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. STan

    Remembering him for all of his inept abilities, like two wasteful wars. ONE TRILLION DOLLARS AND COUNTING!

    June 12, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. rockysfan

    Not bloody likely! One of the worst presidents this country has EVER seen and always will be!

    June 12, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Gary

    Shrub has a long ways to go. Good person with sad results. People are getting happier with him-happier that he's gone. History will judge him on the two wars and the failing economy he left us with.

    June 12, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. wm Scot

    The GOP spin machine at work again.
    First they cannon their saint Regan who started us on the decline of the middle class and now they want us to feel all warm and fuzzing with the president who followed orders from THE DICK CHENEY to get us into an unwinnable and unjust war and allowed his corporate buddies to have the lowest tax rate they have ever enjoyed
    . Lets us not forget he stirred us into the worst recession since the depression with his no governmental interference in the banking policies.
    I am not that naïve to think as the column states !

    June 12, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. s.jones

    Better than the present one Bush was..

    June 12, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. ~M V P

    Bush was not the worst president, Barack Hussein Obama is. Thankfully BHO will be gone soon! 🙂

    June 12, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Karaya

    Americans are very forgiving, they eventually warmed up to Japanese, Germans and Russkies – so GWB should not be a problem.

    June 12, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. Clark

    Always been a Bush fan. He did what he had to do during tough times. Sadly, the programs he instituted to keep America safe cannot be trusted with all leaders as we are seeing now. I think this has something to do with the sway of opinion.

    June 12, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. IvotedforObama

    I guess the GOP brainwashing has worked. Too bad I still have common sense.

    June 12, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Don Diego

    As an immigrant to this incredible country I wonder why is it that people can't just admit that he is a decent man? Yes he made major mistakes, but also had some pretty impressive accomplishments too. All presidents screw up some things. Get past the one party is great the other sucks mentality. If he was such a glory hound he would be still in the lime light promoting himself, he is not, unlike other past presidents. Really look at the time in office and see the positives too. You may be impressed by something you did not know or find the truth about something you thought was done wrong. The point being is he was President, something none of us will every be or even get remotely close to becoming if we lived 5 life times. I am not a Republican or Democrat by the way. God Bless America

    June 12, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Kathy Weyer

    Oh Dear God. Really? How soon they forget.

    June 12, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. robb

    I knew it wouldnt take long for history to bare out how honorable and American Bush's intentions were in a time with unprecedented decisions.. we miss you George. this Obama guy has ruined what you started

    June 12, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. Starquelius

    The intent behind this article is to steer you back into a favorable view of Obama. Bush was universally hated at the end of his term, and CNN is trying to make you remember your hatred for him and to put Obama into a better perspective. The sad thing is, the financial collapse was due to CLINTON trying to push houses onto minorities that couldn't afford them which balloned into the mortgage crisis, yet Bush gets the blame. Poor guys can't catch a break. Gets blamed for predecessors and successors mistakes.

    June 12, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. cc423

    Bush and his vanity wars cost this nation trillions of dollars and did nothing more than prop up his buddies in the defense contract business. He and Cheney should be in prison.

    June 12, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Harlon Katz

    "GOP,Witch hunters,witch doctors or both" – I guess you don't want to let facts get in your way then. The ECONOMIC disasters were brought on by the Democrats fanatical obstruction on additional oversight of Fannie and Freddie. Bush and some Republicans wanted to get additional oversight back in 2004/2005, but the Democrats stonewalled everything (the media helped them btw). There are great C-SPAN videos of Maxine Waters, Barnie Frank, and others spouting off how Fannie and Freddie are completely solvent programs and the Republicans were just fear mongering and being racist for wanting additional oversight of Fannie / Freddie. Well, history shows us the Democrats were wrong and the Republicans were correct.

    June 12, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. YeahRight

    Well Duh. Look who we replaced him with.

    I, for one, miss GWB. While not perfect, he was far better than Obama could ever dream of being.

    June 12, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  17. Evian Bidet

    smith.. bush good. Obama bad.


    I do agree, Obama bad.. because he's continued on with so many of Bush's bad decisions.

    June 12, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  18. ryoni

    I have fond memories of my time in the navy too, even though I hated it at the time and counted down the days until I was out.

    June 12, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  19. Aaron

    Well...the poll actually said if you favored Bush vs. Obama more now. Something this article refuses to provide.

    June 12, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. Rob

    Just as I predicted! The media and late night talk shows were responsible for that mispercetion, same as they were responsible for electing a non-American to destroy the country from within and to funds our enemies.

    June 12, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. hmfic

    history will be the best test of past and present Presidents..........President Obama's face will be on Mount Rushmore, President Bush's face........well, no I don't think so.

    June 12, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. Jerry

    Bush never really got a fair shake from liberals after the election debacle in Florida. From day one he was a thief who stole the election which really wasnt true. Perceptions would have been even worse for Gore if he'd have somehow managed to change the outcome. Maybe some democrats are finally coming to thier senses seeing how difficult the presidency really is. Extreme left wingers were at least as brutal to Bush as the extreme right is to Obama. I remember the bush/chimp pics and all the nonsensical slander. Some left wingers I think really did think Bush was just plain evil.

    Example: Bush's immigration plan, panned by the left and right looks a lot like what we will end up getting. It even had amnesty. I believe most of the left panned it purley for politics just as a lot of the right is doing to Obama over the last years.

    June 12, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. A Murican

    Donkey Party: just goes to show how much Democrats hate ordinary Americans, and obess like 12-year-old girls over who likes 'em.

    June 12, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. Little Bunny FuFu

    To be fair my opinion of him has changed now that a little time has passed. I hated him while in office, but that has morphed into pity. I've pretty much concluded that he was a man in over his head as President. I no longer think of him as evil.
    Cheney on the other hand. Now that man is evil, always was and always will be.

    June 12, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. Gina

    America is lost! I am sure those thinking of Bush favorably probably feel Snowden as a hero – a conclusion that can only be made by people who lack ethics, morals and basic intelligence. For those of you who compare Obama negatively to Bush – do you not remember the stock markets collapsing, massive layoffs, and absolute lying about a war that was not needed – now which one do you think is worse?

    June 12, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
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