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Poll: George W. Bush’s favorability rating has nearly doubled since he left office

According to a new CNN poll, 61 percent of respondents said they now have a favorable view of former President George W. Bush, almost double the 33 percent who said so when the 43rd president left office in January 2009. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Houston. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Former President George W. Bush’s favorability rating has nearly doubled since he left office, according to a new CNN poll.

What did the poll find?

According to the CNN poll conducted by SSRS this month, 61 percent of respondents said they now have a favorable view of Bush, almost double the 33 percent who said so when the 43rd president left office in January 2009.

CNN noted Bush’s rating is slightly lower than that of former President Barack Obama, who has a 66 percent favorability rating, and significantly higher than President Donald Trump’s favorability rating of 40 percent.

The poll found that Democrats and independents are largely responsible for the uptick. Bush’s favorability rating among Democrats climbed from just 11 percent in February 2009 to a 54 percent this month.

The former president now holds a majority favorability rating among every demographic group except self-identified liberals, including groups that often favor Democrats like nonwhites and those under 35 years old.

Bush’s favorability rating among Republicans has fluctuated. A month after he left office, 76 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably, and that number climbed to 88 percent in a 2015 CNN/ORC poll. However, the poll noted that number dropped back down to 76 percent “in the Trump era.” The percentage of Republicans who expressed disapproval of Bush grew from 7 percent in 2015 to 21 this month.

CNN noted that it isn’t uncommon for a president's favorability numbers to grow after they leave office.

For example, former President Bill Clinton's favorability rating grew from 51 percent when he left office to 64 percent in a 2015. That rating then dropped to 47 percent in October 2016 as his wife, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, campaigned for the presidency.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS on Jan. 14-15, and Jan.  17-18 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults.

One last thing…
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