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. lj

    49% of these people seem to forget that thousands of soldiers died for NOTHING in Iraq and billions of dollars were wasted that could have provided subsidized healthcare for years to come. He might as well had spinned the wheel and picked a country to invade. He's lucky Obama didn't impeach him and the rest of his corrupt cabinet for falsely misleading the American people in going to war.

    June 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. MeanOldMan

    Just further evidence of the dumbing down of the American public.

    June 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Evangenital

    Bush was the man who did the most harm to our country (and others). I will always think of him as joke. The United States was in total slumber when we reelected the jerk in 2004. What a mistake!

    Obama is not perfect, but compared with Bush, he is 1000000000000000% more competent.

    June 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Obama makes Bush look good

    WRONG ... But comparing Bush to Obama is giving a great edge to Bush. Bush only looks half decent now because Obama is such a menace to America.

    What about flooding the border with illegal alien mexicans to do jobs no boy else will do such as build those 15 million now foreclosed homes and turn socialist with the business buyouts at the end and pave the road with gold for Obama to be smuggled in and then congratulate him as a part of history?

    June 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Bob

    We have about 6 million fewer Americans employed today than when Bush left office. The largest deficit under Bush was $460 billion compared to Obama's smallest deficit of $1,087 billion. Guantanamo is still open for business. We have made zero progress in Afghanistan under Obama while sustaining 3-4 times the casualties suffered under Bush.

    But Obama has reformed our health care system so that the rate of increase in costs is only double what we got under Bush!!! I guess that's something to be proud of...

    June 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Mike

    While I may like/dislike some things President Obama's administration is doing ... I will NEVER "remember Bush fondly."

    June 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Robert

    I was certainly no fan of Dubya, but Obama is by far the worst and most scandal ridden President in history; Obama makes Nixon look like a lap dog I would almost welcome Dubya back in the WH over the current Administration. Let's just get the next 3 years over and done with; maybe then we can start to get this country back to its principles without giving it away to Mexico and China.

    June 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Carrie

    I think Bush was not the best president but I think Obama is not the best president either....

    June 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Robin

    NEVER underestimate the miniscule attention span and utter idiocy of the American people.

    June 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Norm

    Wow...CNN has gotten almost as good as Fox News at creating controversial articles that generate huge advertising "clicks".
    This Bush piece right after the rash of "alleged" Obama scandals was brilliant super market tabloid work.

    June 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. R

    I'm having a real good laugh at all of you people (mrons) who thought obama was the second coming!!! Told you so. Always liked Bush- Thought he did a great job, after having to clean up after the clinton admin.
    TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. RichM

    No…No we don’t CNN. Stop rewriting history and telling us what we think. Bush & Cheney both belong in a federal prison for war crimes – and for boldly looting the American peoples’s money for themselves and their cronies.

    June 12, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Does this mean that GW will be invited to the next Republican National Presidential Convention as guest speaker? I thought not. I also wonder who paid for the polling. Yeah, CNN. I went there. The only fond memory America has of George W. Bush is that he is no longer and never again can be President of the United States. Ditto for any other Bush who might choose to hold that high office. It is not going to happen. Ever.

    June 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. Michael in Houston

    Actually No....we are not warming up to him. Your sample poll clearly does not account for the millions upon millions who still and always will consider him the worst President in US history. But hell...nice try CNN

    June 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Richard

    You can thank Obama for that. He's done a great job making us forget about him by running the country in a much better way!

    June 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. ToldUSo

    Like childbirth, the pain of the experience fades over time. He still stinks, we just forget how much.

    June 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Jill

    I'm guessing this poll was conducted in Texas only.

    June 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. zac

    This poll is obviously full of it. Revisionist history attempts cannot remove the utter contempt most Americans feel for this disaster of a president. Bush is the worst president in American history.

    June 12, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Amazed at the duplicitousness


    GW Bush was a moron at least obama can talk without that pompous smirk"

    ....but not without a Teleprompter.......

    June 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Greg

    No we aren't. This sorry excuse for a human being was as much to blame as the oppresiviness of the government as the current administration. Both of them should be prosecuted for crimes against the Constitution and Treason.

    June 12, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Dave

    Maybe the poll numbers are up because the people that were most screwed over by Bush and his policies no longer have phones for the pollers to call.

    June 12, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Bill

    This guy was the worst president, this country, has ever see. He doesn't make many public appearence's because he know's he would be laughed, and booed off any platform, aside from his Library. I want to forget this guy, and all his henchmen, he's a disgrace!

    June 12, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. jim

    In hide sight the Cold War and Vietnam war don't seem as bad either.

    June 12, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Howard

    Haliburton murdered Sgt MASETH IN iRAQ. hALIBURTON'S DEFENSE was Bush gave them permission to murder soldiers to maximize their profits. A Bush appointed judge dismissed the charges against Haliburton. My low opinion of Bush will never increase. I still think he should be charged wi8th war crimes.

    June 12, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. OhSoFonny

    Yeah, right. We remember fondly WMD (Worst Messy Decision) and the "Mission that wasn't accomplished". We remember violations of the constitution, rendition, torture, and corporate cronyism, oh, I forgot Darth the Dick Cheney, and outing CIA agents and more.
    Oh the good ol' (boys) days. Sure, we remember. And what was his name, the fumbler in chief, the puppet, the marionet. Ah can't seem to recall his name.. de de delouser? Nope, de de Misundercommunicator? Something like it.
    Yes, the glory days of our country.

    June 12, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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