(Photo: Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center)
Four years after his exit from the White House in 2009, more Americans now see former President George W. Bush's reign as a success, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll.
In January 2009, the poll showed that just 31 percent of Americans saw Bush's presidency as a success while a whopping 68 percent classified his time in office as a failure.
Numbers from the new poll conducted April 5-7, however, show that Americans now hold a warmer view of his time in office four years later. A total of 42 percent of Americans now view Bush's presidency as a success while the number of Americans who see his presidency as a failure fell to 55 percent.
"It's likely that time will only improve his standing in the public's eye," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland in a recent report on the poll. "Although a majority of Americans still call him a failed president, the number who believe that 43rd president was a failure has dropped significantly since he left office."
A breakdown of those numbers, however, show that the view is heavily affected by political affiliation, race, age, and to a lesser extent, sex.
Of the 42 percent of Americans who now see Bush's presidency as a success, more than half of white respondents to the poll, 52 percent, view his time in the White House as a success. Only 21 percent of non-whites feel this way.
Broken down by sex, slightly more men, 44 percent, hold a favorable view of the Bush years than women, among whom just 41 percent feel Bush's presidency was a success.
Of the 55 percent who see Mr. Bush's presidency as a failure, an overwhelming 77 percent of non-white respondents to the poll agreed with the failure verdict while less than half of white respondents, 45 percent, shared the view. More women, 57 percent, than men, 55 percent, also thought Bush's presidency was a failure.
A majority of the Republicans interviewed in the poll, 80 percent, thought the Bush years were a success compared with only 13 percent of Democrats who hold that view. Some 86 percent of Democrats polled felt Bush's presidency was a failure.
On Thursday, all five living U.S. presidents gathered with Bush, diplomats from across the world and others to open the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
In his comments, the former president alluded to his popularity and the polls.
"The political winds blow left and right, the polls rise and fall, supporters come and go, but in the end leaders are judged by the convictions they hold," said Bush in one report. "As president I tried to act on those principles every day. It wasn't always easy, and it certainly wasn't always popular."