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. Splinter46

    I will hate Bush/Cheney forever. They killed over 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, including 130,000 innocent people over lies about WMD. They put this economy into the worst recession since the great depression. Bush will always be known as the worst president ever to of served office.

    June 12, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  2. thislittlepiggywentweeweewee

    I don't think any more of GWB than I ever did. He was dung on my shoe then and he's still in the cracks.

    Shame on the USA for forgetting this criminal, and for not prosecuting him.

    June 12, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  3. I remember

    Everyone loves a good joke. I don't think Bush did a good job as president.

    June 12, 2013 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  4. octopus

    no I'm not – and don't know anyone who does.

    June 12, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  5. Thomas

    We should check Cheney and OJ simpson's poll numbers too. Bet they are up as well.

    Great post !

    June 12, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  6. Will

    Bush was a good man. A decent man. I think he did a lot of good for this country. I did not always agree with him and I would be happy to recite all my issues with him. That is what I like about conservatives. They can speak about problems with their party. However, Obama voters talk of Obama like he walks on water. No matter how many scandals. We are not supposed to give any of these politicians a free pass when they are in office.

    June 12, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  7. dot

    i call complete bs on this poll and article. there is absolutely no fing way this could be true. but then again, truth went out the window in america a decade ago...

    June 12, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  8. james foley

    Dear conservatives, learn the difference between 'Because of' and 'during'. As in this event is happening DURING Obama's presidency, rather than BECAUSE OF it. 😉 That is all.

    June 12, 2013 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  9. n2it

    No, I'm not missing him at all. Hope he, Cheney, Rice and others are enjoying their spoils. What a wretched human.

    June 12, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  10. vivian

    Yes, I fondly recall being lied to about WMD, being bankrupted along with everyone else, living in fear, having my liberties peeled away as America overreacted to 9/11, and watching what was clearly the most partisan administration in history deeply divide America. Oh, I pine to be abused again. Please, please, bring Bush back. Eight years almost destroyed America, bring him back and he can finish the job (oh that's right, he'll need Cheney to make all the decisions again).

    June 12, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  11. Jennifer Hathaway

    This is the preliminary opinion-manipulation work they're going to do so that they can try to float out Jeb like the bloated cow carcasses around New Orleans post-Katrina, and see if we mistake him for a luxury liner.

    June 12, 2013 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  12. Anthony in California

    "@Rick McDaniel
    For the most part, Bush was simply maligned by Obama, with lie upon lie upon lie, to win election. Stupid people, believed the lies, and now they are beginning to get their eyes open."

    Like that lie Obama told us about Bush starting 2 unfunded wars, giving tax breaks to the rich and doing nothing about Katrina....

    (swing and a miss there buddy)

    June 12, 2013 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  13. Frank oliver

    Bush is the Nero Of America.......................

    June 12, 2013 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  14. daniel okokas

    as per me, he works 4 the world at immediate time necessary not only Americans so he did not waste time to assist the world using American superioity, he was not a coward and i miss him cause he is not only powerful but also a role model 4 big dreamers thats why Mr bush had many friends in Africa and world than Obama

    June 12, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  15. Zen

    Americans who gave a thumbs up to Bush in the latest poll must not have lost someone in the senseless wars Bush and his cronies started [and in the bargain he and his other 2 pals got richer]. He and his poodle lied to the world [and not just to the American public] and invaded a country. They both should be impeached. Poor Clinton was impeached on a sex scandal and these 2 who were directly responsible for killing thousands are not only moving around free but making money out of it!! In fact even Nixon was better than Bush....yes he may have bugged the Democrat office but he did not have blood on his hands. And by tapping the phones if Obama administration can get terrorists and can stop another '9/11', then the Amercians should be grateful.

    June 12, 2013 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  16. Robert Gs

    Bad people impress.
    In the first place to people with a lack of memory

    June 12, 2013 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  17. Altschuh

    With a few exceptions , most personalities would receive kinder memories as time passes. It is very natural. Of course there are notorious ones whose bad reputation never ceases , like Hitler. The terrible emperor who formed a united China was a most cruel and wicked emperor who sent thousands of people to die building the Great Wall. But few people remember that wicked part and only remember him for the Great Wall and the first united China. As for Bush, I doubt the Afghans and Iraqis remember him for anything but to rain death and destruction on their countries.

    June 12, 2013 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  18. coderjones

    how much were you paid to say that?

    and if there is a hell – you are going there for the statement

    June 12, 2013 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  19. sifto

    Bush was experienced and Obama was not–difference shows....

    June 12, 2013 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  20. sifto

    libs should stop the "war criminal" talk–Obama has done worse...

    June 12, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  21. BB

    It's probably because the negative aspects people used to associate exclusively with Bush they're now also associating with Obama, diluting the association with the former.

    June 12, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  22. Curious

    Would these same people who are remembering Bush happen to have memory problems? because this is Bush`s framework, bush`s plan, and Bush did it too.

    Not saying that Obama and co are blamess on this one, but one has to wonder exactly how much bipartisan bullhonkey goes into people these days.

    June 12, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. dj6040

    Not at all... Bush laid the foundation for Obama and every other future American dictator with the Patriot Act. Bush will go down in history as the grandfather of the final nails in the coffin of the US Constitution and our freedom.

    June 12, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  24. Ted Baldwin

    How quickly we forget. No wonder we never learn from our mistakes. Pres. Bush should go down in history as one of our worst Pres. ever. Iraq not paid for, Tax cuts on top of that, unpaid for medicare prescription program leading to our worst economic crisis since the Depression. Really ! ! ! ! ! !

    June 12, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  25. Donkey Party

    Just goes to show how stupid Americans are, and why the rest of the civilized world points their fingers and laughs at us.

    June 12, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
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