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. DougJ

    Well it appears 49% of the American public is completely clueless. Bush was the worst President in modern history. Deliberately misleading us into war is rather unique, and it sets him is a class all by himself. The US and especially the GOP really is ground zero when it comes to ignorance.

    June 11, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. yeah right

    Apparently the answer to the question "Is our children learning?" is NO.

    June 11, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Lauradet

    When you only poll in the Southern states in the backwoods, what do you expect?

    June 11, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Andrew

    My approval rating of the house, the senate, and the last 2 presidents is 0%.

    June 11, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Bill

    Hell, now that most people see Bush really is no different than Obama, of course their opinion of him will improve.

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

    I'm not and I never will. He did way too much harm to remember him or his administration fondly.

    June 11, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. Steve S

    Positive proof of the continuing dumbing down of America.
    George W. Bush was a silver-spooned failure in life, whose rich and famous 'Daddy', bought him everything and bailed him out of everything.
    That the citizens of Texas voted in this carpet bagger cowboy as Governor, is no surprise.
    That the nation put him into the WH for two terms, is a national shame and disgrace.

    June 11, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. Dave

    No, I don't miss him yet. Ask again in 20 years.

    June 11, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. herrick9

    Gallup? Sorry, not impressed.....

    June 11, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Mickey1313

    If gw bushs ratings are up, there its scientific evidence of the dumbing down of america.

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

    It does not matter who is in the white house. People really think the President is running the country really need to rethink things. Two party system politics is killing the country. Until they start doing what is best for the country instead of who is putting money in their pockets it does not matter if Bugs Bunny was in office. Bush's problem was smiling each time he was talking about the war on terror. Plus his face did not match the words coming out of his mouth and Obama can only read what is in front of him.

    June 11, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Evergreen

    Last week Gallup apologized for its faulty election polling and said they are working to improve their polling method. I see they still haven't corrected their system.

    June 11, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Derek

    For all you Obama-haters, please just move to Texas so you can keep getting f-ked by Bush ... just don't ask for our health care when you're covered by a nasty rash of stupidity...

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Steve S

    My Shetland Sheepdog, has a favorable rating also.
    Maybe the GOP can run him in 2016?
    He has a Maryland birth certificate, isn't gay, doesn't drink or do drugs (unlike Bush), and probably has enough white fur to carry the Southern states.

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. cal usa

    The poll must have included a fair share of Alzheimers patients. Perhaps if they asked the question, how would you rate a president who inherited a budget surplus and left with a huge deficit, got the country involved in an expensive and unnecessary war and had an economic meltdown that almost collapsed the economy we might have a better informed answer?

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. CJ

    I can't stand the man and i know plenty of people who feel the same way about him. Which makes me wonder about this poll. I don't think it is as accurate as you claim it is. I also have issue with you posting this crap now. Maybe you had an underling reason for it? If you had the results before the U.S. government surveillance programs came to be last week then why didn't you post this crap then? Gee wiz CNN what is wrong with you people? You like freedom or oppression? Remember PRISM is watching you too.

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Tony

    By the time Obama's finished, Nixon will be looking good!

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. Michael

    I'm sure he's a nice man in his private life, but I never have liked him as president and he never will. Most republicans still worship him and try to blame a lot of the problems he caused on our current president.

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

    I thought he was an amusing guy and a lousy president. Still think that way. People forget – Patriot Act with all the snooping provisions – came from Bush. Worst economy since the great depression came from Bush – cut taxes and start two wars you can't pay for. I think President Obama looks pretty darn good next to ol George W. and my bet is history will remember it that way, too.

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Magooser

    Oh H E Double Hockey Sticks NO!, NOOOOOOO!!!!! Bush =Evil Crap, his bad decisions and terrible presidency will be felt for many many years to come.

    June 11, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Nancy Stagner

    I can tell you one thing for sure – I was a lifelong Republican that voted for George W. Bush TWICE and I am ashamed that I voted for him – but more so for the Vice President he bowed to for 8 years. They are both a blot on the honor of the United States with the torture of prisoners and lies about weapons of mass destruction that has destroyed so many lives, and many other things. I vote Democratic now and have since 2008 and will continue to do so until the Republican party shows some signs of having a need to work for the good of ALL American citizens.

    I do not believe that the American people are starting to agree with the Bush/Cheney philosophy of governing.

    June 11, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. stank-eye

    IIf Carter has any approval rating at all this poll doesn't count.

    June 11, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Donnie the Lion

    Not I, and no one I know, have changed their opinion of George Bush.

    June 11, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Mahone

    If the press had found out Bush was behind the NSA scandal, or if the IRS had done what they have done while Bush was in office or if the Justice Department would have done what they did to the media under Bush's administration, all hell would have been unleashed by the media and Democrats.......in my eyes, these scandals make Watergate look pretty small in comparison.......

    June 11, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. NameScott

    No one asked me I still think he was one of the worst presidents ever. Come on people we need Hillary in 2016 to help clean the mess he has caused Oboma can't do it in 8 years with the party of NO

    June 11, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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