Former President George W. Bush’s approval rating is higher than his disapproval rating for the first time since before he left office, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.
The poll released Wednesday found that 52 percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the former president while 43 percent said they have an unfavorable view.
The last CNN/ORC poll that surveyed Bush’s approval rating found almost the opposite. In May the poll found Bush’s approval at 46 percent while his disapproval was at 51 percent with another 3 percent saying they had no opinion.
The poll’s findings on Wednesday are the first time in nine years that Bush’s approval has been higher than his disapproval. The poll did not list Bush’s approval ratings prior to 2006.
The new finding also underscores the gains Bush has been making with certain constituencies. Bush has gained approval among Republicans by 10 points, and 11 points among men, the poll found. But Bush is still unpopular among Democrats: Seventy percent of Democrats have an unfavorable opinion of the president, down from 85 percent in 2009. Fifty-four percent of non-whites also said they had an unfavorable opinion of him as did 53 percent of those surveyed who are under 35.
The trend does fall in line with former presidents who usually gain approval points the longer they’ve been away from office.
The finding could encourage former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the former president’s brother, to use him more on the campaign trail if the ex-governor decides to run for president (which seems likely). On Tuesday, in an interview with Neil Cavuto, former Gov. Bush said he would “absolutely” use his brother in a hypothetical campaign.
The poll was conducted May 29 to May 31 among 1,025 adults. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.