George W. Bush's life, legacy
June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
1 year 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. CNNfriend

    Your getting sleepy...Your starting to like bush. CNN, "I'll tell you what to think"

    June 11, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Too Kewp

    Funny how this article makes no mention of Obama's plummeting popularity – right now Bush is more popular than the sitting President!

    June 11, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. steve

    Proof positive that 46% of the American people are stupid.

    June 11, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. us_1776

    Jesus H. Christ.

    If you say you are fond of Bush, just put the gun to your head and get it over with.

    .

    June 11, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Larry

    Sass2U I totally agree with you. To the Obama haters on here – One thing in this world that is true is this "no republican gives a rat's ass about you if you are not rich". Chisel that in stone and vote democrat for the rest of your life. The republican party deserves 1-2% of the vote – the rest of what they get is based on lies, hate, bigotry, and pure evil. If you really can't stand voting democrat then create a new party to vote for next election.

    June 11, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. oliver

    I love the caption on photo 18. It should read, "Bush announces war is over in Iraq. Iraq war goes on for another 8 years."

    June 11, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. chrisd

    That 49% must be out of their minds.

    June 11, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. PaulBoomer

    G W Bush was the worst president by far in my lifetime, which began with Truman, and I'm not a particularly ardent Obama fan either.

    June 11, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Hey, there are people who remember the segregation times as good ole times too...

    June 11, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. Phattee

    Everyone who's helping themselves to some nice heaping portions of Obama-bashing, remember this:

    Obama's poll numbers will also go up when he leaves office.

    June 11, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Liberals turning on liberals

    The more I learn about Obama the more I like Bush.

    June 11, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. dsangiovanni

    Problem is not liking or liking Bush, its about how they deceived everybody to invade Iraq and spend trillions of USA tax payer money , and the schemes used to bankrupt banks, solid institutions and the money gone, vanish..They are still laughing at US.....

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Someone

    The biggest problem is some of you still think the President of the US calls the shots. Look at it as really bad reality tv, it starts to make more sense.

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. BD70

    Short memories Americans have. I remember everything Bush did. When he was reelected my stomach sank. I like him as a person but as president he stunk. Say what you want but Obama has kept us afloat regardless of the tea party and Bush wars.

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Cabs

    So people in this country are delusional!!!!!
    Bush favorably??? Really????
    And look at all the ignorant Obama remarks. The world hated Bush and for good reason. He is the worst president we had in our lifetimes.

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. midwestmatt

    This is nothing new. It's not even news.

    Every POTUS that left with bad ratings is slowly liked more as time passes.

    Bush blew it. He lied about Iraq, he lied about WMDs and he never got OBL. And he left us with a GOP mess of deficit spending, unpaid wars and a horrible economy mired by debt,

    Go ahead and "like him more", it's no different than forgiving a cheating spouse after a few years except this cheating spouse played a critical role in killing more than 5,000 American soldiers and 100,000+ Iraqis.

    And that's why you should never forgive him.

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. Mark

    People have short memories. Not only did we have the senseless war in Iraq, lives lost for basically nothing, but Halliburton made a profit, but people lost everything when the housing market collapsed. People complain about the government monitoring their phone conversations??? Hey, it was the Bush Administration that created the misnamed Patriot Act, as if there is anything patriotic about spying on your own countrymen.

    June 11, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Topdecker

    1529 people surveyed, 1429 from Texas I bet.

    June 11, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Borderless

    History will not remember Obama kindly.

    June 11, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. Sam

    Bush and Cheney belong in prison for war crimes. Bush had one of the worst administrations in American history.

    June 11, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. JustMe

    No, I'm not. In fact, I might hate him more than I did when he was president. He can go rot for all I care.

    June 11, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. zeibodique

    The Republicans will be all over this like flies on >place word here< Throughout the elections, they said that polls don't matter. No matter how bad the Right tries to obstruct every tiny thing that President Obama does, I will NEVER EVER say that I favor a Bush on any given day.

    June 11, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Mark

    No news here really.

    The further Bush recedes into history's dustbin, the more I like him too.

    June 11, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. Anton Dubinski

    Yeah, starting to like the fact that he's becoming a forgotten nightmare.

    June 11, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  25. blf83

    Don't think so.

    June 11, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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