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. Courtney

    What a joke this article is.

    June 11, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. WMesser58

    It's clear CNN is a fan of bush but as long as I live I'll tell the truth about the war criminal and how he has made the US a fascist state by using 911 to take away the rights of Americans with the unconstitutionally patriot act which the mere name smacks of if you're not with us you're against us.

    June 11, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Gallup has gotten every poll wrong for 2 years. Now they want us to believe another republican poll? ha ha ha

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. EmBem

    Wow. Miss Bush? How? I mean ...Wow! Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and all of Wall Street. What do all these have in common?
    They're going to hell for what they did to Americans and the world. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less. Call it karma.
    Or God's judgement. Or the consequences to their evil tactics. Or pick one, including all three...

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Nik

    Most Americans can't remember what happened last week. You expect them to remember 8 years of this man's blundering?

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. OldSchool

    Oh jesus, you have to use the "Miss Me Yet?" headline that I see on all too many ridiculous facebook share-a-thon images that some of my mouth breather friends feel the need to promulgate.

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. bankrupt1

    did he use photoshop to paint barney? that was pretty good too.

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. darth's daughter

    I am still at "do you miss him yet" and it seems we have inherited phoney stock market bears cl for free political presents, the last 4.6 years which my neighbors with all of the free vehicles love!

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Steve R

    He is doing and saying in retirement exactly what he did as President. Nothing. Americans are a very kind and forgiving people. W will be treated kindly by most. But years from now, when historians have a chance too look back, they will see the two lost wars, the lives lost and the 2008 financial debacle and the recession that followed. He will go down as the president who would be fun to have a beer with. The rest will not be pretty.

    June 11, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. Rob

    People have a short memory I guess. This was the man who lead to the near financial collapse of our country. But now that things are slowly turning around, everyone is starting to forget that.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. como2

    Oh and Sal, lets not forget that Lyndyn Johnson lied about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and started the process that led to the needless 57,000 deaths, and the 450,000 (of which I was one) wounded in the Viet Nam War.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Steve

    Uh, no. Under Obama, The Great Recession has ended, the stock market has doubled, housing has recovered, and job growth continues. The worst thing anyone can say about Obama is that he didn't destroy every piece of legislation that was passed during the Bush era (or specifically, the Patriot Act). So no, please just go back into hiding.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Steve

    I like him hiding out and keeping to himself.

    I hope he continues what he has been doing.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Odo

    That only means that Americans have horribly short memories and lack the power to reason.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Sherri

    Not today. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. He was a bumbling idiot with the smarts of a first grader, at best. People are so ignorant to think he was a good President OR a good man. He was neither. The rest of the word was laughing at us for electing him. Don't forget, it was Bush that got us into the recession and the wars. Have you all forgotten that? He needs to go back under the rock where he's been living.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. rosethornne

    Just no.

    He and Darth Cheney are hoping if they just shut up and don't bring any attention, they'll just eventually get to quietly die off before anyone gets around to putting them on trial for war crimes.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. shistone

    On his worst day President Obama is 1000% better than num nuts W. This pos should have been impeached, tried and hanged for treason for lying this country into a senseless war and destroying the lives of 250,000 people. This poll just shows how stupid the American people have become.

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. Lisa

    Bush was/is a war monger,and he should be in prison..

    June 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. Marshall Kilman

    I love President Bush and his entire family who demonstrates class and refinement. I was very hopeful regarding President Obama, regretful he has not measured up to our high expectations. Regardless, we need to respect and honor our current President even if we disagree with him. Most of us I suppose are shell shocked over all these scandals. Things sure look to be unraveling, now Turkey is in turmoil. We all need to pray for our President and hopefully the other Presidents alive will help give me guidance and direction.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Namemike

    Who? Bush sucked

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. SkepticalOne

    The only thing I like about Bush is that he is no longer in office. Every time he spoke he made me ashamed to be an American.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. goblackhawks

    Very Much miss W ... Bush Derangement Syndrome still reigns among the left .. You poor fools I wish you would have actually looked into Obama's background .. he voted present 121 times .. Please tell me anything he did is a community organizer .. I live in Chicago and never heard of him until "The Speech" at the DNC ...

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Andy

    Well someone had to find out who put all that American oil underneath Baghdad. Georgie was up for the job.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Apex301

    Bush DESTROYED the US's reputation worldwide, DESTROYED the economy, gave the wealthy HUGE tax breaks, ran up the national debt, then refused to put it on the books so Obama would get blamed for it. All I can say is that people have VERY SHORT MEMORIES.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Seoras

    I thought that I'd never say this, but after a dozen years of Bush & Obama:

    I miss Bill Clinton.

    June 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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