For Bush, Obama, absence makes the heart a little less angry

Now that George W. Bush has been gone — and largely silent — for eight years and Barack Obama’s White House lease expired five months ago today, Americans are warming to both of them, especially the Texan.

A new Gallup Poll finds Bush’s favorability rating has surged seven points in the last year to stand now at 59%. That’s far above his lowest rating of 32% in April of 2008 and the 35% he endured soon after exiting the White House for Obama’s inauguration in early 2009.

Time has healed some wounds apparently and, of course, in the interim there’s been another president to compare Bush to, a president who spent a good deal of time bashing his predecessor.

Obama, meanwhile, is holding steady at 63%, right about where he stood in his final months of preaching.

In its survey of 1,009 American adults between June 7 and 11, Gallup found 82% of Republicans view Bush favorably, as do 56% of independents and even 41% of Democrats.

As before, women see Bush more favorably than men (60% to 56%), as do whites vs non-whites (64% to 47%). Americans 35 to 54 years-old see Bush more favorably than the young ones (64% to 42%), while those 55 and older see Bush the most favorably at 65%.

Bush’s highest favorable rating was 87% shortly after 9/11. Republican Ronald Reagan holds the record high for post-presidency favorability; he scored 74% in early 2001 with his GOP successor George H.W. Bush right behind at 73%.

Bill Clinton’s highest has been 69%, better than the 39% he reaped upon leaving the White House amid a blizzard of controversial presidential pardons.

By comparison, Donald Trump’s favorability was 40% in a recent Gallup survey.

Again, Obama scores slightly higher among women than men (66% to 60%), but far higher among nonwhites than whites (82% to 55%). Obama’s favorability is highest among young people (75%) but sags after that to 62% and 55% among seniors.

Only 22% of Republicans view the departed Democrat favorably, while independents (65%) and Democrats (95%) still like him a lot.