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. Johnny

    Liberal America should be ashamed of it self for the way they treated this man. He's a good person that didn't deserve the venom thrown his way. You allowed Obama, a man who had zero major life accomplishments and a 3 year politicar career take over this job without thinking about the consequences of electing a man with no resume just so you could make history, and it was all done by trashing decent people like W. And that Chicago thug attitude continued in 2012 by destroying another decent man like Romney. Modern day liberalism makes me sick to my stomach. This country is becoming unrecognizable.

    June 12, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. WeirdMN

    Bush 42 was the worst presidency this nation has ever endured. Until Obama was elected. Now we've had to deal with the 2 worst presidents ever, back to back.

    June 12, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Andman

    Bush is nothing more than a worm! Whoever wrote this article should go back to school! GWB2 is the worst President the USA ever had!

    June 12, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. sickofit

    I'd like to know where they took this "poll". Probably at the Hampton country club, or maybe some back water town in TEXAS (yee-haw). Take a poll on the streets of any small town (outside of Texas) and I bet you get a much different result. He and most of his henchmen/women are war criminals and should be delt with as such. His administration did more damage to this country than any "terrorist" could ever hope to. Just another example of the elitists doing whatever they want and everyone else suffering for it. Now I'll sit back and wait for that call from the NSA.

    June 12, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Patrick Lewis

    Nope. Sorry, still a terrible president. Worst of all possible worlds. A war criminal. Someone who tarnished America's name around the globe. Someone who put us down roads we still can't get off – Gitmo – powerless to influence Arab Spring – econonomic doldrums – etc. Still someone who watched as New York and New Orleans were destroyed and didn't' even try to help. Worst president ever.

    June 12, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. anon

    Isn't this more or less what his wife said would happen? "History will vindicate my husband", or something like it.

    June 12, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. mw

    I think in the long run, people will see a man who thought he was doing the best for his country. In the end, a lot of presidents are viewed that way. He was no shining star at the end of his 2nd term, but something tells me President Obama's luster is dulling with a lot of our nation as well. Controversial, active presidents who work against a differing congress will always end up with the same fate.

    June 12, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Joe Schmidt

    I am neither a liberal nor a conservative. I have had and continue to have a very unfavorable opinion of George W Bush. That is just my opinion worthless to many ; but important to me.

    June 12, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. The Boot Dr

    Whom ever did the poll must have made repeat calls to DICK Cheney, Halliburton and the Koch Head brothers to come up with their results.
    For those that want to question Barack Obama he is way ahead in intelligence than Bush and Cheney combined. You might want to get your head out of where the sun don't shine and see the damage they did with the help of Halliburton, Wall Street and people like Romney and the Koch Head Brothers.

    June 12, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. GB

    Didn't ask me.

    June 12, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. barbraS

    Bush and his administration lied to us about Iraq. Knowingly lied to us.That's a treasonous act. How many innocent Iraqis and service people from around the world lost their lives or are disabled because of their lies? It's maddening that this man and many of his cohorts are not in jail.

    June 12, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Peach

    Worst President EVER – Obama a close 2nd: Carter

    June 12, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Someone needs to take one of those big hooks and yank Obama out of there! This guy is way over his head and in the process of destroying this Country for good.

    June 12, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    And the Repub Corptocracy's revision of history begins!!

    June 12, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Kevin

    Maybe they should poll people who lost family members in Iraq, soldiers who were wounded in Iraq, people who lost their live savings from the market crash of 2008 under his reckless deregulation administration. He may personally be a nice guy but as president he was undoubtedly the worst in history. .

    June 12, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Aimleft

    It's a shame that people are so short-sighted (or maybe just have short memories) that they could actually be forgetting the things that made Bush the worst president in history. I know some of this isn't news – many people polled are probably the ones who voted for Bush twice, and who rabidly and irrationally hate Obama's guts, so no surrprise there. It bothers me that Obama has continued many of the policies begun by Bush. He is a huge disappointment in that respect, but it may be that some of these things were impossible to extricate us from quickly, i.e., the wars. He's working on that, and on a number of other things that are met with foaming-at-the-mouth opposition from the right, which would rather see the country up and DIE than let up on their single-minded determination to destroy this president. Those on here who fail to acknowledge Bush's disastrous policies and his role in most of the problems plaguing our country today are as willfully blind now as they were before when they voted for him. Twice. And because of them, we are in a place we may never recover from, and hey will blame on Obama, while simultaneously getting warm fuzzies for Bush. Nauseating.

    June 12, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Walt H

    Proof positive that America suffers from short AND long term memory loss..

    June 12, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. mb2010a

    About as much as we warm up to any treasonous war criminal, I suppose...

    June 12, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. dpkirpy

    The only people who hate Bush are the low information Obamabots. I was proud to have a real American as president. I am proud that Obama will be gone soon and we can forget his suicidal administration.

    June 12, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Jane Ellis

    Pres Bush did more for us than we will ever know.....the libs mirror the era of Castro.....by the confession of Maine Waters and the stategic data base plan....we are waltzing away from freedom and the American way...you foolish foolish democrats and your obsessive desire to win....who cares if it hurts the people, who cares if we lose our most precious gift...OUR FREEDOM...back in the day when Abe the conservative was conspired agaisnt and killed by liberals that wanted to stomp out the idea of civil rights , end slavery, ....the good president was hated by the liberals...and some things never change

    June 12, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. dpkirpy

    Bush danced at BBQs with wounded soldier amputees. Obama dances with Beonce and his peeps.

    June 12, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Philo99

    There isn't a working man in this country who wouldn't want GW back in office.

    For all the promises BO made to the middle class, we are much worse off than before he took office. When GW was in office I didn't know a single person who couldn't find a job. Now the best case scenario is accepting 3 part time jobs paying minimum wage.

    June 12, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Strangways

    to Johnny who said liberals should be "ashamed" of the way "we" treated G.W.B – huh? The man caused incredible devastation and divisiveness in his 8 years in office – lack of response to Katrina, ditto to the financial meltdown (which started on his watch), not to mention the needless Iraq war and botching Afghanistan. He sat on his hands for 8 years re stem-cell research and opened the oval office door wide to special interest groups. and while we're on the subject – have you SEEN how our current president is treated – blocked and dissed by House Republicans at every turn. it's shameful.

    June 12, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. dpkirpy

    4000 lives lost over 10 years is miniscule. Try looking up some history before you cry about ALL those lives lost.

    June 12, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. The Boot Dr

    Lets not forget the bank and wall street bailouts that Bush and Cheney made sure there was no stipulations that NO bonuses could be paid out of this money to the scumbags that made the most money out of this fraud . If that had been the case many of them would not have been able to pay their country club or Stratton Mountain Club dues. That would have hurt because they wouldn't have been able to cut in front of regular paying customer or rubbed sleeves with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger.

    June 12, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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