WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  Former U.S. President George W. Bush (2-R), his wife Laura (R) stand with President Barack Obama (2-L) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) as Bush departs from the U.S. Capitol after the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama is the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the U.S.  (Photo by Tannen Maury-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – JANUARY 20: Former U.S. President George W. Bush (2-R), his wife Laura (R) stand with President Barack Obama (2-L) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) as Bush departs from the U.S. Capitol after the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama is the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the U.S. (Photo by Tannen Maury-Pool/Getty Images)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 59% of Americans now view Bush favorably, up from 52% a year ago
  • Bush’s ratings up across the board, except for young adults
  • Obama enjoys initial 63% favorable rating in retirement

Former President George W. Bush’s national image continues to improve in his retirement, with his favorable rating rising seven percentage points over the past year to 59%. This continues the fairly steady improvement in Bush’s favorable rating since it registered a meager 35% at the start of his post-presidential years in March 2009.

Bush’s favorability now approaches that of former President Barack Obama, who measured at 63% in the same poll, conducted June 7-11.

Over the past year, Bush’s image has improved, and to a similar degree, among nearly all major demographic and political groups. One exception is young adults, among whom his favorable rating is unchanged and well below the national average, at 42%.

Compared with Bush’s post-presidential low point in 2009, his favorable rating has nearly doubled among political independents to 56% and has increased fourfold among Democrats to 41%. His already positive 72% rating from Republicans in 2009 has improved less, registering 82% today.

Bush’s favorability was higher than 59% at various points during his first term, reaching 87% shortly after 9/11. It fell to a personal low of 32% in April 2008, at the same time his job approval rating first fell below 30% under mounting concerns about the economy and ongoing Iraq War.

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SOURCE: Gallup

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