Well, some of us knew it would have eventually, but the speed with which it has it rather remarkable.
Americans’ views of former president George W. Bush have improved, with 49% now viewing him favorably and 46% unfavorably. That is the first time since 2005 that opinions of him have been more positive than negative.
George W. Bush’s favorable rating is more positive now among all party groups than it was in March 2009, when it dipped to 35% overall. Currently, 84% of Republicans, 46% of independents, and 24% of Democrats have a favorable view of Bush, each up more than 10 points since 2009. However, the more recent improvement in his ratings, a five-point overall uptick since November 2010, has been more apparent among Democrats, whose rating has increased by 10 points since then.
On the same day President Obama’s approval/disapproval margin was 47 to 44 percent. Yes, his three point margin is less than Bush’s and his approval is two points less than Bush’s.
Bush’s support from Democrats still trails that of Republicans by 60 points, but comes no where near President Obama’s 76-point gap in January.
And things may get a lot worse for Obama as the reality of the NSA programs continues to erode his support from the left and his plethora of scandals alienates both Democrats and independents.
There is unmistakable satisfaction among Obama critics at this reversal in approval ratings, in part because Obama used Bush as an excuse for practically every miscue and problem right up through the election. Obama nevertheless was compelled to adopt and expand upon many of Bush’s anti-terrorism tactics, even as he was publicly excoriating Bush for his handling of jihadist terror. And now Obama must resort to exactly the same defenses that Bush used to explain our cyberdefenses. Unlike Bush, however, Obama has suffered from serial revelations of wrongdoing and cannot point to a blemish-free record (e.g. Boston, Fort Hood) on terrorist homeland attacks after Sept. 11.
Obama is not a gracious man and, therefore, has not credited Bush with instituting a raft of effective anti-terror tactics. By contrast, Bush has refrained from publicly criticizing his successor. Obama, one suspects, has no net to catch him now as his support and credibility plunge. In fact he might look back fondly on yesterday’s numbers as a time his approval was at least close to Bush’s.