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. patsynomore

    It`s only because the media covers up the Bush admins War crimes trial and conviction...While blasting Obama viciously for SUCCESS not failure...

    June 11, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. John Something

    It's really sad how quickly people go from hating the guy to liking him again. It makes me truly ill. It's cool to like Bush now.

    June 11, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. NeverWillLIkeHim

    He's the reason were in this mess with Obama.

    June 11, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. PureEconomist

    This is the same Gallup which predicted Romney would beat Obama in the popular vote by several percent.

    After their prediction was proven very flawed, they determined the cause was Gallups over-reliance on land line phones over email-twitter-mobile communications, thus skewing the results to a much older populace.

    A populace which may now be suffering from old age dementia.

    Enough said.

    June 11, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Hieu HO

    For sure, History will give former president Bush Junior a thump up and proved that he was one of the toughest and most determined presidents in a American history.

    June 11, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. LL

    Gee, how did they conduct a poll of 1,529 red state residents? Ask anyone with a college education whether they will ever have a decent opinion of George Bush.

    June 11, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. MEDAC

    Americans are so dumb with short term memories and/or attention spans. Are you kidding? W was one of the worst presidents we've ever "elected".

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I teach history. As as someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about presidents, I can tell you that this guy just doesn't cut it. Even more, I have watched the No Child Left Behind Act destroy my 16 year old, test by test by test. So from both my professional and personal point of view, I give him a big fat F.

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. VerbalG

    Where was this poll conducted at.....Texas? Of those who have a favorable opinion of W and aren't hard core Republicans, I'd be interested in seeing what percentage could point Iraq out on a map....

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. ben

    what BS statistic is this? Get a real sample and then maybe we will talk. And why is this news anyway?

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. MV

    Why does the media have no memory?

    This pattern has happened with every single president since polls were taken. Their popularity goes up a few years after they leave office. This might be an important detail to mention.

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Jeffey Bakely

    blakenaustin: They weren't fickle! This PRISM program and the Verizon wiretapping were hidden from them. Although some NSA critics were making allegations, the leaders had plausible deniability

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. HomeBoy

    The current chimp in chief will go down as the worst president since Grant and Carter.

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. Bob

    Bring him back!!!!! at least he's an American....Born & true, not ashamed of his country, fought for our country.
    The other guy.... nothing can be said other than he's taking my country down the tube, you can't convince a blind die-hard democrat that they've been sold out till it's to late....
    May God help, we sure won't get from OBAMA.....

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Tenie

    In 2008 I never thought I would miss him, but yes I do

    June 11, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. Mikey

    The guy that attacked two counties (kids still dying there) and
    dropped buildings in NY? No thanks. How you were never caught
    shows how much your "new world order" works so well.

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Lady_Songbird

    Short answer: No.

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. ED

    he's nothing more then a rich man brat, that used Americans money, to make his rich old men more money, he's a brat,
    just like his father,

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Chris

    Compared to the "Scandal Man" Obama, I would take 100 "Honest George" Bush's any day of the week. Why does Obama have to cover every lie with another lie?

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. trantim

    Laura and George Bush are decent people, not like Hilarry and Bill Clinton.

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. elvix

    How could I miss someone who architect the Iraq War eventually finding no mass weapon of destruction having some of my beloved friends killed in Iraq. How? Will anyone explain this to me... PLEASE!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. stickyhumid

    Well, Obama has followed almost ALL of George Bush's bad ideas....and doubled them.
    Bail outs
    A stronger and more intrustve Patriot Act....

    All the things that the leftists complained about with Bush have been increased under Obama.... and not a peep out of them now

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz aka Take Back The House

    I Will remember Bush for what he was and is: a War Criminal

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |

    before you know it america all your rights and so called freedom will be gone, your privacy is gone now whats the next step for controlling us. They claim the NSA is monitoring the internet and phones cause of terrorist, the only terrorist is the government!!

    June 11, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Barb

    This isn't news. Most Presidents favorable ratings rise after they're out of office a few years.

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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