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. Anonymous

    This is due to dumbing down of America. Politicians are viewed as celebrities no different than Tom Cruise, Paul Newman, etc.
    You have to gauge a politician based on their policies, not hate them one day and suddenly they make a fashion comeback.

    June 11, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Jonline

    Bush should be sent to The Hague for war crime trials

    June 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. Jason B

    LOL I can hear it now.

    GW's ratings going up.
    Obama's ratings going down.

    Obama – It's Bush's fault.

    June 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. PigBodine

    Neither I, nor anyone I know was asked in this poll. From birth W was a hooligan and bully who's only allegiance was to the corporations that filled his pockets. Media should stop influencing public opinion with their endless polls.

    June 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. Robert Gemerek

    In my 27 years, nothing has been as terrifying as the 8 years that George Bush was president. I hope to god nobody like him ever gets elected again, this country and our society hasn't been the same since he screwed up EVERYTHING. What he did was criminal and he belongs in jail.

    June 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Vic7

    Let me get this right–Bush screws up every thing he's involved with but now he's gone and Obama is in so he's the worse bad guy. I can see why the Republican Party is fading fast. No ideas–just bitch bitch moan and groan. Get to work on something you slackers–I mean besides taking the opposite side of everything that just might have a chance to work. Sure beats going nowhere doing nothing, or is this your idea of less government.

    June 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. Capitol Hill Hairy

    George Bush Jr. was an absolute, complete, disaster. This man – unlike his reputable father – deceiived and lied to the American public, violated every tenant of the Bill of Rights and our Constitution, and laid the groundwork for invasive, abusive, intrusive and unregulated violations of the rights of all American Citizens. Had these "protections" for terrorism been enacted soley and for the purpose of investigating foreigners alone, that's one necessary action; to violate Americans by secretly intruding on their cell, home, internet, mail, banking, and other activities is an outrage that is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and violation of our founding principles. SHAME and CONDEMNATION on George W. Bush Jr., the WORST "president" in US history.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. jimminy christmas

    good grief people.

    Bush was not the antichrist and neither is Obama. They're Presidents. People resent Presidents, they have to make tough decisions, sometimes with no good answer.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Greg K

    Has everyone forgotten Iraq, weapons of mass destruction? How many American soliders killed over WMD that were never there? A war fought on a LIE???????

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. Bushwacker

    Remember, it's a Gallup poll!

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Bill

    I've got several pairs of shoes ready for the next time i see george, or should i just make a donation to the library.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. Joe

    This also shows that more American's are just stupid and have no long term recall.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Brian

    @ cedar rapids Sorry anything was said about your lord and savior BO. And for those of you that say it was senseless to go into Iraq don't know what your talking about and wasn't there. Not everything that we found was put in the news.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. Patroy

    I am sure most Americans miss ole G.W. like they miss a hemorrhoid!!! They are glad it's gone!!!!

    June 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. Matt

    Bring him back. Obama is destroying the US. He violates the Constitution daily.

    June 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. OnTheRoad

    Will still go down in history as one of the worse presidents in our history!

    June 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. M

    If only you could have left just after being elected, then I could have missed you even longer.

    June 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. toronto girl

    My memory is just fine, and I remember exactly what Bush did, and didn't do. He is still just about the worst president you've ever had and inflicted on others!!

    June 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. BigReg

    why would I miss a war criminal?

    June 11, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. LouAZ

    Who paid Gallup for this poll , The Bush Library ? What nonsense !

    June 11, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. edward_s

    that piece of crap put us into Iraq because he had daddy issues. His negatives clearly outweigh any good one can try to say he did.

    June 11, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Sal, I really don't care that he sent 4,400 Americans to their deaths. It's none of my business 😀

    June 11, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. common sense

    like when you eventually forgive someone that murdered a family member of yours.

    June 11, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. jas

    President Obama will go down in history, as one of the great presidents. For saving American from the the disaster that was the Presidency of George W. Bush.

    June 11, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. samson_night

    Looks like Gallup still hasn't figured out how to get accurate polling... Even after admitting last week that they had been using population samples biased and in favor Republicans, which were giving erroneous results, here they go again with preposterous polling results like these. Americans are not mindless idiots... He was quite possibly the most damaging and worst leader in our nations history, most people realize that...

    June 11, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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