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. nomoretraitors

    Perhaps because we're starting to see the true agenda of this administration??

    June 12, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. MJMA

    I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg lately....and it clearly shows that the worst president in the history of the United States is the dude who is currently sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office.

    June 12, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. MHC

    What is up with everyone comparing Bush and Obama's Intelligience. Bush was a much better student than Obama, check the records. As we know, for liberals, your college credentials is the most important requisite for sound decision making. Get a life.

    June 12, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. nomoretraitors

    Rogue, it's really time to crawl of the occupy tent and get some fresh air. We got 9/11 because the CLINTON administration treated the war on terror as a law enforcement issue, instead of as a WAR, which is the exact same mistake this "administration" is making, giving enemy combatants Miranda rights and the full protection of the Constitution. And Halliburton (wouldn't jumpin' Jay Carney say that's OLD NEWS?) has created more jobs than Obama could ever dream of

    June 12, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Tcko

    By the time Obama is through ruining America Bush will acquire Saint status!

    June 12, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Anonymous

    @BO Lies – At least we had jobs under Bush.
    Another one that conveniently forgets!! Yeah, we had jobs alright – losing 750,000/month by the end of Bush's 2nd term. What are people like you smokin anyway???

    June 12, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. wisdom4u2

    I don't know... but, I think I would like him if I met him in person. The fact that he has a lovely wife, normal kids and likes horses – and could laugh at himself makes for a 'real' person. And I like 'real' people. Whenever he got spoofed I would crack-up laughing 'cause the Spoofer would portray Bush to the tee. Ha-ha.

    June 12, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Anonymous

    @Fubarack – Bush wasn't that bad. People remember the better economy under Bush as well. Bush would be ok in history, even without Obama totally failing.
    Another one with selective memory. The economy was headed for another Great Depression by the end of Bush's 2nd term – were you living in a cave back then?? President Obama was elected to save our economy and he has done so even without the help of the Repub/Tea Party "patriots". Maybe you still live in a cave and haven't noticed that the housing market is coming back, the DOW is at record highs, jobs have been added for the last 30 months instead of losing 750,000/month. Get real!!!!!

    June 12, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. MoveForward

    He still ranks as the worst President we've had. We're still recovering from his incompetence in office.

    June 12, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Anonymous

    @just sayin – Tim
    GW Bush was a moron at least obama can talk without that pompous smirk -–

    but not without a teleprompter. only a moron like obama needs a teleprompter for everything.
    Guess you missed the two debates where President Obama whipped Romney..didn't need a teleprompter then. Guess you never listen to him answer questions at press conferences – doesn't need a teleprompter. But if that's all you have on our President than I guess it's pretty good!

    June 12, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. tutuvabene

    How soon we forget....

    June 12, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. ShanefmMD

    How much Ashley got paid for this article............he'll remain worst American president ever in American and world History.

    June 12, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. nomoretraitors

    Rogue, time to crawl out of the occupy tent and get some fresh air. We got 9/11 because Clinton treated the war on terror as a law enforcement issue, not as a war, which is the same mistake this "administration" is making, giving enemy combatants Miranda rights and full Consitutional protection.

    Halliburton (as jumpin' Jay Carney might say, "That's old news") has created more jobs than Obama could ever dream of.

    Yes, the banks and Wall Street share blame for the economic meltdown in '08, but the housing market collapse was caused in large degree to "community" organizations such as ACORN using the Community Reinvestment Act to pressure banks to make loans to people who couldn't afford them, all in the name of "social justice." (An interesting side note: Obama took credit during the '12 campaign for saving the auto industry. But it was Bush who signed off on the bailout; therefore it was Bush who saved the auto industry, not Obama)

    June 12, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Cindy Prince

    George W. Bush was the worst imaginable president! He and his clan are responsible for uncountable deaths, a terrible recession, and is an embarrassment to Americans like me.

    June 12, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Freddie

    Palin should run. Why? It would ensure the extinction of the GOP. Go for it, Sarah!

    June 12, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Be Sane

    If this poll is correct, it just goes to show how short the American publics' attention span is.

    June 12, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Jim Letellier

    You're kidding right? Ask the families of our slain soldiers in Iraq how much they miss him. Absolutely the worst president in my lifetime. I'm 54

    June 12, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Guest

    Give me a break. Is this story a fabrication and a diversion from the recent scandal to try and justify Bush's invasion of privacy laws, thus softening the scandal???

    June 12, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. markie mark

    The best President since Reagan, more guts and honesty, we sure do miss him now.

    June 12, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. JDE

    When this current President BHO is done wrecking this country, and shredding the constitution, people will forgive and forget just how bad Jimmy Carter was, and appreciate W more!

    June 12, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Joseph the 3Rd.

    I wouldn't trade one Bush for 10 Kennedys. No doubt, the cleanest family reputation–along with genuine class–in America's political history. Thank you.

    June 12, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. some guy in New Hampshire

    Whoever the "you" is who's remembering Bush fondly, it's not me:

    June 12, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. David

    Stop with the "Obama is worse" rhetoric. It just couldn't be further from the truth–dude invaded Iraq, lied to the US about connections between that country and 9/11, supplied his private Halliburton-fed army with public funds, and deregulated the economy to the point of collapse. All Obama has done is that he's been both underwhelming and black–two bigs strikes against him, especially to knee-jerk conservatives.

    June 12, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Warren

    I think part of being a good President is the ability to surround yourself with a great team. He surrounded himself with some VERY BAD PEOPLE and he listened to them!

    June 12, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. Thor

    Funny how the Patriot Act has not been repealled by Congress... nor ruled unconstitutional by our Supreme Court... and continued to be exercised by the Executive Branch. I'm just wondering how much Americans really know about it... and what it really does. The Patriot Act... not just another piece of paper... it truly negates ALL of the US Constitution.

    June 12, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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