Associated Press/Ron Edmonds/file - FILE-- In a Jan. 25, 2007 file photo President George W. Bush waves as he departs the White House in Washington for a trip to Missouri to speak on healthcare. The eight-year Bush presidency has merited no more than a fleeting reference in the current GOP contest for the presidential nomination, (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds/file) Then-President George W. Bush in January 2007.  (Ron Edmonds/AP)

Former President George W. Bush, whose image has steadily gotten better since leaving office four and a half years ago, is back in positive territory.

A new Gallup poll shows, for the first time since his presidency, slightly more Americans have a favorable view than an unfavorable view of Bush.

The poll shows 49 percent view Bush favorably, while 46 percent view him unfavorably. The difference is within the poll's margin of error.

When he left office in 2009, just 35 percent viewed him favorably, while 63 percent viewed him unfavorably.

It's not unusual for presidents' images to recover in the years after they leave office. Former President Bill Clinton, for instance, has never been more popular.