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. Informed Voter

    There's no accounting for the stupidity of the average American. They forget that Bush and his lies about WMD are the reason we got into the economic mess they now erroneously blame Obama for.

    Makes me sad.

    June 12, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. TheAwfulTruthHurts

    W's approval rating rising to 49 percent.
    Barry's is currently at 47 percent and headed further south due to 'scandal-a-day' and ongoing revelations of Obamacare.
    Dems and libs must hate this.

    June 12, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    ask those people in Iraq, how fond they were of dubya, when they threw their shoes at him. LOL

    June 12, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. reality

    I have never held Bush entirely responsible for the many atrocities that fell upon the U.S. during his presidency. I do however feel as though he was very naive in invading Iraq. Cheney may have been the motor but Bush was the Captain, therefore blame falls upon him. You can't blame the housing\financial crash entirely on him either. He just did nothing to stop it. I do find it very interesting that when all that manure finally came crashing down, there was a GOP candidate in control. Just my opinion.

    June 12, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Hamburger Jones

    No, really, as the years pass I hate him more and more. Not that he ever did anything, but he stood there giggling like Afred E. Neumann as Cheney wrecked this country. If there was any justice in this world, Dubya's rotten carcass would be rounding Cape Horn right now in the belly of a hammerhead shark. The weakest and wimpiest president ever.

    June 12, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Steveo

    To all you "Bush is a War Criminal" chanters, please don't forget there are plenty folks who strongly disagree with the Obama drones. Double Entendre? Yes it is!

    June 12, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Crowded

    He only grows more ugly in my mind. As more of what he was really doing comes to light bit by bit. A liar, and responsible for all the lives of our brave soldiers lost because of his lies. A disgusting excuse for a human being and he should be in prison. I don't know a single person, even those who voted for him, that remember him more fondly as time passes. He hides himself away out of scrutiny. Kind of like hiding in a cave. Seems somehow appropriate. Or at least predictable. I don't know who they interviewed but I have sincere doubts about the claim in this article.

    June 12, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. don

    This longing for simpler "W" days reminds me of Trent Lott telling Strom Thurmond how much better things were when he was in power.

    June 12, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. NameTodd A

    Best president in US history, W is the man, the world was afraid of W, that's what you want, nobody is afraid of Barry the Muslim Mohammed

    June 12, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Dee Bradley

    The Bush family is one fine example of successful, honorable Americans. Did he make mistakes? Of course. Was there anything diabolical or deceptive in his approach to governing? I don't think so.

    June 12, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Kris

    Yes, we forget people's sins over time. It's just part of who we are. We mostly forget (but also forgive) and so we give life back to people who have taken the lives of others (i.e., parole murderers). But that doesn't make Bush's "crimes" any less egregious. Thousands needlessly died based on one man's poor decisions. This will take a long time to forget (but, yes, it will be forgotten over time).

    June 12, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Kennedy

    here's how you can easily spot a knuckle dragging poltiical hack - despite comprehensive investigations in multiple countries, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, despite the proclamation below from WIlliam Jefferson Clinton - the political hack knuckle draggers still say "Bush lied" - how pathetic

    "Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

    Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

    Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons". William Jefferson Clinton 1998.

    June 12, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. okfine


    Bush kept us safe

    Tim, the worst terrorist attack on the US occured on his watch. 13 embassy attacks (the equivalent of 13 Benghazis) occured under his watch. The stock market was half where it is today under his watch. We were losing 600,000 jobs per month on his watch. The Bush admisitration was conducting the same surveillance, only without warrants. They wrote and enacted the Patriot Act. And by the way, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. You need to stop getting your history from Fox News.

    June 12, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. BB

    Obama was elected because of Bush. Bush looks better today because of Obama. The pendulum swings...as it always does.

    June 12, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. JimmyFlim

    Yeah, he was a pretty funny, likeable guy. Except for the part where he lied us into a war with Iraq which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead people. That part wasn't so funny.

    Nice to see we Americans have our priorities straight when it comes to likeability.

    June 12, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Kennedy

    Bush lied??

    "Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

    Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

    Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons. "

    WIlliam Jefferson Clinton

    June 12, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. mike electrician

    Ummm No, After 3 tours of Iraq unnecessarily, thousands of homes missing a family member, tens of thousands with a family member who is crippled, an amputee, no, my rear view of Dubya is no less rosy. Maybe people miss the days of mixed metaphors, or mixed up linguistics. I for one could have done without any of it.

    June 12, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. tom brown

    G W Perp the biggest unconvicted at large war criminal in the history of the USA if not the world. The US will be a long time in living down the shame he has brought on this great country. What a living disgrace. He needs to have all the boots of those killed in AfPak thrown at him, taken to GITMO, rendered, and put on public trial in a cage.

    June 12, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. dax

    Whats not to like? Bush took responsibility for all of his actions. Current president learns of his administrations law breaking on the evening news just like the rest of america. LoL Any of you believe that, I have a bridge for sale that might interest you.

    June 12, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Bob


    Compared to Obama, Bush is a genius... The Libs keep blaming Bush 5yrs later after Obaba has been in office


    When you people stop blaming President Clinton for bushes problems we'll THINK about not giving Prince George the credit he deserves for destroying the economy and lying us into a war.

    June 12, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. honestuck

    Was this a random sample of Americans or did they just ask his drinking buddies?

    June 12, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. wm Scot

    Who is writing this dribble and where do they get these polls from. No one called me. Are all the phone numbers from Texas ?
    I see the Obingo comments are all over this post so I guess there are some of those who live in some sort of dream world.
    No I am not happy with what we have but the republican congress is a lot worse and they could care less about us !

    June 12, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Ross

    This propaganda is paid for by the Bush family.
    Actually most intelligent Americans think Bush should be tried for war crimes.

    June 12, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    And to think they polled all democrats even.

    June 12, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Barry Bunes

    I am as fond of George W Bush as I am fond of stepping in dog feces

    June 12, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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