George W. Bush Viewed More Favorably Than Mitt Romney

According to a new poll, former President George W. Bush is now viewed more favorably than Mitt Romney:

For all the talk about whether Mitt Romney should distance himself from George W. Bush -and the policies of the last GOP White House — a new survey showsthat the former president actually has better favorability ratings than the Republican nominee.

A Bloomberg News National Poll released Wednesday has Bush receiving a favorable rating from 46 percent of those surveyed and an unfavorable rating from 49 percent. That’s compared to Romney’s 43 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable.

Bush also fared better than Vice President Joe Biden (42 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable) and the Republican Party as a whole (41 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable).

The survey shows first and foremost that Romney is struggling in his effort to unseat President Barack Obama — a fact highlighted by several other polls conducted ahead of the first presidential debate next Wednesday.

But it also shows how Bush — following the trend of other former presidents — has seen his popularity improve since leaving the White House, when his favorable numbers in some surveys hovered around the mid-30s.

Partly, this is a reflection of the fact that Bush is getting the benefit of the same “absence makes the heart grow fonder” effect we see with the popularity of former Presidents. The longer they are out of the public eye, the more the public tends to have a slightly different view of a former President, even one who left office with historically low popularity ratings like Bush did in 2009. Combine that with the fact that, unlike Romney, Bush isn’t constantly in the public eye. Still, it also says a lot about Romney’s likability problem.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    As usual, the liberal media is clearly skewing their polls toward George W. Bush!

  2. john personna says:

    Should have taught him how to clear brush.

  3. Franklin says:

    Bush is getting the benefit of the same “absence makes the heart grow fonder” effect

    Agreed. And the opposite effect is working on Romney: “familiarity breed contempt”.

  4. Franklin says:

    breeds

  5. JD says:

    I understand. I think Bush should be in prison but I like him more than I like Romney

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Partly, this is a reflection of the fact that Bush is getting the benefit of the same “absence makes the heart grow fonder” effect

    I think it also reflects the fact that a lot of people who thought his Presidency was a complete disaster, found him to be a likeable enough person.

    Romney on the other hand, people aren’t sure he is a person….

  7. Fiona says:

    Hmmm. . . Sneering inarticulate frat boy versus sneering inarticulate plutocrat? Tough choice.

  8. Jr says:

    @Fiona: Easy choice for me, at least you can get wasted with Dubya.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

  10. george says:

    Don’t think either should be (or have been) president, but of the two, Bush is the more likeable as a person.

    @JD:

    I understand. I think Bush should be in prison but I like him more than I like Romney

    Arguably every President for the last 100 years should have been in prison (including the current one, with his drone attacks etc) – I don’t even think Bush was among the worst in that time period for causing death, ordering murders, or even allowing torture. But I’d also say every one of them has a more engaging personality than Romney.

  11. Franklin says:

    @Fiona: Which is which?

  12. labman57 says:

    For several years, Romney has been planting the seeds of contempt toward the socio-economically impoverished, indifference toward the financially-struggling middle class, as well as mistrust as a policy-vague flip-flopper by the conservative base of the Republican Party.

    As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.

  13. sam says:

    Combine that with the fact that, unlike Romney, Bush isn’t constantly in the public eye has a personality.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    One thing they both have in common is, “Mission Accomplished”