June 11th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
10 years 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.

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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. jgeek

    Great American commander-in-chief !!!

    June 12, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Dave

    For all those that think GWB is stupid, it is interesting to know that he scored higher on his SAT's test than Bill Clinton, and is also credited with a higher IQ than Clinton, per a MSN article last week.

    June 12, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Unknownian

    Yeah.....the warmth is my blood boiling!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. The Boot Dr

    Dad who was running the CIA made sure those SAT and IQ number where in place or those that didn't take care of it would end up in a Gulag or dropped off in the middle of the jungles of Vietnam.

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

    Absolutely the worst President we've ever had. From is drug and alcohol college days to the sleazy way he got into the Texas National guard during Viet Nam. His continued drug use in the Military and being AWOL, not showing up for flight physicals, dereliction of duty. So much to state so little room. George W. Bush should've been in jail not the white house.

    June 12, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. AgrippaMT

    This poll is dead wrong. Those of us who lived through his obscene Presidency will despise him to the end of our lives. He is a war criminal who belongs in prison.

    June 12, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. sammy750

    Not Really, ex Pres. Bush the traitor to the American people on 2 wars. He lied to the people and congress to start 2 wars. He should be tried, with Cheney, for TREASON, but Obama is letting his off.

    June 12, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. billy

    Bush should thank Obama. Now that the economy has turned around under Obama people just aren't as mad at Bush for his failed policies.

    June 12, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Larry in Houston

    """For the first time since 2005, more Americans have a favorable view of former President George W. Bush than an unfavorable view"""

    ask the guy(s) in Iraq – how favorable he was – when he got the "shoe(s)" thrown at him.

    I guess americans are more forgiving, for some odd, unknown reason, or another.

    June 12, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. Barbara Renick

    President Clinton left our nation with a budget surplus while GW ran us into debt that we were told at the time would take generations to fix. Nearly 3,000 innocent Amercan civilians died, many incinerated at the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, after which GW promised to get Osama bin Laden. He didn't. President Obama did. GW sent 4500 American military men and women to their deaths in Iraq, starting a war there on false premises.

    June 12, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. William C Dillon

    I can't believe that anyone would believe that this man was any kind of patriot. This man started a war that did not need to happen and killed thousands of men and women. He needs to be put on trial for war crimes and other criminal acts that are no secret to the public!

    June 12, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Jeemo

    GW could have been worse. He did support TARP and even the auto "bailouts". But he also reinstated massive budget deficits BEFORE 911. He couldn't have had a worse response to 911. He pushed for and succeeded in starting an frivolous war that cost tens of thousands of lives (mostly Iraqi) and hundreds of billions of dollars. I think he makes a strong case for worst president ever.

    June 12, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Larry L


    Great American commander-in-chief !!!
    Really... I'm hoping you're being sarcastic. Bush couldn't have done any more damage to our Armed Forces if he'd tried. We lost 4,500 dead Service-members and over 100,000 wounded in a pointless war started with purposefully falsified intelligence data. He ignored Gen. Shinsecki and Gen. Powell and listened to fellow draft-dodger his "Daddy" Dick Cheney. Our military is worn out and trashed and our V.A. will be overloaded for decades. Bush and Cheney should be in prison.

    June 12, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. george t hibs

    Hows that hopey changey feeling now? Just like Romney made
    Obama look good during the last election, people are starting to realize that GW made a lot more sense and was a far better leader than what we have now.

    June 12, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Bill

    If f you didn't like bush, take solace knowing that your children and grandchildren will judge him kindly – since they'll be getting facts from a history book instead of msnbc. Maybe they'll even think for themselves! To whoever said bush is a "war criminal" – seriously? If bush is a war criminal, what label do u apply to the current president? Thug? War lord? Oops, prob a missile heading my way just for typing that...sucks when potus declares a jihad on his detractors...

    June 12, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  16. Steve Hamilton

    By 2016, George W Bush will be in our schools' American History books as the worst American president ever, replacing Herbert Hoover who personally extended the Great Depression by at least 5 years. "W's"impact on our economy has caused millions of people to lose their jobs, almost cratered the country's entire financial system, and put in place changes that have added hundreds of millions to our borrowing. People who are now thinking warmly of him have been deluded one more time. The only good thing he ever did was to marry Laura.

    June 13, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  17. Jason

    for all you Bush haters are you going to hate this man for the rest of your lives. get over it . I don't like the current President and I'm counting the days til he's out of office,but I don't hate him. get a hobby read a book

    June 13, 2013 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  18. ohyoupeople

    @ Unknownian... so right!

    June 13, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
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