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. Tony

    The 4000-plus U.S soldiers who died in Iraq would not miss Bush. Sorry, Republicans, there is no statute of limitation for that. We don't forget what Bush did just because he is out of office.

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Fool Me Once

    The Media Circus is in full swing after the NSA revelations!! Guessing it's a good time to suggest that Americans are warming up to G. W. Bush, right? George W. had a way of entertaining us during his years, I'll give him that, but anything beyond laughable is just pathetic.

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Rick

    Don't count me in... I truly believe he is one of the most inept people to have ever sat in the oval office. I was a Republican before he came along. He may have not been the sole reason I declared my independence, but he most certainly was big part of it. Reagan would have gaged ...

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  4. steve

    Why can't one help but think of Alfred E. Neuman when gazing at Dubya'?

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. super

    Whoever is starting to remember BUSH fondly must be very dumb and had bad brain to make good judgement.

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. MagicPanties

    wow, what short memories, we are still suffering from Bush/Cheney disastrous war and financial meltdown (and will for years to come)

    June 11, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. get real

    the real dubya was got rid off shortly after 1rst term.. what we see now is just a clone.

    June 11, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. DC

    Bush was a peace-loving, fiscally-responsible, president. I miss him dearly!

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |

    No poll should be trusted by Gallup. Ask any Republican about this past election about the Gallup polls citing a Romney Victory lol

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Belseth

    Is this a trick question? Anyone that misses Bush loves the chaos he left the country in. Even his cabinet scattered like cockroaches the last year he was in office. Notice how quiet they all got? Also in the previous 7 years every photo of Bush had Cheney and the other minions standing behind him and whenever he gave a speech. The last year it was Bush all alone trying to stumble his way through a speech. We'll be dealing with the mess that idiot left for at least a generation!

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. abcd1

    Another bad poll taken

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. Mary

    I always liked President Bush. I think he did what he could to handle a difficult situation. Our Country was attacked by a terrorist organization that has no home country. While some may argue that Iraq was not the proper venue, others looks at the lessons learned from history, particularly World War II. Declaring war is not an easy decsion for any president.

    He was criticized by then Senator Obama. Now President Obama has incorporated a great deal of what President Bush did. He stated he would close Guantamo immediately once he was elected President. It's still opened. He criticized President Bush for invasions of American's privacy and instrusions on personal liberties. We are all aware of what is going on now with the NSA. It was thanks to President Bush's national security policies that helped lead to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. I am glad that Americans are warming up to President Bush.

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. mike

    I still remember what I didn't like about Bush...he was a smirking semi-literate know-nothing. Nothing Obama does changes that.

    June 11, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Harry

    He lied to us about the WMD and then enriched his friends, doubling the national debt in the process.

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Dale

    Never will miss him,,glad he is gone.

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. dylan

    may ne laden's numbers also went up

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. mtech101

    Bush created mortgage backed securities which sent the US and the ENTIRE WORLD into a recession. Some parts of the world are still in that same recession. Bush will always be the worst in my books. Whoever thinks Bush did a great job must be mentally insane.

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Texas

    Just a bunch of nostalgic republicans.........no new trends here.

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. JK

    Bush has done irreparable damage to our economy and foreign relations.

    Why would we miss him?

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. gbd001

    t's easy for Bush to look great when compared to the worst president in American history: BHO

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Candle

    Impossible! The only way this could happen is if the new president is much worse by comparison...

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. MikeinMn

    Perfect example of why the Current political situation exists. The people of this Country either have such a limited memory or the media is some effective of taking those memories away that in this short a time all of a sudden GWB is viewed as a positive, effective leader. So sad.

    June 11, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. ant

    lol...americans are a bunch of suckers who buy into the whole left/right wing garbage. ron paul doesnt look so crazy now does he?

    June 11, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. Bill Ball

    I don't dislike the Man, I dislike what he did to this country.

    June 11, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. dscon

    Those WMD's in Iraq AND Syria..........found last month
    are to be IGNORED?

    June 11, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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