Most recent presidents became more popular with the American public after leaving office, according to polling data released by Gallup on Thursday.

Gallup tracked the approval ratings of nine presidents after they left office and found that on average, six were viewed better after their presidency ended: John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The biggest exceptions were Richard Nixon, whose legacy has become entwined with the Watergate scandal, and Lyndon Johnson, who took office after the Kennedy assassination with a flood of support before losing popularity for his handling of the Vietnam War.

George W. Bush's average retrospective job approval was 47 percent -- about the same as his job approval rating while in office, which averaged at 49 percent, but considerably higher than his final 34 percent rating as president.

"George W. Bush's job evaluation definitely improved after he left office, but on a relative basis, he did still rank near the bottom of the list of presidents in terms of his retrospective approval ratings and Americans' predictions of how history will ultimately judge him," Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones writes.

Interest in Bush's legacy has renewed with the opening of his presidential library this week, and several recent polls indicate that his image has bounced back since he left office. An NBC/WSJ survey gave him a 47 percent approval rating, his highest since 2005. In a CNN poll, 42 percent of Americans said his term was a success, up from fewer than a third in 2009.

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  • Former president George W. Bush, wipes a tear after his speech during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. Left is President George H.W. Bush. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former President George W. Bush, accompanied by his wife former first lady Laura Bush, flashes the "W" sign after his speech during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • From left, former President Bill Clinton, his wife, former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter listen during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Former president George W. Bush speaks during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former president George W. Bush speaks during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former president George W. Bush waves with his wife Laura speech during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former President George W. Bush, center, shares a laugh with his wife, former first lady Laura Bush and father, former President George H.W. Bush during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former President George H.W. Bush wears pink socks as he is seated in a wheelchair with, from left, first lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, former first lady Barbara Bush, and former President George W. Bush, at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch as former first lady Barbara Bush gives the thumbs up to guests during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • President Barack Obama laughs as he sits between his wife, first lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Barbara Bush after his speech during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • President Barack Obama laughs with former first lady Barbara Bush during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former President George W. Bush, right, talks with his father, former President George H.W. Bush during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former President George W. Bush waves after speaking at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. From left are, first lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Former president George W. Bush, left, shakes hands with former president William J. Clinton during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Former president George W. Bush, left, shakes hands with former president William J. Clinton during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • President Barack Obama speaks during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. Seated, from left are, former first lady Barbara Bush, former President George H.W. Bush, former President George W. Bush, and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • From left, President Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush, former president William J. Clinton former President George H.W. Bush and former president Jimmy Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • From left, President Barack Obama, former first lady Barbara Bush, President George H.W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, former president William J. Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton and former president Jimmy Carter applaud former president George W. Bush during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • President Barack Obama embraces former President George W. Bush after he spoke at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • From left, First Lady Michelle Obama, former first lady Laura Bush, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former first lady Barbara Bush, former first lady Rosalynn Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • From left, President Barack Obama, former first lady Barbara Bush, former president George H.W. Bush and Laura Bush applaud former president George W. Bush after his speech during the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • First lady Michelle Obama, left, stands with, from second from left, former first ladies: Laura Bush; Hillary Rodham Clinton; Barbara Bush; and Rosalynn Carter; at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • From left, First Lady Michelle Obama, former first lady Laura Bush, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former first lady Barbara Bush and former first lady Rosalynn Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • From left, President Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush, former president William J. Clinton former President George H.W. Bush and former president Jimmy Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) arrives for the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and wife Mary Pat arrive at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Republican strategist and former White House senior adviser Karl Rove arrives at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)