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. pa

    Two of the worst presidents back to back....the first is gonna come out on top

    June 11, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. just sayin

    Woman In California
    The LIES you tell CNN.

    need some more koolaide sweetie??? reality is a very harsh environment.

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. D.C. Dave

    @ Tampa Tim "Fortunately for Bush, Obama prevented the complete destruction of America."

    You can't be serious!?

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. don

    bush, the worst president ever. carter second.

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. Educated

    zero dark thirty, anyone? cnn, have you been drinking Murdoch Stream Media's juice?

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. BO Lies

    Compared to the the arrogance and hatred of the Obama's – Bush was a wonderful president.

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Lulu

    Never fondly, always embarrassing.....Obama has more intelligence, integrity, charisma, kindness and I am so much prouder to be an American. I cringe when I think of Cheney shooting his friend in the face, Bush and his phony "Mission Accomplished", the wars in Afganistan and Iran (and NO weapons of mass distrurction), the Wall Street disaster, Katrina and the endless cries of terrosim that gave the Tea Party its mouth. Please, history will NOT be impressed with the first decade of doomsday paranoia brought to you by the Bush Administration.

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. NameTodd A

    W American hero, true class, never defends himself from the arrogant crybaby blamer Obama, only reason Barry the Muslim is president is because he's black, so the libtard media let's him lie, cheat, spy, coverup

    June 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    -you remember this idiot, after messing this nation to ground level–you are an idiot or brainless racial thug of GOP.

    June 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |

    People who still support Obama are imbociles... all the lies and promises, transparency???? People are in a trance. Obama has broadened the Bush agenda/doctrine.

    June 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Guy

    Gee whiz, maybe Obama ain't so cool, huh?

    June 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. BO Lies

    At least we had jobs under Bush.

    June 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. Anthony in California

    "just sayin
    that's what 5 years of your successor being a total failure will do for your ratings."

    So lets go back to where Bush left the country when Obama took office shall we....
    According to you, we are NOW in WORSE shape...

    Doesn't resemble the reality of Obama's Presidency at all does it? (even with Republican sabotage and obstruction)

    JustSayin... quit your lying and selective memory...
    GWBush was a flat out "Carter-esque" FAILURE.

    Obama.. is not.

    June 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. billfit

    "I see the GOP's brainwashing has finally worked. I know 4500 American families whose kids died for nothing don't like him."

    Those 4500 families can blame the Democrats for their deaths, since the wars wouldn't have happened without all the support and votes from the Democrats.

    June 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh dear. I really do think I have seen it all now. Thanks, but no thanks, CNN. While it has been a fun ride, I have had all I can stomach.

    June 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. i can only say one thing

    This poll was obviously done by a bunch of racists.

    June 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Aaron

    It's not that we like Bush more. It's that we like Obama less.

    June 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Gary

    Um, please don't speak for me.

    June 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. tstorm92

    I fondly miss Bush ignoring all the warnings about 9/11. I miss how Bush started a war in Iraq which alienated all of our friends, and needlessly killed over 5,000 brave American trrops. I miss how Cheney created the Patriot's Act and bugged our phones. I fondly miss the start of the "Great Recession" and how all our housing values went underwater. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? BUsh, next to Reagan, is the worst president EVER!!

    June 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. jefferson

    So that's what this is all about....the republicans and the right trying to destroy the democrats and the left...all of this will be in the next presdidential election...all of it...and it is all a plot.

    June 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Fubarack

    Bush wasn't that bad. People remember the better economy under Bush as well. Bush would be ok in history, even without Obama totally failing.

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Oh For Pete's Sake!

    Bush was a gentleman who loved his country. He NEVER apologised for America - He NEVER bowed from the waist to anything with a pulse - And he NEVER whined about the trash he took from the Dribbling Liberal for 8 years!

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Cynh

    Dont think so! Bush is still all time worst! Bush screwed up every company he was involved with and then screwed up our country. Most of our problems today were caused by him, he was pathetic as a president. A complete joke! Find someone else to admire that deserves it!

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Jim970

    Bush was so trashed by the left and the media, it is a wonder he will ever recover. Bush "lied" to get us in Iraq. Right? Here's what the president said: "Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike ... targets in Iraq. ... Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs...".
    But wait! George Bush didn't say that. It was president Clinton. Bush's mistake was to believe anything Bill the Zipper said.

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Tim – You're a typical liberal, judging someone on their looks as usual. So superficial of you.

    June 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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