April 25, 2013

Bush Library to be Dedicated after a Presidency that Ended on a Low Note

37%

George W. Bush’s library is being dedicated today; 37% viewed him favorably at the end of his presidency, far lower than his first term ratings

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is being officially dedicated today at a ceremony that will include President Obama and all of the living ex-presidents.

Bush left office four years ago at a low ebb, as far as how the public viewed him. In January 2009, 37% said they had a favorable opinion of him. His job approval rating was 24%. His vice president, Dick Cheney, fared worse with 31% saying they saw him favorably. (Our most recent post-presidency assessment of Bush, from a Sept. 2012 survey, showed 41% viewing him favorably and 53% unfavorably).

Bush’s favorability rating peaked early in his first term when it reached 72% in April 2003. The last time it was above 50% was in July 2005. Bush’s highest job approval rating was 86% in late September, 2001, driven by his response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Starting his second term with less popular support than other recent re-elected incumbents, Bush saw his approval ratings further erode under pressure from public opposition to his foreign and domestic policies.  In November, Bush’s approval rating hit new lows, just 36% of the public thought he had lived up to his campaign pledge to restore integrity to the White House, and for the first time as many approved as disapproved of his handling of terrorism. Read more