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. Mike

    I cannot believe this is possible. Bush is still one of the worst we've ever had. Hello??

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. RScott1234

    I know there are alot of Bush hater's out there, but let's be honest, he had to deal with ALOT. 9/11, Katrina, the financial collapse orchestrated under Clinton (Clinton didn't do it, Schumer and Frank did). Bush did alot to keep the boat stable.Much more than this community organizer has.

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. grafixer

    You've GOT to be joking? Warming up to a President that lied to Americans and took us into wars just to feed money to the likes of Haliburton and other corporate thieves? The guy that allowed the NSA to start tracking phones and Internet communications? (Was first reported in MAY, 2006 by USA TODAY – not new.) REALLY? This uneducated, non-serving dolt is suddenly changing his history? No way. BUSH will go DOWN in history as the President that sold out Americans to Corporate Greed and Chinese profiteers. NO WAY.

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. elvix

    The guy who stole the presidency from Al Gore.

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  5. rdeleys

    I don't care what the polls say. The man is still a war criminal.

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Ronnie R.

    Miss W? Yeh sure, like a hole in the head.

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. azgator

    Let me disclose up front that I am a moderate Democrat. That said, I find some likeable qualities in W, despite what I see as a lot of bad outcomes during his 8 years. Somehow, I don't pin the entire blame on him – more on Dick Cheney and the Carl Rove, especially Cheney. I don't see any way I would give a favorable rating to his presidency, but I don't personally dislike him – probably more the opposite. Seems like an OK guy..

    June 11, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. chris

    The American Sheeple have an insanely short memory. Proof is here.

    June 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Scott

    I started missing you the day after Dear Leader was elected.


    June 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. jojo

    GW should be tried as a war criminal. Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousand of Iraqis were killed in an unjustified war. Iraq is still in ruins. Do you think Iraqis love America now? Oh and by the way, this war financially ruined America.

    June 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. wade

    My only comment is he is now more popular than Obama! WOW.

    June 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  12. cbp

    I am not surprised. People have very short memories. We are still fighting two wars which began during the Bush Administration. We are still trying to pay for the costs associated with those wars which were never in the budget. We wound up deep in debt and we are not out of it yet.there are more reasons for not giving him higher marks. I am unable to change my impression.

    Laura Bush is a lovely lady. I admire here tenacity and I sure wish that she had played a more public role.

    June 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. abcdxyz

    Uh. . . no, George, no, I"m not.

    June 11, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. edc3

    People have very short memories it seems if George W. Bush is being favorably looked upon. This is the guy that gave us the Patriot Act and the warrantless eavesdropping that we are now witnessing as a so-called "scandal" of Obama's; this is the guy that foisted Alberto Gonzales on us and gave us torture which goes against everything the United States stands for; this is the guy that invaded a sovereign country for no reason other than to make himself look strong in the eyes of his father; this is the guy that lied about Nigerian yellow cake as a basis to go to war with Iraq and then outed a very undercover spy because her husband told the truth about it; this is the guy that gave no-bid contracts to Halliburton that in turn made Dick Cheney a very, very rich man. This is the guy who had the worst administration in US history. This is the guy that created America's worst foreign diplomacy debacle in our history. There are those of us who will never ever forget exactly who this guy is.

    June 11, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. S. Marchio

    No, No, and No!

    June 11, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Frank

    I wanted Bush to win his second term because since he had started 2 senseless wars, and we could not avoid it anymore, there would be no better President who would love to bomb Muslims in Middle East other than Bush himself. I had no choice but to want him to win. Even though we were losing over 800,000 jobs at one point, I knew a Democrat would take over after Bush anyways and turn things around.

    June 11, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Mopery

    Remember the good old days of the George W. Bush administration? Oh the wars we waged against technologically backwards nations, conveniently paid for by the National credit card so as not to wreck our economy for years to come. Remember our freedoms? We'll sure miss those when the government's through taking them from us. Thanks a lot Junior, we have yet to see what Obama's 2016 will look like, but there's no doubt we're living in Bush's 2013.

    June 11, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Randall Melton

    I don't understand. The liberals once vilified George W. Bush as the devil incarnate. George W. Bush was the reason why the country is in such terrible shape, specially after one full term of President Obama. Every time a story came out saying how bad the economy is, it always seems that It is Bush's fault. Those same democrats that came out against the Patriot Act's ability to intercept the same type of records, are suddenly saying there is nothing wrong with what the administration is doing. Well, which is it, do we, or we we not have the right to privacy? Rights to privacy is not limited to one political party or the other. It is an American right. Remember, congress, mid-term elections are coming up next year. And do you think us Americans will have a short memory when it comes to this issue? I don't think so.

    June 11, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. Anon

    Dubya is a WAR CRIMINAL and should be prosecuted and executed!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. rizshahnawaz

    Many Americans have poor memories. this family and their friends have caused harm not only to Americans but the whole humanity. It is sad that even in democracy people with such low IQ can become presidents with so much power in their hands. This pole may be the beginning of some new game.

    June 11, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Mobi

    Heck yeah uncle George we miss you!

    June 11, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. marianne

    People have such short memories. As for the spying, it's been going on since Bush enacted the Patriot Act. Why all the hoopla now???

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. TKO

    Bush! Who wouldn't like the guy who saddled us with two wars, a trillion dollars in debt, a housing crash, an economic catastrophe, outright lies (not "scandals") about yellowcake, centrifuges, WMD, the current NSA debacle and so much much more.

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Paul

    Well, there you have it: we are now officially too dumb to live. Good game everybody!

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. kt

    seriously???? warming up to Bush...How much did the wars cost you?

    June 11, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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