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. TexasAnnie

    Not me. I thought he was a worthless idiot when he was Governor of Texas & he further confirmed that as President. And his mini me Rick Perry falls in the same category.

    June 11, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Bob

    Ask if he was a good President and you'll get wildly different numbers (all negative). Most people don't think he's the anti-Christ (most) but a moron who was manipulated by truly evil men (Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, etc.).

    June 11, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Bob

    As we all get older the memory gets worse, that can only be the explanation. Bush was a disaster for this country. He was a puppet of the very rich in their quest for total control.

    June 11, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. fisher1949

    After five years of Obama, Bush doesn't look that bad anymore. Pretty sad that we've come to that.

    June 11, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. Ddogg

    LOL....1,529 surveyed? Were they from Florida???

    June 11, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Linda

    Yes, I'm missing him badly!!!!!!!! Love him!!!!!! What do you mean–"no terrorists"???? Of course, there were terrorist and WMD. Are you kidding yourself?? The terrorists themselves are WMD's! Bush is a fine Christian man whose morals I will greatly respect. "missing me, yet?" Yes, a thousand times YES! Bush may have started a war, but Americans were eager to avenge 9/11. And Obama has broken all his promises to end the war–he's greatly expanded it on many fronts. And I guess all that is Bush's fault? Obama's had many years and run us into the ground financially –it was Clinton who got us into the housing mess. Just give everyone a chance–throw money at them–let them live beyond their means. And Obaba wants to make it worse. Cradle to grave!

    June 11, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. aly

    Wait til July 1st when all Medicare recipients realize their benefits are dramatically reduced by Obama's scam "competitive bidding" program. It will be near impossible to find diabetic supplies, oxygen, durable medical equipment, hospital beds, wheelchairs or any service to these items for people who worked their life to pay for this benefit.

    June 11, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Polijukie

    George W. is still by far the worst president in U.S. history!

    June 11, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Yeah, good ol' Bush with his Texas accent and that genial blank look in his eyes ... little man with big daddy issues ... running away to his ranch on vaca more than any president in our nation's history ... cut taxes during wartime; again, never done in our nation's history before ... responded to 9/11 with a look of utter confusion, wondering where Dickie was to tell him what to do ... landing a plane on a aircraft carrier, strutting around with a sock in his pants, in front of a banner saying we were done (after promising Iraqi oil would pay for the war and we'd be greeted like liberators) ... claiming he didn't want to be a "war president," but jacking up the terror alert right before elections and smearing someone who ACTUALLY SERVED (and didn't spend 18 months of his stateside "deployment" on a binder) to win an election – after having stole the first one. Good ol' Georgie, with his economic policies that 'bout brought the global economy to its knees. A dry drunk who hasn't been seen except at an exclusive "investors" conference in the hide-your-money Bahamas since he left office while 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs.

    But hey, he said, "Praise Jesus!" on regular occasions, so I guess that's all okey-dokey.

    June 11, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. RainCityLady

    Bush was, is, and always will be a moron. No, I don't miss him or feel fondness for him at all. Much of what we are dealing with now is a result of what he DiD back then with a majority in the house and senate backing him.

    June 11, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. bewhiskered

    Conflictingly involved in oil production
    Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction
    One thing was certain
    It was all for Halliburton
    To the wealthy he bestowed tax deduction

    June 11, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. GS

    As a Canadian, I have to say that I was very pleased to read President Bush's comments in his memoir where he acknowledged the contribution of the Canadian Forces in the war on terror. One couldn't imagine what it's like to be President with so much responsibility, having to rely on the advice of so many who have their own competing interests, dealing with so much incomplete information and uncertainty. The average Presidential critic wouldn't last a day in those shoes. I wish all of your leaders nothing but the best – and perhaps our leaders would do a "better" job if we tried to be a little more supportive. If our candidate lost the election – why not regroup and promote a set of ideals in preparation for the next election – rather than constantly attacking the incumbent. It seems so petty and ultimately self-destructive. Best wishes to all the presidents and thanks for your service to the world community.

    June 11, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Former GOP

    ........Wow,.....looks like they polled the insane asylum again...........

    June 11, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Maybe dieahart Republicans do. Any thinking individual knows his legacy of economic, political and ethical destruction.

    June 11, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  15. cd

    Can you LIBERAL'S @ least spell work to understand what line to stand in other than " WELFARE LINE".

    June 11, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. Linda

    sass2u, you couldn't be more wrong. The housing collapse was Clinton's fault (Glass Steagall act-check spelling). Our economy was doing well other than the mortgage crisis that he brought on. Bush acted on information–he wasn't trying to be a tyrant and didn't go on an apology tour! He didn't force policy down people's throats!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. John The Electrician

    Wrecked the economy and sent our kids to their death for no reason? Name any other president with that record.

    June 11, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. David

    Are the 84% of Republicians with a positive rating for W. comparing W. to all his predecessors or just Obie?

    June 11, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Gonzo

    Bush is the reason I am no longer a Republican. And Obama is the reason I will never again vote for a Dem!

    June 11, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Barberian

    EVERY day I remember his failed legacy attempt. The illegal war in Iraq, the lies, the falsified documents, the war crimes. George W. Bush should be tried in the international courts for his crimes in general, and his war crimes he is responsible for.

    How anyone can forget these things is beyond me. Shame America... Shame.

    June 11, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. brian

    Say what you want but compared to Obama, Clinton, G. Bush Sr., even Regan, he did better than any. Remember there was only ONE 9/11 NO other President in history had to deal with such a tragedy. It's easy to sit at home & say what the President should have done. He did what he had to do for the country to prevent anything like that from happening again. people forget 9/11 all too easily when it comes to Bush's presidency.

    June 11, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. JJ

    We're starting to 'like' GWB? Heh! Let the whitewashing begin. Just like what happened with Reagan.

    June 11, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Sugardaddy

    People have short memories, he ran up deficits, allowed reckless mortgages to flourish, lied to take us to war. Yeah I really miss him. He's a disgrace to the party and ruined the Republican brand.

    June 11, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. john

    Amazing, people forget what a disaster this guy was. We will be digging our way out of his mess for years to come.

    June 11, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. Twintosser

    Ahh NO im not. How everyone in the country who now likes him have a VERY short memory span. Have they forgotten why we are in wars that we didn't need to get into because he lied, allowed torturing, and the patriot act to listen to our phones. He is no different than the idiot running the country now, except a bit more stupid.

    June 11, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
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