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. Sighko Sis

    George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst president ever (although I personally think there was at least one that was worse.) The most criticism of President Obama will be that he continued some of the worst policies of Bush. Sadly, the many good things that Obama has done may be overshadowed by that stain.

    June 11, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. johnny_depp

    George W Bush has been in hiding for the last 6 years. That's why people are starting to like him.

    June 11, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. dawg

    Bush is a Good man, that loves his country. That's more than I can say about who living in OUR WHITEHOUSE now.

    June 11, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. George Wray

    George W. Bush was a much, much, much better president than Obama. Bush didn't hide anything. I could go on and on about the stupidity of the Obama administration, but no one would read all my negative Obama comments–and I voted for Obama-the FIRST time only.

    June 11, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. NYVeteran

    No. Go away for 100 years and ask me again.

    June 11, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Danny

    Who did they poll?!!! It must have been a fox news poll. Worst president ever. He literally caused all of the economic troubles we are still in today.

    June 11, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. TBONE

    I just love how were blaming Obama for this and that. If old man McCain was in charge, we still be looking for Osama Bin Laden and probally still in Iraq and probally in war with Syria and Iran. People need to look at history. For the last 80-100 years the GOP has been about helping the rich, and their the ones that have gotten us into messes. Democrats are not blameless and have had their share of blunders, but sorry to say the Dems are at least trying to do something for the people not against them. Bush and Cheney got us into one unnecessary war, Iraq, and started all this nonsense with the NSA thing. I am glad those days are gone and history. I think till we get rid of politicians like Cantor, Boehner, McConnel, Reid, Pelosi, I think the most part I think voters are going to be voting in more Democrat and less likely they will be voting in Republican. Yep Bush is the real reason why I became an Independent. I did think however that he handled the 9/11 attacks as best as he could and the first two years of his administration he did all he could, but when 2003 came around I think that he started to get too cocky and too ambitious and listening too much to the ones who were opportunists. However, every administration has their ups and downs, but I am sorry to say this administration will go down as a bad administration next to Carter Administration.

    June 11, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. Louie

    No. Go away.

    June 11, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. SokrMom

    I most certainly have not changed my opinion of Bush one bit.

    June 11, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Worst President in history, period.

    June 11, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. edward

    wait. where are all the repubs claiming the survey results are made up by the "lame-stream" media? lol.

    June 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  12. roro

    How quickly the people forget what a mess he left for all of us.

    June 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  13. George Dacis

    This poll had to be conducted in Texas and Oklahoma to get percentages that high. George Bush is direly responsible for the senseless deaths of over five thousand americans (and inumerable foriegn citizens. Too high a price to pay for a handful (by comparison) of dead "terrorists". He ha caused incalculable suffering both socially and financially for this country and will always represent the word monster to me. I wasn't polled but you can be assured that I have not "warmed up" to that president..

    June 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Wade stem

    He had Balls and did not pick on the Tax payer God bless him for what he did for this country.

    June 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. NJalbie

    People have a short memory. Bush is undoubtedly the worst President in the history of our country. I would rank him below Nixon easily. A tax cut while starting the most expensive war (on false pretenses) in the history of our country. It doesn't get worse than that.

    June 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Didn't realize amnesia was contagious...

    June 11, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Calmword

    ... I'm sorry, but this whole NSA was a direct result of both Patriot Acts. I blame Obama for still using them and I blame Bush for enabling them... There is absolutely no reason to be happy or 'miss' Bush for the simple reason that Iraq was invaded under his order- nothing's going to change that.

    June 11, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. glorydays

    As much as I miss a toothache.

    June 11, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Wow, how can everyone forget the mess he got us in to? And those invisible weapons of mass destruction. Right.

    June 11, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  20. Mark

    I have a positive view of George Bush too. If he hadn't let Bin Laden get away, spent a trillion attacking the wrong country after 9/11, allowed the worst Financial Crisis in a century and generally been and all around incompetent we wouldn't have been fortunate enough to have Obama and our Obamacare. So good job Bushie cause out of the ashes of your ruin we're building a newer better freer and fairer America.

    June 11, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. Warren

    This NSA stuff was setup by Bush you fools? Continued by Obama but it's Bush's work. Then you call him "far left". Couldn't me more middle or even right. Learn the facts before jumping to conclusions. Also how do you like this deficit, ongoing war, and massive recession? You have W to thank mostly. He is a criminal of much larger proportions than these "scandals" of Obama's. Check the facts before jumping to conclusions. Obama isn't perfect but he has been snubbed by this ridiculous excuse for a congress. Dark times America. Dark times.

    June 11, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. amused123

    I don't buy this poll, one iota. It is pure propaganda.

    June 11, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. ShawnDH

    Alan whined: "I hope you Osama Obama voters like the Hitler reincarnation"

    Sure. Because Obama has started so many world wars and murdered millions of people. You people are insane. No wonder you can't win elections anymore.

    June 11, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. well

    the guardian, june 11, 2013

    • Want to work for the sprawling US intelligence apparatus, asks Spencer Ackerman. It might make more sense to send your resumé not to a spy agency, but to one of the hundreds of for-profit contractors that provide the spies with everything from IT support to logistics to security. You will almost certainly make more money that way.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. billman

    W is a good man-tried to give freedom to millions of Iraqis and Afgans-wasn't after the oil. Saved millions of lives in Africa with his AIDS initiative, had a good economy for 7 out of 8 yrs. Tried hard for immigration reform, etc We all know the mistakes-it's over with. We're still dealing with some of his poor decisions-but you can't put all the blame on him for the economic collapse-it's a broken system. Ask any economist and they will give equal blame to Democratic policies.

    June 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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