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. Steve Allard

    The only thing I like about him now is that he can no longer do anything to hurt the country.

    June 11, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. TimT

    Seriously?? Americans (or should I say independents) have the shortest memory known in the animal kingdom. Gnat like or worse! Like the pathetic abused girl who always goes back for more abuse and forgets the last beat her a drum episode from her Ex. sigh!

    June 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Justin

    Proof that America is getting dumber

    June 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Mary

    I wasn't a part of this poll, so put me in the unfavorable column. Most of the problems this nation faces now are a direct result of this man's actions.

    June 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Big_D

    Oh it's a Gallup poll, they should be required to release the median age of those they polled on land lines. This is the same polling group that had Romney in a solid lead too.

    June 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. GulpOff

    Idiotic survey.

    June 11, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Garroty

    People know the cowboy ran a clean administration and was honest. This current regimes lies through its teeth constantly.

    June 11, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. RapidOne

    Of course with Bush, we didn't have 24/7/365 INTENSE HATE PROPAGANDA stuffed down our throats, like Republicans and bigots have done with Obama.

    June 11, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. stick it

    Every time i see obama looks as though hes got a smirk at least until recently would seem things arent goin like he had planed . Clinton is MIA gee wonder why .... Why did she really step down from her post in feb.

    June 11, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Bob

    bush will forever be the single worst preisdent in American history.

    Anything else is just bull.

    June 11, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Bob

    As much as I didn't like Bush, I would take him over the disgrace we have now in a minute.

    June 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. The Facts

    Its one thing to disagree politically on approach to make a better America.

    Its another thing to see OBAMA use the might and power of the Government to spy upon, intimidate and persecute THE PEOPLE.

    OBAMA's move to consider EVERY American a Suspect, EVERY American a threat.. is a greater attack on The People than 9/11 was.

    June 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Loathstheright

    Yeah, everyday...I fondly think of Bush in prison, where the war criminal belongs.

    June 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Mark

    I remember Bush very fondly. George Herbert Walker Bush, that is.

    June 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Pianofan

    Still has that vacant look on his face. Seriously, people miss this guy? Did the Men in Black erase their memories?

    June 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Bill Lomee

    Bush will always be a stain on the Presidency.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. greasemonkey

    Show me even one president whose approval ratings didn't rise somewhat in the years following their departure from office.

    No matter how you try and spin it......G W Bush was, is, and always be remembered as the worst president that ever occupied the office.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. California Gary

    I'm trying real hard to think of a reason to like him..............nope, I'm not getting anything.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Bob


    People know the cowboy ran a clean administration and was honest


    What rock have you been living under???? You are clearly deranged. That Connecticut carpet bagging fake cowboy was as corrupt and evil as they come.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. WillH85

    I'm not starting to remember Bush fondly at all, I'm just realizing that Obama's no better than he was.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. B

    Um.... nope.

    June 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. DrEvill007

    Obama makes "W" look like a combination of Jefferson, FDR, and Churchill. The few positives Obama has accomplished have been a continuation of Bush's policies. Obama is so bad he makes Jimmy Carter look almost competent. Bush was no prize but Obama is an absolute disaster.

    June 11, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Big Dog

    That's because people are stupid and have the memory of goldfish.

    Herp-a-derp, yesterday was awesome and today s**ks, herp-a-derp!

    June 11, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Martha in CF

    I really don't think I will ever like Bush for what he did to the country!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. W - NO!

    I'll watch the movie with James Brolin as W again, and I'll get back to you. I think he will still appear as a drunk stupid fool whose father made him who he is.

    June 11, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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