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. Rightster

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

    June 12, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. The Boot Dr

    To: GetaJob
    He acted on fraudulent intelligence that he and Cheney demanded be delivered to them to justify the Iraq war and also made a point of holding back our troops at Bora Bora when they knew where Osama bin Laden was holed up with their lame excuse of having the locals get him.
    Bush and Cheney are traitors to this country and should be dealt with on that level.

    June 12, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. downwithnazis

    People taking this "poll" were no doubt "pushed." How stupid can we be? This guy should be in prison along with Cheney and wolfowitz and Gonzalez and . . .

    June 12, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. sirock

    Bush maybe but lets face it this Prez makes Carter look like a financial genus and Nixon look honest.

    June 12, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. randyb12

    The "W" stands for worst president of all time. If he had dumped Cheney, maybe he'd have been decent.

    June 12, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Jade Tibbits

    He saved more than ten million lives in Africa with his AIDS plan for vaccines and the right medicine. By far, his greatest accomplishment and while also sending mosquito nets to millions in Africa because of the mosquitoes and malaria down there as well.

    June 12, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. DaveC

    After what we have received and seen from the Obama tenure so far, I'm surprised the poll didn't give George at least 80% approval. This current idiot makes George look like a genius. The only comparison that anyone can really do here is to compare the number of Obama lies and Scandals with Bill and I think Obama wins by a mile... Can't want for the current Buffoon to leave! Maybe America will return to a little bit of normalcy again without all the scandals and empty promises. How's that "HOPE and CHANGE" working for you America? Been over 4 years now and I am still hoping but Obama hasn't delivered a thing. He does have one constant, he votes "Present" on every scandal after reading the newspaper... hahahaha

    June 12, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. cold water

    I can never warm up to a guy that talked with a Tx accent, whose father was a president, who never jogged up the podium, who didn't stir my emotions with constant speeches, who never hung out with Jay Z enough, who got caught up in governing instead of fund raising 24/7, who made mistakes while governing instead of mistakes while campaigning and securing power, who was completely inept at winning over mainstream media, who never showed me his NCAA brackets, who never contradicting himself nearly enough, who just couldn't seem to fool me with semantics and failed miserably at pitting a nation against itself. YUK- who could miss that clown!

    June 12, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Todd

    Nixon's poll numbers went up 10 years after he resigned too – so what.

    June 12, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Socrates

    If the Americans miss this guy they must have serious psychological problems. There is no other explanation.

    June 12, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. jackm7

    You knew this was going to happen. Especially now that Americans are being introduced to the REAL Barack Hussein Obama. GW will look like an angel of light by the time Obama's term ends or he is impeached for his incompetency and scandal ridden administration. Gotta love the truth being brought to light! Love watching liberal loon squirm!!

    June 12, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. eulawynne kitchens

    I did not vote for this president either term and I think we are in worser shape than under the bush administration.

    June 12, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. stanknasty

    Compared to Obama, Bush is a genius... The Libs keep blaming Bush 5yrs later after Obaba has been in office... Obamba has no measurable results other than the killing of americans at Benghazi...commanding IRS targeting Conservatives...snooping on our phones and emails.... trying to arrest a journalist for doing his job.... oh yeah...this current president is a dream....NOT!!!

    June 12, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. J

    Geroge will be viewed by intelligent real Americans as one of our best. Obama will be in the dark cellar with Jimmy!!!!

    June 12, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. randy

    not now, not ever!

    June 12, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. charles

    Doesn't really surprise me to see GW's ratings going up. I told my grandson 5 years ago at the start of the Obama administration , the despite pres. george bush's low poll numbers, as time goes by, he and dick cheney will go down as a great pres. and vice pres. They will follow harry s truman who also had a low poll number at the end of his administration. Who's policies kept us safe after 9-11 ? And continue to this day, GW's policies. My grandson and I are conservative republicans and proud of it. charles

    June 12, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. stanknasty

    How's the current president working for ya? Americans got killed in Benghazi under his watch and he wouldn't send in the marines to help them while they were under siege for 7- 10 hours.... they could 've easily sent in help from Nato in the mediterranean sea... oh well I guess he knew everything about getting Bin Laden and hot dogged it....but these americans were abondoned....

    June 12, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Aerin

    "warm" to him? you gotta be crazy!

    June 12, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Did the public forget that at the end of his presidency before Obama was sworn in the economy was in a tailspin and Bush was nowhere to be seen. Obama was dealing with this mess before he was even president. Bush must have been off snorting a few lines or slamming back a few with Cheney. Also never forget the over 4000 American soldiers sent to a war that need not have been waged, Cheney made a fortune Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the military being used by corporate America. Goodbye W and Dick may you souls burn in everlasting HE..........

    June 12, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Richard Miller

    I WILL remember him for every dirty devious deed he did along with his puppy Dickless Cheney. This man belongs in history, right up there with Stalin, Hitler and the rest of civilization's rotten apples.

    June 12, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Paul H

    Who created and sustained the housing bubble and subsequent recession?

    The Republicrats of course! Just say no to Republicrat candidates whenever there is a viable alternative or don't vote at all.

    June 12, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Dan

    The only people that are warming up to GW are people with short memories or people that got rich off of the wars that he started. Time will not heal the horror that GW brought to the world.

    June 12, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. You've got to be kidding

    The revisionist history and turd polishing continues....

    June 12, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. fayray11x

    it is NOT possible to think better of W as time goes on because unless your head is further up your a... you have to see that anything he was involved with has been shown to be worse than we thought originally!

    June 12, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. jason

    Absolutely NOT true!!!

    June 12, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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