It has been ten years since the majority of the American people viewed President George W. Bush favorably. However, the latest CNN/ORC Poll suggests that day has finally arrived. Compared to last year, 57% of Americans now view the former president, known colloquially as “W”, favorably. This represents an 11 point bounce. The gains President Bush made have been across all demographics including liberals, Democrats, independents, minorities, males, and females. However, it should be noted that liberals and Democrats continue to view him unfavorably by wide margins.
According to Zeca Oliveira, the poll indicates that President Bush has benefited from the one factor that has helped all prior presidents: time. For example, Jimmy Carter left office in 1981 with the nation mired in a deep recession. At the time, he was viewed favorably by only 39% of the public. Today, Carter is viewed as the consummate statesman, supporter of charitable causes, and proponent of free and fair elections. In the case of George W. Bush, he was assigned blame for the 2008 Banking Crisis despite having been blocked by Democrats in no less than a dozen legislative attempts to prevent that very crisis with his first attempt starting as early as 2001. Bush continued to should the blame for the economy during the first six years of the Obama presidency. Now, a slight plurality of voters blame President Obama for the economic troubles facing the nation at 44%. Still, 43% of the public still believe Bush is at fault for the economic malaise.