Since leaving office, George W. Bush has stayed largely out of the spotlight and away from the daily grind of politicking, declining to take public swipes at Barack Obama so as not to “undermine” the sitting president. The ex-decider, however, hasn’t been rewarded for riding off into the Texas sunset.
According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, Bush has the lowest favorable rating of any living president. Only 43 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the 43rd president, lower than Jimmy Carter (54 percent), George H.W. Bush (59 percent) or Bill Clinton (66 percent). Dubya also had the highest unfavorable rating, 54 percent, of those presidents.
Bush’s absence from the White House, however, has made the hearts of some voters grow slightly fonder. Favorable opinions of the president are identical to the results of a similar poll conducted in 2010, but are also up from his mid-30′s rating in 2009, his first year out of the White House, according to CNN. Still, the relatively low opinion that Americans still have of his presidency probably played a role in Bush’s decision to opt out of a role as surrogate for Republican presidential candidates during the current election cycle.
Mitt Romney’s people are apparently fine with that. When Bush gave a rushed, closing-elevator-door endorsement of Mitt only weeks ago, the Romney camp didn’t do much to play up the news — unlike when Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, pledged his support in a photo-op with the candidate. As many reporters noticed at the time, the Romney campaign seemed to give Bush’s endorsement as much attention as those of Jeff Foxworthy and Donald Trump.