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. JoJo

    GW Bush: "History will ultimately judge."

    So will God. Unnecessary war is the moral equivalent of murder.

    "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. ……It was right to resist the war.” Pope Benedict XVI

    “It is essential not to lose sight of the moral dimension of war. ……..The War in Iraq did not even come close to satisfying the requirements of a just war.” Ron Paul

    June 11, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    I wouldn't call 49 to 46 "fondly", but, by all means, troll on, Drudge ... Er, CNN.

    June 11, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. MJW

    Dream on! That's what the GOP were planning all along, but not everybody have short memory. All these fake unnecessary, fake scandals which all started in the GWB era. Intelligent people have more sense than that.

    June 11, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. DARNELL

    Cuz Bush didn't attack his enemies with the IRS, didn't spy on journalists.... man Obama is a THUG!!!

    June 11, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Barry Goldwater

    George Bush did more direct damage to this country than anyone in history with the exception of Emperor Hirohito in WWII. This includes Hoover (Depression), Hitler (WWII), Carter (blamed for everything), Stalin and the USSR, and the entire British empire in 1776.

    Think about it: if it weren't for just the political mess he left us in where everyone hates everyone else and we get nothing done (possibly the greatest damage of all?), the "Great Recession" was worse than the Great Depression in many ways, and was on it's way to being worse when the first stimulus checks were being written. (We left the Depression without a serious debt, but it took a huge expenditure to get us out of another one, and that's gonna hurt for some time to come. Necessary, but it's gonna hurt.)

    About the only thing he didn't 'cause that was a disaster was 9/11. There's less of his legacy left today than Carter's from 33 years ago...

    I'm an angry Republican for what that arse did to my country and party.

    June 11, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOREVER

    I definitely have a favorable opinion of BUSH...

    Oh wait a minute, you don't mean that bushy bush "down south."

    June 11, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Ulysses-AZ

    Typically... all most people really need is a little bit of historical perspective. While no President is perfect... in most cases, even with Nixon, time has a way of mellowing the opinions of all but the most ardent of partisans. The current administration is providing a LOT perspective in this instance with the myriad scandals flowing out of Washington lately. To be fair... perspective dictates this happens to most Presidents. Some are remembered respectfully, some fondly, some as empty suits and some with derision. In 10 years we will have a better read on our current President. Somehow, I don't think there will be too much middle-ground with Obama.

    June 11, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Barry Goldwater

    Completely forgot all the dead soldiers and wasted money in Iraq. Oops!

    June 11, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. skytag

    I always liked Bush as a person. He was just a terrible president. I think he always did what he thought was best for the country. His problem was that he was wrong a lot and he failed to address serious problems because he couldn't see them.

    Republicans, more loyal to their party than the country, will use every excuse in the book to give Bush a pass for his failures by blaming them on someone else. To listen to Republicans, not only did the buck not stop in the Oval Office when Bush was president, it couldn't even find the Oval Office while Bush was president.

    June 11, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Kathy from Texas

    Just goes to show what short-term memories Americans have. This is why we keep making the same mistakes over and over again!

    June 11, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. just askin

    does this mean the 4.5 year obama/messiah honeymoon with the lsm is over??? does this mean you have all come out of your coma and are going to start truthfully reporting on obama and his failures? i'll believe it when i see it.

    June 11, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. motorfirebox

    Wow. Americans sure do have short memories.

    June 11, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Dontbeignorant

    LMAO!! Really? he was the epitome of stupidity, the architect of bushism's.. What we need, maybe, is a poll that indicates how stupid our society is? wake up people bush was the worst puppet we have ever had presented to us.. At least Obama is a smooth talking puppet. ...you have to be if you want to move the ignorant masses..

    June 11, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Artemus

    Sal you was not born but how many killed in Korean War 55,000 by your daddy. President

    June 11, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. larry

    So whats not to like? He destroyed our ecomony. He destroyed out foreign policy. He invaded another country on trumped up intelligence. He is without a doubt the dumbest man to hold the office his Gerald Ford. On the other hand, he is my favorite war criminal.

    June 11, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Bob

    I don't view Bush favorably, but Obama has made me change my opinion that anyone would be better.

    June 11, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. saywhat

    A legacy of damages to the credibility, geo political standing and clout of this country. 9/11 & aftermath,housands of American lives lost, thousands injured and scarred for life, suicides, corruption & torture. trillions of dollars of our national treasure spent misconceived, unnecessary open ended wars. Carlyle Group, Haliburton,Blackwater, Abu Ghuraib on & on. tens of thousands of civilian deaths "mission accomplished', 'bring them on', on and on.
    The Bush era.

    June 11, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. DJCH

    To many of us, the record is already clear and will hopefully become clearer in the history books: He stole at least one election, probably two. He was a dangerous, violent, maniac, who had a "gotta please and outdo my daddy" complex, and a complete idiot. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he evaded service in Vietnam (it was shameful the way they demonized Dan Rather for trying to tell the truth about his service record). I will never believe anything other than the guy was a complete waste as President.

    June 11, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. katie mcgee

    Bush is a scoundrel. Bush represents the tyranny against which stood our Founding Fathers. Bush should be tried for High treason. I am not an Obama fan, I was a Reagan supporter.

    June 11, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. Deb in MT

    Good lord, but are we that forgetful? Has someone slipped GHB into our water?

    George W. Bush was a freaking disaster as a president–lying us into an unneccesary war; destroying our economy; destroying our position in the world (to name a few)–and we're starting to like him? Nearly every major problem facing us today can be traced to Georgie and Cheney's administration, and what's left usually harks back to the loveable old 'gipper'.

    How on earth can we be so thoroughly brain washed?

    Arrgggh! (Shaking my head in consternation...)

    June 11, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. OKfine

    What's this "you're" crap?

    Are you sure they weren't saying they approved of juniper or boxwood when asked what they thought of bush?

    June 11, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. Mark

    It's easy to like him since he never got a chance to implement his truly destructive policies such as privatizing social security and medicare. As for his other destructive policies with the pointless wars and fiscal splurging, well Obama is just carrying on that crown.

    June 11, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  23. rsmiff

    All those claiming this NSA mess is Obama's. Didn't they say it's been going on for over 7 years? That would put it into Bush's second term.

    June 11, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Johnny DC

    Bush was terrible. Get over it, Republicans. Obama is worse. Get over it, Democrats.

    June 11, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. rob

    No I'm not

    June 11, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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