For the first time since 2005, Americans like former president George W. Bush more than they dislike him, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.
The poll, based on telephone interviews from June 1-4 with 1,529 adults, gave Bush an approval rating of 49 percent, compared with a 46 percent unfavorable rating. The polls have a standard deviation of 3 points.
Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones said the increased approval rating is fairly typical of ex-presidents, though Bush still lags far behind his predecessors.
"The recovery in Bush's image is not unexpected, given that Americans generally view former presidents positively," he said. "Gallup's favorable ratings for Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all exceeded 60 percent when last measured."
Bush’s ratings have risen by 10 points with both major political parties since 2009. Gallup found that 84 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats, and 46 percent of independents view Bush positively.
In 2008, with the economy in recession and Barack Obama blazing on the campaign trail, just 32 percent of Americans viewed Bush favorably.
Since his second presidential term came to an end, Bush has avoided politics, and, for the most part, the front page, living quietly in Texas. Instead, the former president has focused on the recently opened George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University.