POLITICS
04/23/2013 12:18 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2013

George W. Bush Approval Rating Up Since He Left Office: Poll

As George W. Bush re-enters the public eye for the dedication of his presidential library, his job rating is the highest it's been since 2005, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday.

Forty-seven percent of Americans now approve of Bush's presidency, while 50 percent disapprove -- a marked improvement from when he left office with just a third of Americans approving of his performance. His approval rating is just slightly below President Barack Obama's average job rating, as tracked by HuffPost Pollster.

More than half of poll respondents said they disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy and his decision to invade Iraq. In a recent interview with USA Today, Bush talked about his legacy, saying, "There's no need to defend myself."

"I did what I did and ultimately history will judge," he said.

As The Washington Post notes, Bush's legacy has improved more with some groups than others. His rating jumped more than 20 points since 2008 among seniors, whites who didn't attend college, and moderate or conservative Democrats.

But more than three quarters of Democrats as a whole, as well as African Americans, still disapprove of his presidency.

Another poll, released last week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, also found that Bush's image has improved since he left office, although to a limited extent. In that poll, 35 percent of Americans viewed him favorably, up from 31 percent when he left office. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) all fared better.

The Post/ABC poll surveyed 1,000 adults by phone between April 17 and April 21.

HuffPost

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