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This is from January 2018, but still:

Six in 10 Americans, 61%, say they now have a favorable view of [George W. Bush] . . . nearly double the 33% who gave him a favorable mark when he left the White House in January 2009. . . .

His mark is lower than Barack Obama’s 66% favorable rating in the same poll . . .

Everybody’s talkin bout polarization, but here you have it. It seems that a politician can have clear majority appeal, as long as he’s retired.


  1. Amos says:

    > Everybody’s talkin bout polarization”

    Who is spreading talk of polarization? What reason would they have to do that? It really just takes a bit of critical thinking.

  2. Terry says:

    Is this a general phenomenon? Do approval ratings tend to improve as a person fades into history?

  3. Steve says:

    Thomas Brackett Reed, one of the longest serving Speakers of the House in U.S. history said, “A statesman is a dead politician.” So, I think if Obama and Bush really want to get popular, they just have to die. The advantage of being dead is no one feels threatened by you and everyone can say that they are following in your footsteps. Look at Jesus, the Romans crucified, and now the Romans have an entire religion devoted to him.

  4. zbicyclist says:

    I think it’s a general, but not universal phenomenon.

    I would guess Bill Clinton has gone down in such polls, due to current reminders of his impeachment, and #MeToo.

  5. JH says:

    alleged “clear majority appeal” among Americans is nonsense overall.

    About two-thirds of eligible Americans did NOT vote for Bush or Obama in any formal election.

    All modern US Presidents are minority selections, in plain arithmetic terms of electorate response.

    Public Opinion Polls are deceptive, especially when subjective spin is added to the already nebulous poll conclusions.

  6. David says:

    It is probably because every subsequent administration, generally speaking, happens to be more inept- or perhaps that is the perception at the least.

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