A lot can change in nine years, as the latest CNN poll on presidential popularity demonstrates: Some 61% of Americans now give George W. Bush a favorable rating, up from just 33% when the former president left office in 2009. The rise in popularity comes entirely from Democrats and independents: Some 54% of Democrats now give Bush a thumbs-up, compared to just 11% in 2009. Bush's approval rating among Republicans has fluctuated over the years, but it now stands at 76%, the same as when he left office. The poll, conducted by SSRS, found that Barack Obama has a 66% favorable rating, while President Trump is well below both ex-presidents at 40%,
Much of the shift in Bush's popularity comes from nonwhite voters and people under 35, groups that tended to give him low marks during his presidency, the Hill notes. Bush has given several speeches widely seen as criticisms of Trumpism. "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication," he said in a speech last fall. "Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children." In the CNN poll, 59% said Trump's actions and statements since becoming president have caused them to lose confidence in his ability to govern, though 49% still approve of his handling of the economy.