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. boseman

    Is he still looking for the WMDs he promised the world? If so, I might look at him more favorably. If not, than sorry to say all the so-called Obama scandals don't even hold a candle to the volcano of lies his administration spewed at us.

    June 11, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. John Hewett

    George Bush declared war on false pretenses...the worst lie to Americans...but the intrusion into another country should be hated by all Americans, as well as the rest of the world. Talk about a dictator!! He was worse, it wasn't his country to dictate!! Not only were Americans killed or wounded, thousands of innocent people from Iraq and other countries lost their lies, as well as costing us billions of dollars.

    June 11, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Jim

    Bush had some fiscal issues and he did vote along with the democrats to go into the war they love to pretend they didn't vote to go into using the same flawed intelligence he had, but he at least was proud of our country and treated everyone he met with respect including my brothers family at their daughters special Olympics event (he did this rather than golfing his time away). A much bigger man than the community organizer can ever hope to grow into. And compare his love of our country to the hatred for it that Obama feels must be fundamentally transformed from what our families fought to provide to us. Just no comparison...

    June 11, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Mark

    I haven't missed W as president for 1 minute. He'll go down as one of the worst presidents we've had. I'd rather have had McCain or Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004.

    Out of office, he's been much better.

    June 11, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Justice

    With Bush he went to war in Iraq based on lies, spent trillions that were not there, gave no bid contracts to Cheney's Halliburton, killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq for nothing (no ties to 911), changed the Constitution of the US, lied about another attack to get elected to a second term, and I could go on forever. Bush did nothing for the state of Texas but take care of his "boys", big business interests, while turning a blind eye to all environmental concerns. He allowed big business to poison the land, water and air while taking long vacations and enjoying his "good ole boy network".
    No, we don't miss you and wish you'd go away permanently.

    June 11, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Glenn Silverstein

    Unless someone can intelligently reason why we attacked Iraq (no WMDs, no aluminum tubes, no connection to Al Qaida, no connection to other terrorist bombings, no mobile units, no yellow cake), President Bush will go down as the worst, and possibly criminally negligent, president in history. Those that do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. MrMind

    Gallup the same people that had Romney winning the election....... LOL !!!! They didn't ask me!

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Jan

    I don't miss him ONE LITTLE BIT. YIKES! Really, people think they miss him!

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. winchester74

    What I miss most about Bush is his trial – the trial where he and Dick Cheney are convicted of war crimes.

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. John

    Bush took us to the cliff, and Obama pushed us over that cliff! I guess being on the cliff is better than falling to your death. Hence, Bush wasn't "that bad!"

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Michael

    What low-functioning animals are 'warming up' to George Bush? He lied about our country's reasons for needing to invade Iraq, after 9/11. Basically, that would be like someone breaking into your house, robbing you and setting it on fire. And, you know exactly who did it. But, you decide to go and break into a different neighbor's house and beat them up (instead of actually going after the person responsible) because you have a personal agenda against them – and they have a lot of oil in their backyard.

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. DonnieH

    The only person who missed Bush was the guy who threw his shoes at him...

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    oh george dont get ahead of yourself, you still suck... obama just took it to an incredibly lower level...

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Thomas

    We got our hands full here in CT fighting for the 2nd Amd, not getting much support from the Dem Pres.....I guess I can say I miss ya in a way.

    June 11, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. freep211

    If this poll is accurate, it just shows how stupid, how ignorant, how bigoted and dim witted the American public has become. Welcome to trailer park USA>

    June 11, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. benito

    who did the poll ask? his friends and family???....because every single person I know dislikes this dude!!!

    June 11, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. Telstar

    There is absolutely no doubt that Bush is among the most stupid men to ever occupy the White House. Completely oblivious to reality, he tried his lame, utterly dangerous cowboy politics. What a rube. What a danger. We are still dealing with his follies.

    June 11, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. cebundy

    This is the same ridiculousness as everyone canonizing Reagan. The two people that hurt Americans the worst by ruining our economy. It's even funnier now that everyone is up in arms about the NSA surveillance programs started under the Cheney/Bush administration.

    June 11, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. ReaganRepublican

    Favorable in what way? I think that he seems like a good guy and maybe that is why people say favorable but he is one of the worst Presidents in history and if people don't see that then they are not being unbiased in their evaluation. I voted for him twice, so I do not like saying this but it is a fact. I know that he had really bad advisors like his VP, Rumsfeld, etc but he was supposed to lead them and not let them lead him. He destroyed the economy and started a war that should never have been waged. Worse, he cut taxes to pay for the wars and his prescription drug benefits. The only really good thing he did is that he proved once and for all that cutting taxes for the rich and letting it trickle down does not work. I believed it so I voted for him twice. My taxes went down but my country is on life support. Not a good trade off! I will not be one of those people that tries to blame it on Obama when it was Bush that is the reason the deficit is $14 trillion. Obama gets the blame for about $1 trillion because of his stimulus spending and maybe a little more for extending the Bush tax cuts but even the deficits that continue to grow today are a direct result of what my guy Bush did in his last 4 years especially.

    June 11, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Worst. President. Ever.

    June 11, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. mg66

    Most Americans say Hitler maybe not as bad as people thought.

    June 11, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. goldminetown

    I voted for him .He is the honest man who's trying his best to keep his promises.Laura is one of the most gracious,respectable first lady.I can not say the same for the ugly and arrogant one we have now. But I still don't understand "we fight them there so we don't have to fight with them here" I think that was a huge mistake and the cause of our economic problems here.

    June 11, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Uhh ok. If a war criminal who deserves to be in prison for life can gain popularity, the unintelligence of the American public has sunk further than I thought possible.

    June 11, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. WMesser58

    When CNN has no real news think paris jackson they regurgitate something to get people talking. It works everyone knows bush is a war criminal and should be in prison with his administration along with him taking away your freedom with the unconstitutional patriotic act. All he managed to do is create a fascist state.

    June 11, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. jake

    nope... don't miss you now. won't miss you 100 years from now......

    June 11, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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