Poll: George W. Bush and Barack Obama both popular in retirement

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 to 59%. This continues the fairly steady improvement in Bush’s favorable rating since it registered a meager 35% at the start of his post-presidential years in March 2009.

Bush’s favorability now approaches that of former President Barack Obama, who measured at 63% in the same poll, conducted June 7-11.

Over the past year, Bush’s image has improved, and to a similar degree, among nearly all major demographic and political groups. One exception is young adults, among whom his favorable rating is unchanged and well below the national average, at 42%.

Compared with Bush’s post-presidential low point in 2009, his favorable rating has nearly doubled among political independents to 56% and has increased fourfold among Democrats to 41%. His already positive 72% rating from Republicans in 2009 has improved less, registering 82% today.