries....ie: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China. Let's make it hard to get handouts from government. Make it hard enough and maybe some of those takers will finally give up and say...."hey...it is easier to go get a job and work to get my money".

    June 12, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Frank

    Hey true Conservative – Maybe you should do a little research before you paste broad strokes of our President. Half of you you have posted are lies and the other half is half-truths with little to no consequence. Quit spouting your talking points force fed you by your bettors.

    June 12, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. freethink er

    as a leftist drive-by media outlet, I had to laugh at your story headline. you're sure afraid to use the word "like" aren't you? you think by using the word "fond" or "fondly" it lessens the caring that people have for Bush? weird. not at all transparent much, are you? funny.. just like Osamabama

    June 12, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Larry (PA)

    The worst president in in my lifetime.

    June 12, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Max

    When I was a kid, I used to parrot the same crap I'm reading below, but looking back, George Bush was actually a very good President given the circumstances. Despite fighting two wars, our economy was doing fine up until the Dems took control of congress in '07. Iraq is much better off now than it was before, we are seeing a collective social effort to spread democracy in the middle east. Al Qaeda was dismantled before Obama even set a foot in office. Bush was a great president and I am sorry I was not able to appreciate him during the time he was in office.

    June 12, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. boyamidumb

    this fool did more damage to this country than anyone in my lifetime. Warm to him? The only thing I would like to warm to him is a chair plugged into several thousand volts. No doubt he was a dupe put in office to distract us all from the real war criminals and profiteers, but he knew what was going on.

    June 12, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. RF Burns

    Almost as big of a socialists as Obama.

    June 12, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Obama is making Bush look like the greatest president ever.

    June 12, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. cmmls

    Now that liberals are seeing Obama behave in exactly the same way Bush did it is harder for them to dislike him. And like Obama, Bush was a pretty likeable person – maybe not the brightest, but likeable.

    June 12, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. jdwilker

    Oh please, is our collective memory so short that we've forgotten about him lying to get us into a unjustified war resulting in tens of thousands of casualties and upsetting the political landscape in the Mideast so that it will affect us for generations? Or how about driving our economy to near-depression levels with his utter incompetence? If stupidity were a virtue, we'd be nominating him for sainthood.

    June 12, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. John M

    Well, no. No I'm not warming to him. He is a nitwit.

    June 12, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. rj1340

    Dubya's got two things going for him:
    1. He's not president anymore
    2. Our Teabag, racist Congress is more divided now than when he left office

    June 12, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Laurie in Spokane

    Who'd you pay to come up with this silly idea that we're remembering Bush fondly now.? Not anyone I know. Worse president we've ever had, which brought this county to the edge of collapse financially.. I firmly believe he belongs in Jail along with Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld.

    June 12, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Jack Crowe

    Warm up to him? You kidding me? He is supposed to be in prison, along with Obummer and the idiots in this failing republic!

    June 12, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Motoxdoc

    No, no, no.....we DO NOT remember our selected President Bush fondly! He's remembered as an embarrassment!

    June 12, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Cheetahe

    How quickly people forget the major shortcomings of his presidency? The failure to avoid the 9/11 attacks, the unnecessary war in Iraq, the strategic blunder to let Osama escape when he was surrounded in Tora Bora, the housing bubble and the economic meltdown a year before the end of his tenure.
    If we had hearings about this man and his neo-con advisers his ratings would not have been that favorable at this time.

    June 12, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Amazed at the duplicitousness

    "jdwilker... upsetting the political landscape in the Mideast so that it will affect us for generations..."

    Did you seriously just say that???

    I forgot how calm and peacful the middle east has been for that last few hundred years. Especially the serene place it has been for the last fifty....

    How much has the current POTUS meddled in the middle east (Excluding Iraq and Afg. if you want to say that carries from GWB)? They all do....but your myopia is astounding......

    June 12, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Richard Braswell

    Trying to wag the dog...right? George W. Bush is a fool and was an abomination as president, I'll change that when donkeys fly.

    June 12, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Cayce

    The first problems with polls is that they represent only those people inane enough to submit to being polled, which (I sincerely hope) does not represent the greater part of our intelligent population. That being said, there is a direct correlation between an American's intelligence and his/her disgust for this man: the lower the person's intelligence, the more favorably Bush is regarded. This man is a criminal who participated in the killing of more than 3,000 US citizens on 9/11 so that the U.S. Military Industrial Complex could justify its existence with a new enemy, since the end of the cold war eliminated our old ones. The new enemy is the best one yet: the ever-elusive, never-ending war on terrorism. The only reason Bush, Cheney and all the others haven't been prosecuted is because the group they are a part of owns the government required to do that job.

    June 12, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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