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. smith

    Well, when hollywood, micheal moore and rest of the elite liberals stop telling lies and conspiracy theories about a person, the truth comes out. Also, Obama has been a complete failure.

    June 12, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  2. GOP,Witch hunters,witch doctors or both

    I remember Dubya as a man that brought on an economic disaster the effects we still feel today, especially in Europe, him and his sidekick Mr Rat Halliburton Cheney pulled off the biggest heist of taxpayers dollars, hopefully we never see it again. Obama isn't half the devil these two were, and Obama is pretty bad.

    June 12, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. John

    Dubya was the worst President in American history. Everybody knows it, including the people slamming Obama in these posts. They wouldn't let him NEAR the RNC, and I'll be still won't in the future. Thousands of brave American soldiers killed for no reason, but Bush and Cheney got rich. Hmmm...

    June 12, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  4. WillB

    If Bush had NOT been the worst President in US History, Obama would never have been elected once much less twice.

    June 12, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Max Flynn

    "As time goes by, presidents generally see their numbers improve the longer they are out of office. "

    No they don't. Recent presidents, typically within a margin of the last 4-5, see their poll numbers rise. Actually presidents generally see their numbers fall the longer they are out of office.

    The author does realize we are now on our 44th president right? Think about it, it might sink in with a little thought.

    June 12, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. smith

    I see Katrina brought up several times..What does that have to do with Bush? Is he a wizard that can make hurricanes..Gov. Blanco refused federal assistance form the get go, but somehow Bush is blamed for not acting quickly on the situtation.

    June 12, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Nope, not fondly remembering him. He was and will always be the worst we've had.

    June 12, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  8. Bill in VA

    No great surprise. It turns out he was mostly right. Obama even figured that out. In fact most of what Bush got blasted for...even by Obama himself...has been embraced and even expanded by Obama. Like the recently disclosed expansion of phone & e-mail surveillance, expanded use of drones along with renewal of the Patriot Act unlimited detention, etc. In hindsight, Bush looked downright enlightened. On top of that, you pile on Obamacare and people are really starting to realize how whacked out the current guy is. But above all else, generally with the passage of time, the Amercian people seem to have the capacity to mellow their views.

    June 12, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. Name Uche Agonsi

    If Americans have so short a memory, they can even vote for a reincarnated Hitler. And these opinions based on party affiliations are sickening. People dont know the good from bad anymore. Its a riotous moody America if good has become bad & bad good. Its given it a good world image. Where is positive media education/information ......... Are we all failing in our duties ?

    June 12, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  10. Andrew

    Nobody I know was polled on this...they probably only called people in Texas....

    June 12, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. Alan Bayham

    Thank you for your service, President Bush. It is appreciated.

    June 12, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  12. k

    Bush Jr was second to Ronald Reagan for the worst President in the history of the US, if you say any otherwise you are a Republican

    June 12, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  13. Harold II

    It's called "short term memory"!!!

    June 12, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. m

    Whatever. Probably just because Obama seems like an absent leader. But they are all horrible.

    All of 'em are a bunch of political hacks that have no soul.

    It is not about America. It is about them.

    So they can all take a long walk off of a short pier.

    June 12, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Phil Muse

    A tribute to American amnesia.

    June 12, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. Papabear

    Bush and Cheney should be serving a life sentence in prison for their lies regarding Iraq intelligence and all but abandoned the search the greatest murderer of Americans on our soil. Worst administration in history. The Republican legacy continues with the worst Republican held House in history. Get the Republicans out of office 2014!

    June 12, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  17. Mike The American

    Sorry to disappoint but I'm not partisan. I personally believe these men who become President have the country's best interest at heart. They go about it in different ways. I may not agree with their choices but at the end of the day, they're the ones you have chosen to make these decisions. I've always thought that Bush later would be thought of well once people got a better understanding of the tough choices he had to make. Imagine how much more Obama will be received well once he's been out of office 8-10 years.

    June 12, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. Larry L

    @"@Rick McDaniel
    For the most part, Bush was simply maligned by Obama, with lie upon lie upon lie, to win election.
    1. Cut & spend economics crashed the economy and caused the recession – two wars not even on the books.
    2. Falsified intelligence data started the Iraq War and killed over 4,500 Servicemembers.
    3. Continually made a fool of himself in the world arena – remember the neck massage for the German Chancellor?

    President Obama never lied about the moron – but then right-wing bigots create their own reality from hate media.

    June 12, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. Barry Soebushy

    Bushy was right all along in most everything he did, and Barry is following along in his footsteps. And all the debt and wars were voted for by our merry band of congresslings, you can't hang that around Bushies neck. How I wish more had voted for Hillary for President! We'd have her AND Bill running the country now!

    June 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. Susan Owens

    hundreds of thousands of civilians, 4,000 young Americans were killed during the war he started..We went over there and blew that country apart, destroyed infrastructure and millions of lives...Bush and Cheney were so hungry to begin that war that they sent Powell to do their pleading at the U. N. Americans may forgive them, but God will not...

    June 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  21. sally

    First off it was gallop polls, remember their polling data in 2012? Secondly, Americans have very short memories.

    June 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  22. charles

    GW was a deer in the headlights...was never in charge of anything..placed into office for one reason so dick cheney could run the defense dept from the white house..start a war...and get rich

    June 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    I am not. Duh Duh Duh-bya was a national disgrace

    June 12, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. interested 48

    Warming up to him? Not really. Still worst president – EVER!!!

    June 12, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  25. Ed

    Now that we are starting to see the truth behind the Obama Administration – Bush looks better and better. You may hate Bush for whatever reasons but his administration was 20 times more transparent then Obama's.

    June 12, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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