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. Cyprustree

    I"m with Sass2b – they certainly did not ask me; I too used to be a Republican, but switched to Independent during Bush's "reign". Perhaps my memory is sharper than the majority of Americans, in that I have NOT forgotten that Bush drug us into an illegal war with Iraq, from which his pal Cheney made big bucks thru Halliburton. He lowered taxes for all his rich buddies and was easily the worst president we've ever had in our life times.

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Chedar

    Holy crap you must be kidding buy you know, American are so gullible they have memory of a Dodo anyway.

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. paul b

    The farther away his presidency is, the more we like him....

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Michael

    Oh my God, w was the worst President of my lifetime. His policies and lies almost destroyed this country. He will be fondly remembered by me when I fondly remember four spinal surgeries. This is absurd. Americans need to get their memories back. And as I recall, much of the right wing hated him too. The repugs need to get over themselves...as we try to get over the worst President ever.

    June 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. M

    Dog bites man = Not News
    Man bites dog = News
    Obama hated = Not News
    Bush beloved = Front Page News

    W. has a long way to go.

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. mindstorms

    Bush involved us in a war in Iraq at best based or bad intelligence and at worse an out an out lie. Thousands of Americans were killed and wounded and billions wasted looking for imaginary WMDs. In my mind it was the probably the biggest disaster of a foreign policy decision in the history of the United States. And who ended up the biggest winner of that debacle? The answer is Iran because they have influence in the area that they could only dream of before that dumb decision. In fact the Iranians should erect a statue in their country in honor of George W. Bush.

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Florida Atheist

    Bush was worst US President in history. A liar and war criminal. Nothing personal, just a horrid President. Cheney and Bush should be in jail.

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Inciteful

    78% of the 46% rating Bush "unfavorable" first asked the qualifying question, "who's he?"

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. history

    Rumsfeld may have said it best: "I give George W Bush a 'D-' and Obama an 'F'." Obama has been successful at one thing, he has made Bush 43 look better.

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Wow1234

    Ohhhh – so this poll is correct and accurate conservatives???

    By the way, I do NOT miss President Bush Jr.

    June 11, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Skip Jones

    This is a joke right?

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. January

    "Americans starting to like George W. Bush"....that's when you know things are bad....lol.

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Chris

    I do not miss George Bush or his crack team of country destroyers.

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. gary

    Bush blundered, was incompetent, appeared stupid, wasted $ trillions and many thousands of lives. How anyone can see him positively, I don't know.

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. byron13

    I love that photo!

    "What, me worry?"

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Anastasia Beverhausen

    If we forget the mistakes of the past, we're doomed to repeat them.

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Robber

    Wait, is there a reason for the poll? I don't care what the article says, who cares if he's popular, one day back in public speaking, the numbers will fall again, expecially among the evil doers, and nukeular lobby

    June 11, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. lawless4u

    All this proves is that the average person's memory is shorter than their...........

    Make no mistake about it, W is responsible for every single problem we are having right now.

    As far as another poster asserting that Obama and his far-left nonsense are the cause, well thats just ridiculous. Obama is to the right of many of Reagan's positions. Hardly far left.

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. filthy cur

    Oh, yeah...bring back the war criminal!!

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. gregor1971

    Obama is making Bush look better. It's the honest truth.

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. CarolSong

    I've never been so tired of the word blame. Couldn't stand the man or his governance. But must we have a bashing contest. I actually respect the office of the President. I'm jjust sayin'.

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. scootfl78

    Did Gallup mention that they only counted Republican answers? If you don't answer you're a Republican in their polls, they hang up on you after a "Thank you for your time".

    G.W. Bush is responsible for over a million deaths because of ignoring the memo about 9/11 and starting a needless war with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. FubarObama

    I would take twin George Bush"s than this baffoon in office now

    June 11, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  24. ladeeda

    I think hate him a just little less would be a better description.

    June 11, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. Big daddy

    I would take a Bush back in a minute. We would quickly return to economic prosperity now that we got all the Dems out of the houses they could not afford and back to renting where they belong.

    June 11, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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