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George W. Bush is approaching Barack Obama in post-presidential popularity

Former President George W. Bush’s approval rating has reached 59 percent — just a few points away from former President Barack Obama’s favorability rating of 63 percent, according to a new Gallup survey. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The further former President George W. Bush moves away from his time in the White House, the more popular he becomes.

Bush’s favorability is currently at 59 percent — just a few points away from former President Barack Obama’s post-presidential favorability of 63 percent, according to a new poll from Gallup. Bush’s approval rating is up from 52 percent at this same time last year.

“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,” Lydia Saad, a senior editor at Gallup, wrote. “This continues the fairly steady improvement in Bush’s favorable rating since it registered a meager 35 percent at the start of his post-presidential years in March 2009.”

Bush has had a rocky approval-rating journey. During his first term, in the time shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Republican president’s approval reached an impressive 87 percent. But in the final months of his presidency in 2008, Bush’s personal approval plummeted to a low of 32 percent.

At the same time, his job approval rating hit an abysmal 28 percent — the lowest approval rating of his administration. In fact, it was lower than that of any president since World War II, with the exception of former President Jimmy Carter, who had the same low approval rating in 1979.

The former president’s job approval fell below 30 percent in large part because of voters’ concerns about the war in Iraq and the economy.

According to Gallup, the upward trend in Bush’s approval rating has come from nearly every demographic and political affiliation, except for among young adults, aged 18 to 35, whose opinion of Bush has remained largely unmoved and is well below the national average at 42 percent.

This latest data comes weeks after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who served as speaker of the House during Bush’s presidency, said on ABC’s “This Week” that she “never thought I’d pray for the day” when Bush was in the White House.

And last month, Pelosi said it is “hard” for her to refer to Trump as “president.”

“Because I don’t know, from what I’ve seen, I don’t know how much respect he has for the job,” she explained during an interview with the Commonwealth Club of California. “That’s why I feel I can speak frankly to him, because he’s casual.”

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