Poll: George W. Bush Increasingly Popular, Continues Trend of Former Presidents

Approval of George W. Bush’s legacy has risen from 37% in January 2009 to 47%, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll.

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Mike Blake / REUTERS

Former U.S. president George W. Bush (R) next to former president George H.W. Bush during the afternoon four-ball round at the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois September 29, 2012.

George W. Bush’s presidential approval rating has risen from 37% in January 2009 to 47%, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll. It continues the trend of presidents becoming more popular once they leave office.

Here is a comparison from two Gallup polls looking at the past seven presidents. The first figure is from 2012, gauging the percentage of people who think history will judge the former president to be at least “average.” The second number is the average approval rating of the president while he was in office.

George W. Bush

·      2012: 53%

·      2001-2009: 49.4%

Bill Clinton

·      2012: 88% (60% said he will be remembered as an “outstanding” President)

·      1993-2001: 55.1%

George H.W. Bush

·      2012: 79%

·      1989-1993: 60.9%

Ronald Reagan

·      2012: 89% (69% “outstanding”)

·      1981-1989: 52.8%

Jimmy Carter

·      2012: 59%

·      1977-1981: 45.5%

Gerald Ford

·      2012: 75%

·      1974-1977: 47.2%

Richard Nixon

·      2012-42%

·      1969-1974- 49%

With the exception of Nixon, who resigned in disgrace, at least a majority of Americans believe each of the past seven presidents will be considered by history to be “average.” During office, however, sitting Presidents are judged much more harshly.

41 comments
ajain31
ajain31

History is here and now and it does not bode well for George W Bush the 43rd President of USA.


1) GEORGE W. BUSH oversaw the suffering of millions in New Orleans in KATRINA disaster and did little in a timely fashion! 
2) GEORGE W. BUSH increased our deficit by fighting TWO wars on the credit card, implementing the Medicare DRUG Plan on the credit card and two BIG TAX CUTS on the credit card. 
3) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest economic meltdown of the American economy since the Great Depression. 
4) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest terrorist attack on the US soil since Pearl Harbor which was responsible for more than 3000 deaths. 
5) GEORGE W. BUSH's IRAQ war was responsible for nearly 5000 American soldier deaths. 
6) GEORGE W. BUSH had Osama Bin Laden in his sights in Tora Bora in Afganistan but he let him escape by not providing enough troops to capture UML. 
7) GEORGE W. BUSH shifted focus from a legitimate war in Afganistan to an unnecessary war in IRAQ. 
8) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration has been conclusively linked by a 576-page report from a task force of the bipartisan Constitution Project to have used torture.
9) GEORGE W. BUSH turned a surplus nation into a debtor nation by advocating for so much deficit budgeting. 
10) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a GDP growth adjusted for inflation at 2.2% with a ranking of 9th in 13 recent Presidents.
11) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a 0.3% increase in jobs with a ranking of 11th in 11 recent Presidents.
12) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a inflation-adjusted changes in worker per capita income of 1.3% with a ranking of 8th in 11 recent Presidents.
13) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a increase in national debt of 88% during his Presidency with a ranking of 3rd in 12 recent Presidents.
14) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a Dow Jones Average’s annual change of -2.0% with a ranking of 11th in 13 recent Presidents.

15) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a final job approval rating of 27% with a ranking of 11th in 12 recent Presidents just above Nixon.
16) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a lowest job approval rating of 19% with a ranking of FIRST in 12 recent Presidents i.e. the LOWEST in all 12 Presidents. 
Ajay Jain

SassanK.Darian
SassanK.Darian

I have great respect and admiration for G.W. Let's not forget that he helped advance what we can consider progressive causes in his prescription drug plan for the elderly, "No Child Left Behind" for education, and PEPFAR relief in Africa which has saved over 5-MILLION lives in Africa to date (Africans love him). Additionally, he helped keep us safe after 9/11 and took the war to terror and fascism. While the Iraq war may have been controversial, there is no doubt that Saddam had to be removed. Only history can judge his legacy and I for one as a moderate Democrat have great respect and admiration for President George W. Bush. He kept us safe and understood the threats faced to America and human civilization at large.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

This buffoon did more to make me ashamed to be an American than anyone in recent history. That's saying quite a bit, too. He and his cronies, henchmen and spear-carriers and their "scorched earth" policies are still resounding in Washington. And please don't tell me it wasn't a pre-planned policy. Not by Bush himself, of course. That bumpkin couldn't pour pis* out of a boot if the toe was cut off and the directions were on the heel. A "Library"? It should be Porta-Potty out in the middle of a field.

RickPascua
RickPascua

George bush will be known as the president who sent the United States back into vietnam popularity, halted scientific progress and sent the deficit into the stratosphere, he'll also be remembered as probably the last conservative president ever.

jmac
jmac

The polls can show what they want on George W. Bush.  History won't be so kind.  

notsacredh
notsacredh

Clinton is only 1% less popular than Reagan? Obama is already over 50%. I wonder what his numbers will be in 20 years?

bobcn
bobcn

The farther Bush gets from the White House the more I approve.

jcq707
jcq707

"W" good ??  short memory span or just Alzheimer patients, The worst president EVER !!!

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

Gosh, here we go again with those pesky polls. The trend among past presidents? What a joke. The whole country is still grappling with the fall out from the reckless years of the Bush presidency. President Obama is hobbled in part because of the intransigent Republicans in Congress, but also from the disastrous economy that Bush created!

Yes, I know the press has tagged it Obama's economy but I am not buying it. Bush destroyed America through unnecessary wars, enriching the richest among us and by decimating the middle class. If things were not so dire, we would have been better off by now with all that Obama has done.

I do not believe these polls about Bush, and I hope other folks don't either. Remember, these are the same polls that brought is the "really close" election predictions over and over regarding Romney and Obama. Remember, the registered and likely voter parameter. All a pile of speculative blah blah.

Spare us the polls. They are totally inaccurate. Bush is unpopular and his ratings are much lower 37% provided as his original percentages in these polls. Who were these people polled? My guess is that it is the same "ghost" folks...emm... the "manufactured" uncertainty about the all important undecided voter (s) the press thrust at us day and night during election citizen. 

Bush is unpopular and his ratings remain abysmal. The polls are dubious, IMO. My only joy would be that the republican party will believe these lies the way they believed the Romney landslide tale, and use the Bush years as a foundation for the 2014 elections.    

Oh well, only time will tell.   

Rrreality
Rrreality

Little Bush: his lie to the world created over 150,000 dead, innocent Iraqi civilians. Not to mention the several thousands of dead American service men and women. This is not the mark of a good man with bad policies. Little Bush and his wife live their lives each day hoping no one will say so.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

I think even Democrats believe Bush meant well (Cheney, less so).  I think he's a good guy but a lousy President.  As we get further and further removed from his Presidency, the issue of popularity becomes more and more detached from the issue of policy.  Also helps his image that Obama held onto a lot of Bush's policies.

notsacredh
notsacredh

President Obama will be on Mount Rushmore within 50 years.

ilikechips
ilikechips

I sure could go for the average 5% unemployment of the Bush years right now, it sure would be nice to see 50+ months of job creation, after tax incomes rising, and wow, where would we be with the average 200 billion dollar deficits of the Bush years vs the 1 trillion dollar deficits of the Obama years.

Hindsight is 50/50, and I think given the dismal state of things under Obama with a real unemployment rate of nearly 11%, GDP flat-lined, middle class incomes falling 4,000, and the general failure of the Keynesian statist policies of this administration, the Bush years are looking better.

Heian
Heian

"No Child Left Behind" was a complete mess, and the "War on Terror" didn't exactly go after "terror". "Terror" is what was sewn while Bush was waving the terrorist threat in the country's face. He did more to make people afraid, which made him a pretty successful "terrorist" all on his own.

Heian
Heian

When even the republican party pretended that he didn't exist, simply alluding to him non-specifically... when your own political party is ashamed of you (consider the context), you should get the message.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@bobcnThinking the same thing. I like him better every day I don't have to see or hear him. As for the "people who think history will judge the former president to be at least 'average,'" I hope that, like me, they don't want any more people who are barely average to become president ever again.


formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@bobcn 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  He's laid low and shut up, no longer screwing everything up, for which I am thankful and raise my opinion only slightly.  

fitty_three
fitty_three

@BenevolentLawyer

Maybe they're angling for two new slots on Mount Rushmore. If there's anyone I trust with polls, it's Nate Silver.

I wonder what he would say about this?

JilliBrown
JilliBrown

@BenevolentLawyer The right is working to whitewash Bushs legacy much like they have done to Reagan.  They hail Reagan as the ideal conservative and a truly remarkable president, when his actual, factual legacy points more to the contrary.  I imagine their ruse will work on some, much like it's done for Reagan, but those remembering facts and reality won't be so easily fooled.

RickPascua
RickPascua

Bush allowed the U.N. to essentially turn its back on the United States, he decreed the world was his land and said he had power over all of it, this might be the reason why multiple countries have issued warrants for his arrest, and he canceled his visit to sweden where the ICC was all but sure to arrest him on the spot.

I don't know if Bush was evil, or just to stupid to realize how far back he set America, I was a moderate before his presidency, now I am firmly left.

jmac
jmac

@forgottenlord Good guys don't use power to manipulate a country into war.    Good guys don't tell jokes about not finding WMD's after they've manipulating the intelligence to fit their rhetoric.  Good guys don't torture.    Good guys don't cover up their V.P. outing a CIA agent.  Good guys don't have a fixed brain on economic issues that they learned in their early 20's and never grew out of.    George W. Bush is not a good guy.    

tommyudo
tommyudo

@forgottenlord


"I think he's a good guy but a lousy President." 

I think you are are correct about the second part, but I don't think that GW Bush is a nice guy. It's that good ol boy phony BS that older white males indulge in. As governor, he had blood on his hands from all the death sentences he signed off on. In one case, it was reported by a conservative journalist no less, that he mimicked and mocked a condemned woman's plea for mercy. Also, how can anyone ever forget at a correspondent's dinner him making a joke about the search for weapons of mass destructions as all the self-satisfied DC elite yucked it up, while American soldiers were in harm's way. The American public has short memories, this is what the GOP counts on for their electoral strategy.  GWB is about as bad as this country has produced.



ilikechips
ilikechips

@sacredh  let me correct that for you..President Bush will be on Mount Rushmore within 50 years. Obama is already going down as one of the worst presidents ever. He's right up there with Carter. He got elected by the media and the low information voter. Obamacare is atrocious and even Democrats are coming out against it and it is hitting major road blocks. The liberal MSM just isn't reporting it.

Heian
Heian

"Hindsight is 50/50"

I uh...okay. You are either a) saying hindsight is incredibly unclear, which would explain why Bush isn't reviled, or b) not nearly as smart as you seem to think you are.

jmac
jmac

@ilikechips  Under Bush:  "Overall monthly job growth was the worst of any cycle since at least February 1945, and household income growth was negative for the first cycle since tracking began in 1967.  In the meantime, Bush DOUBLED the national debt, which was an even greater amount than REagan tripling it, and he handed Obama a budget that was already $1.2 TRILLION in the red for the year on Obama's first day.   Clinton handed Bush a surplus budget.  

Not to mention, ilikechips, that he almost took the country to another  Great Depression.  He did manage to take us to a Great REcession.  Good job, Brownie!  


tommyudo
tommyudo

@ilikechips 

Except we are where we are because of the Cheney/Bush admin. The chickens came home to roost-  two wars off budget, a big prescription drug plan, and huge tax breaks to those that don't need it. Indulge in your Obama derangement syndrome as much as you want, but no one since FDR came into the WH with a bigger mess than he did.

notsacredh
notsacredh

I think that both W and Carter are better ex-Presidents than they were as President.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@tommyudo I am with you on that. I used to be one of those who thought he was a good guy but my views have changed a lot. How can you say you are Christian, get the vote of Christians, and then proceed to send hundreds of Americans to die in an unnecessary war. The banks ran amok, and the housing market blew up and slaughtered the middle class. Good man? No, I beg to differ. He was a weak president, yes. But I have found that weak men are just as bad as wicked ones. A person  that destroys other people, families or countries is as bad as a weak man who has the power to stop such carnage but does nothing.

I do not think he was a good man. He was a weak man and his presidency cost us a lot. For me, it is no longer an acceptable excuse that Cheney and Rumsfeld were war mongers. Bush was president and he could have done more to stop many in his administration from doing the things they did. I hope history presents an accurate picture of what those men did to America. The Bush administration should be judged harshly.

Wir lebten in der Hölle unter Bush, ich hoffe, dass kein Amerikaner vergisst, was er zu unserem Land tat. :(

Heian
Heian

Your claim that "low-information" voters voted for Obama is incorrect. As in, not accurate. As in, you're wrong. As in, you're lying to make your point.

...no wonder you support Bush.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@ilikechips I have had the pleasure of being closely acquainted with liberals and conservative online and off, and even though sometimes, I find both sides to be quite extreme, I do not think the liberals are low information. On many conservative sites, with the exception of Fox News and very few others, the views are just full of emotional hate filled and unsupportable blather.

Yes, on liberal sites like Swampland you might not agree with the rationale behind the positions. However, one thing I have found is that there are many more liberals here and elsewhere who are willing to engage in real intellectual debate. Or at least they elucidate the reasoning behind many of their positions. On many conservative sites, once you do not agree with their hate filled anti-Obama rhetoric, you are tagged a libtard or an Obamabot. Absurd!

notsacredh
notsacredh

The only way Bush would ever be on Mount Rushmore is if he climbed it.

drudown
drudown

@tommyudo @ilikechips 

Moreover, you can "deregulate" Wall St. and then, lo and behold, blame Obama for the massive bailouts to prevent AIG from failing. The GOP policies (see, e.g., "no new tax cuts") created the fiscal shortfall.

ParthaNeogy
ParthaNeogy

@forgottenlord @BenevolentLawyer   "...someone who honestly didn't know better.....failings were in ignorance and intelligence.....believed his economic and foreign policies were good because he believed people who were far less righteous......."

All that adds up to an atrocious president.  I am not sure I see any evidence for "a good guy"  in your apologia.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@BenevolentLawyer

I think he is someone who honestly didn't know better.  His failings were in ignorance and intelligence rather than desire.  He thought his economic and foreign policies were good because he believed people who were far less righteous.  It's a major reason why his second term was far more moderate than his first - he became aware that what they were telling him was wrong, was bad, and was harmful to the country and its people.  As he went through his second term, he toned down a lot of what he originally did and grappled with the question of how to honorably deal with the consequence his first term wrought.  There's a reason why most scholars make clear distinctions between the Bush-Cheney era and the Bush-Rice era.

notsacredh
notsacredh

formerlyjames, I noticed that. I had thought that Carter was the worst President in my lifetime until GWB took office. It's pretty funny. I also noticed that both of the lowest rated ex-Presidents had one thing in common. They're both republicans.