Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Americans — including many Democrats — are warming up to George W. Bush

Bush's poll numbers are in positive territory for the first time in eight years. And his support among Dems has more than doubled since 2009.

George W. Bush's approval ratings have come a long way since Obama took over. 

For the first time since 2005, more Americans view former President George W. Bush favorably (49 percent) than unfavorably (46 percent), according to a new Gallup poll. That amounts to a huge swing from Bush's low point in 2008, when only 32 percent gave Bush positive marks compared to 66 percent who gave him an unfavorable rating.

His improvement has actually been strongest among Democrats — 10 percent of whom viewed him favorably in March 2009, compared to 24 percent when this new survey was taken in early June.

Why the big change? There are a host of possible explanations. One is simply that Bush's poll numbers were so low when he left office that he had nowhere to go but up.

Or perhaps time has healed old wounds. Gallup notes that some degree of improvement was to be expected "given Americans' generally positive views of former presidents, and it would not be out of the question for Bush's image to continue to improve in future years." Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter are all viewed favorably by more than 60 percent of Gallup respondents.

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