More Americans now view former President George W. Bush favorably than unfavorably, the first time this has happened since 2005, according to the latest Gallup poll.
Forty-nine percent have a favorable view of Bush while 46 percent see him unfavorably. Gallup found that his positive ratings have gone up by more than 10 percentage points among voters in both major parties since he left office in January 2009. Eighty-four percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats now view him favorably.
In 2008, only 32 percent of Americans rated him positively, according to Gallup. This came during a presidential campaign in which Barack Obama, the eventual victor, blasted Bush day after day for implementing failed economic policies and for invading Iraq.
"The recovery in Bush's image is not unexpected, given that Americans generally view former presidents positively," said Gallup spokesman Jeffrey M. Jones in an analysis of the poll. "Gallup's favorable ratings for Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all exceeded 60 percent when last measured."
So Bush's ratings still have a long way to go to match the popularity of his predecessors.
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.