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. blakenaustin

    The American people are so fickle. Bush was hated by Democrats and the far left media. There is no question he looks great when compared to Obama. I voted for him twice, but had to hold my nose regarding the fact that he was not a fiscal conservative. He set the stage for a number of the problems economic that have been very badly handled by Obama's incompetence and far left nonsense.

    June 11, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. sally

    I haven't forgotten how Bush got us into a perfectly senseless war in Iraq where there were no terrorists. Now the place is probably full of them. I also think he diverted needed troops from Afghanistan at the worse time so that he could conduct the Iraq incursion. While I don't dislike him as much as I used to, I still think his presidency was absolutely awful!

    June 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Alan

    I hope you Osama Obama voters like the Hitler reincarnation

    June 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Erik

    No....I'm really not.

    June 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. A

    We should check Cheney and OJ simpson's poll numbers too. Bet they are up as well.

    June 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Sal

    But he did send 4400 Americans to their deaths in Iraq for a war that wasn't necessary! 

    June 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. yuri

    Bush could have done a whole lot better, by NOT blindly listening to Dick Cheney. He could have used his "own" brains.

    June 11, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Joe

    If this is true we live in a sad state of affairs. One a neo con international gangster, the other a dyed in the wool commie political activist.

    time for a party that represents neither international communism nor international zionism. Bout time we had a party that represented AMERICANS!

    June 11, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. cedar rapids

    'Its another thing to see OBAMA use the might and power of the Government to spy upon, intimidate and persecute THE PEOPLE.

    OBAMA's move to consider EVERY American a Suspect, EVERY American a threat.. is a greater attack on The People than 9/11 was.'

    So where is he intimidating and persecuting the people exactly?
    And for christ's sake, he isnt viewing every american a suspect or a threat, enough of the hyperbole.
    and as for trying to claim collecting phone records is a greater attack than 9/11 was that is an insult to the memory of those people and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    June 11, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. AlFetahh

    Bush is a war criminal. Must be tried at The Hague, including Obama for his direct and indirect role in the killing of Libyans and Syrians.

    June 11, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Deathstalker74

    Also, Bush gave us Chief Justice Roberts, so as far as I'm concerned, he'll never redeem himself.

    June 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. George W Bush

    Thanks Merica. Golly Gee. Y'all dumb as I am.

    June 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. cedar rapids


    I hope you Osama Obama voters like the Hitler reincarnation'

    yay godwin's law award goes to Alan.

    June 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. sass2u

    They surely didn't ask me! Bush is the reason I am no longer Republican, and with the continued deterioration of that party, there haas been no reason to affiliate with them since. This poll just shows how freaking stupid the American public really is – or possibly they suffer from short term memory loss. Remember that Bush swiftly disposed of the Clinton budget surplus, ruined our economy, and lied his way into a couple of pointless wars costing U.S. so much in human lives and treasure. A pox on the survey and the morons to whom they spoke.

    June 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. saywhat

    No one asked me.
    I remember Bush & Co as architects of some of the greatest follies ( crimes?) in our history consequences of which will keep on reverberating for decades to come

    June 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Yakobi

    It's not really a surprise. In 2009 we were in the midst of the worst economy since the depression. For the previous 4 years, the democrats blamed everything they could on Bush, and now they no longer have him as a whipping boy.

    June 11, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. J. Alexander

    George Bush was not an evil man, some in his administration were. I don't believe he should have been elected president based on his record. He allowed others to make bad choices that he followed. Leadership begins at the top and he lead America down the wrong road with a war mentality that this country may never recover from.

    June 11, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. pat carr

    I am not one looking fondly back at Bush. I am not also looking that fondly however at the current resident either

    June 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. Soothsayer123

    Maybe the GOP will invite GWB to the convention now.

    June 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. james

    It is not so difficult to like the person of George W. Bush while still acknowledging that his policies and unnecessary wars have cost far too many lives and (at last count) Trillions (!!!) of wasted dollars. He seems like a nice enough fellow, but he was a horrible President who will not appear any better in historical analysis. Mr. Cheney, on the other hand, is simply a horrible human being without any redeeming characteristics whatsoever.

    June 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |

    I don't see where this does anything, How does this poll change the course of the nation? Unless it is a prelude to Jeb Bush Presidency

    June 11, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. LOL

    I find the widespread amnesia of the American people hilarious. Not only did bush sink us into complete financial ruin, but thousands of lives were lost in vain.

    I could care less about the government pullling phone and internet records..in this day and age of terrorism..better safe than sorry. The faux outrage is sickening. Focus on what is really important, people. I see the US has more than a few dim bulbs in the box.

    June 11, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. just sayin

    Justin - Proof that America is getting dumber

    no... that would have been obama's election and re-election.

    June 11, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. jon

    Bush – good???? You have got to be kidding!

    June 11, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. u.s.a

    Obama has brought Europe to America. No more proud to be an American. Thanks for nothing. Bush had his flaws but at least he didnt change for the sake of the masses.

    June 11, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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