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. malkantar

    How can you miss him when 90% of his crap is still in effect today? His policies have stained the land and there is no recovering from that mess. But its easy to confuse the simple minded masses of Americans.

    June 11, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. fidgetwidget

    Not on your life. No way. No how. Not happening. As long as I'm alive, I will not let my grandchildren be misled into believing this man's legacy is anything other than being the one president who singlehandedly pushed forward the demise of the Constitution and drove the country to near-bankruptcy with a war started on a lie that has killed 5000+ of America's best and brightest.

    June 11, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. ShawnDH

    Just Me cried: "I liked like Bush; he did not send the IRS after me."

    Nobody has "sent the IRS after you" and nobody is interested in your right-wing paranoia.

    Bush did preside over the biggest government expansion in US history, so I guess a "small government consrvative" would love him. Because you're so smart and have such strong values and all.

    June 11, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. TonDef

    The intoxicating freedom we enjoy in the United States of America has made us a nation of self rIghteous, apathetic morons who encourage bullying as our number one foreign policy tactic. That's what W could never understand about why our enemies really hate us. They don't hate us because of our freedom. They hate us because we take our own alleged values for granted while at the same time trying to force them on the rest of the world.

    June 11, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. johnny mustard

    I miss Clinton and Reagan but not this guy.

    June 11, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. jhnjul

    The Republican Democrat paradigm is being orchestrated for you.

    June 11, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. DA

    Bush was indeed a good president.

    June 11, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Hooligan

    Nope, still dislike him.

    Just because Obama is a gigantic tool does not mean I miss Bush.

    Candle in the wind is ranked at the best selling song of all time.

    Popular sure don't mean right,

    June 11, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. livingston

    In a word – NO! UNLIKE SOME -I have a good memory.

    In a word – NO! Unlike some people I have a good memory.

    June 11, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Vivek C

    Although, he had some crooks in his cabinet but he was sincere and honest. He promised to keep us safe on 9/11, he did. Americans were much more prosperous until 2006. Then democrats took control of the congress. Nothing got done since then. Obama is the worst president in last 50 years, I means worse than Carter. He came into power because media painted rosy picture of him, covered all his background etc.

    June 11, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  11. Ajax

    George W. Bush was just a tragic and sometimes comical figurehead for a right wing cabal that decided to raid the American economy using time tested methods like war and real estate. He really was just an employee and political focal point of people whose power we will never be able to fully know or appreciate. I miss him like one might miss the hood ornament on their '57 Chevy.

    June 11, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  12. TM

    Bush left office with the LOWEST approval rating recorded except for Nixon. His numbers have nowhere to go but up. And despite all that his approval is BELOW 50%, which means that a MAJORITY still DON'T like him. He LIED this country into a war to satisfy his own ego and dreams of glory. Thousands of young men and women died to satisfy his hubris.

    June 11, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Rob

    I don't miss the one that ruined our economy, but Obama isn't making a case for himself.

    June 11, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Steven

    Yes, I agree, somehow our current president has become more divisive than his predecessor. And no, I didn't vote for him, but at least you could disagree and protest without fear of reprisal, which should terrify everyone regardless of ideology party affiliation.

    June 11, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Grizbogie

    Are you kidding me? Just goes to show you how short American memory is. Everyone wants instant gratification!

    June 11, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. JPX

    Wow, people are so fickle. Bush was one of the worst presidents in US history. Just seeing that Alfred E. Neuman twin fills me with anger. Obama is still cleaning up 8 years of bad Bush policies.

    June 11, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. johnnywalker

    Stupid article! Ashley Killough is the only one who thinks this to be true.
    What a stupid stupid article.

    No one warming up to Bush or your writing style

    June 11, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. dskolasinsky

    Bush is a war criminal responsible for the death of over a million people in the Middle East. He also almost bankrupted the country with his give-aways to big oil, big banks, big pharma, the military-industrial complex. His folksy-stupidity may appeal to certain nostalgic types, but we are all paying the price for his ignorance.

    June 11, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Richard Right

    Yep, now the press isn't attacking him 24/7 we can see the truth. I expect the people who fell for the media's attacks on Romney will also see the light in a couple of months, sadly there are no time machines to alter our past mistakes.

    June 11, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. Kate

    Oh H*LL NO!! The former gov. of my state was a bad choice to begin with. Of course he looks good cause he didn't do a whole lot. However, he did cause one of the worst wars in this nations history all for imaginary WMDs, amass a debt that reached into the stratosphere, and cause one of the worst economic downturns in years due to lax fiscal policy that gave the rich the power to pillage and plunder. Obama is ok but he is but a man trying to defy the future. I think overall Obama has done a good job but he could he make some improvements? Sure. He surely is better than the alternative.

    June 11, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Blue

    This is funny, he was, and remains the worst president. I don't think he had a clue as to what was going on, so he was really just going along with what he was told to say and do. Take a look at some of the speeches he tried making in front of the media, I felt so bad for him, he obviously did not have a clue.

    June 11, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  22. cleareye1

    Warm up?
    People feel better because he has been gone, long gone. History will not be kind to Junior Bush as it will be difficult to paper over his utter incompetence. If he worked as a manger at some Walmart store, he would have been harmless and forgotten. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court overrode the majority of the voters and squeezed him in on a technicality. The finacial distaster as a result i blame on Bush, the 4000+ body bags I blame on Cheney. When the lists are made of administrations, theirs will be at the bottom.

    June 11, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. Joe

    Well, I was not polled............in my view he ranks with Warren G. Harding. A President that has a good heart but his cabinet and others call the shots. Ashame.........if they could really have understood how the culture in the Middle East works we would not be in a trillon dollar debt mode and would not have thousand of Americans dead and many thousands wounded. Again, a nice guy.....the blame falls on his "help".

    June 11, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. Debs

    Hmmm. Americans have short memories....lying us into war after a missed major terrorist attack; over 4000 additional Americans killed over LIES, bankrupt the nation...the real estate mess, the bank mess, etc. I hate the man, waterboarding and all. May he rot in hell. Plus, unlike my brother and thousands of others...Daddy got him off during Viet Nam. Cheney...had better things to do than serve his country...like making babies. But he was soooo willing to send other people's children to die in war... Hate the whole bunch.

    June 11, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. SDC

    Bad news for Obama – he's even making Bush look good.

    June 11, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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