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. That Mac Guy

    You said it best Walt H!

    The only fond memories I have of this Buffoon I regretably voted for is him Tap dancing on the WH steps, him trying to open a locked door after a chinese press conference, trying to play the drums and dance with the natives in Africa and last but not least him getting shoes thrown at him! :D

    Other than that, GOOD RIDDANCE AND DON'T EVER LET A BUSH GROW IN THE ROSE GARDEN!

    June 12, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. aCriticalEye

    Where are those "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" again? "Stay the Course", he told us while Cheyney's very own company Halliburton got numerous no bid contracts for two unfunded wars which we are paying for today. Thousands of us service members killed? Yea, I remember Bush and Co, but not fondly!

    June 12, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Sasha

    Looking forward to the inevitable GOP embrace of Obama as they did Clinton.

    June 12, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. The Howman

    This fool will always be a fool as far as I'm concerned..If it wasn't for Bush invading Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein (the only person that kept Iran under control) just to avenge the assassination attempt on his father we wouldn't be having a major problem with Iran. Iraq and Iran would still be doing what they do best killing each other instead of us.

    June 12, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. John/kc

    Bush singlehandedly almost brought down the whole banking system of this country. If that had happened, we all would have been packing with guns as we went to the grocery store or ventured out for anything. Money would have been worthless, and you can imagine the looting everywhere that would have followed, just because republicans wanted little or no regulation of wall street and the banking industry.

    June 12, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Sussay

    Ms. Killough, just because you WANT this to be true, doesn't mean it is. Dubya can't disappear enough for me.

    June 12, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Mischiefpwns

    Who exactly are you polling is the question I want answered. Anyone who knows about the crimes the Bush/Cheney governments committed are wondering more about why they aren't in prison rather than if people like them or not. Sure on the surface they seem innocent enough but that is just the facade the sheeple get to see.

    June 12, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. The Boot Dr

    dpkirpy and Jane Ellis
    First I AM NOT a liberal or a Democrat. The world and economic damage Bush and Cheney did is what Obama has been trying to clean up from day one. The Republicans and the LOW LIFE Tea Party people have done everything to interfere with anything and everything to prevent that from happening due to them and their rich corporate friends would have to start paying their fair share of taxes and a livable wage to their employees.
    If Lincoln was alive today he would have all of these people in jail or lined up and shot for treason and or corruption.

    June 12, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. G.L.

    Seems like it took the systematic dismantling of our free market health care system, crushing increases in debt, inflation, food stamp dependency, and joblessness, as well as the naked politicization of every nationally-reported gun crime to make people take a step back and realize that maybe a couple sandbox skirmishes on the other side of the world were small mistakes by comparison. Bush's wars, either in concept or execution, were undoubtedly mistakes. I think this poll is validating what I said to friends on January 20th, 2009: just wait until the marxists come for your very livelihood. You'll be begging for that inarticulate cowboy to come riding back in on his horse. I certainly miss his charm and love of country more than I miss his decision-making, but it all looks like solid gold from the mire of our ever-devolving banana republic.

    June 12, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Jack

    His poll numbers are rising because Americans are comparing him to current President. I vote for Bush anytime over Obama!

    June 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. merckx

    They just polled people from North Dallas and the SMU region, real america is not warming to this dictator. Maybe they polled Midland too and possibly Amarillo

    June 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Drager

    I, and my family, are NOT starting to remember Mr. B fondly and never will.

    June 12, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. GetaJob

    The reality of the entire WMD argument is that Bush acted upon the best intelligence that was available at the time. You or I have the benefit of criticising in hindsight because we were not the ones responsible for the decision. Its easy to point fingers at a guy who did what he thought was best in the wake of 9/11. I would ask to look at yourself and decide what you would do under the same circumstances with the same information. And for heavens sake, the libs who actually believe the conspiracy theory that we attacked ourselves on 9/11 are the most simple minded, unemployed, illumanti believing, and jobless fools that America has to offer. Go sit around all day, occupy wall street, and live off of everyone else's hard work.

    June 12, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Alan

    Why is CNN telling us if we are warming or not, pushing him on us with your dirty agenda to further destroy this country. Go away people don't want to become impoverished

    June 12, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Now way, now how, NEVER. We're still living with his messes and probably will be for decades to come - unless Obama gets ABSOLUTE VETO power in the 2nd half of his second term. That's why the repubs are coming to no conclusions, and doing absolutely nothing until after the elections next year.

    Vote the baggers out and get as many moderates as we can back in the House and Senate.

    June 12, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Veritas Lavinga

    Man I love President Bush.

    - Won the 2000 election by a hair.
    - Went golfing instead of taking "Bin Laden determined to Strike America" seriously
    - Works for the same shadow organization that caused 9/11. Energy Weapons used. Dustification of 1,2,7 WTC.
    - Use HAARP to cause Hurricane Katrina

    Yep, the above is all fact based. And yet, with George W Bush, America was still the America of the 90's. Prosperous and sweet, until the Demorats got in 2007.

    June 12, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. theycallmemrchase

    This is just the standard, short-term-memory revisionism that occurs with these vermin. Just like that little evil imp, Harry Truman. Conniving, weaselly, corrupt, power-starved and ultimately worthless human beings- the both of them. As long as I have the ability to peck this keyboard, I will not let America easily forget the human and political carnage caused by Cheney/Bush.

    It boggles the mind how a little economic hardship, caused by this very imbecile-Bush, can seemingly mitigate all the damage done in those 8 very long years.

    June 12, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Tell that to the kids he had killed in Iraq when his buddy Osama was hidden safely away in Pakistan. I will always believe the missing money went to pay Pakistan to hide Osama for the Bush family. After all, they provided safe air travel home for his family on 911. Remember? It was the only plane allowed to fly, other than him running around in circles on AF-1 all day.

    June 12, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Larry M.

    It was a dark day for America the day George Bush became president. There is absolutely no love in my heart for this wretch of a man.

    June 12, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Rohit C

    Worst. President. Ever.

    June 12, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. dave

    It's the economy stupid. Bush's sucked.

    June 12, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. bawanadick

    i will never warm up to this idiot and i am from texas,,i am embarrassed that he and perry are from here,,,both dumb as rocks,,shows you just how stupid people in texas really are

    June 12, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. cindy

    I fondly remember that he is no longer president and Chaney is now inconsequential. (But possibly guilty)

    June 12, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Rightster

    I'm sure the Iraqis are starting to arm to Saddam too.

    June 12, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. bawanadick

    the only bush i trust is my own

    June 12, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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