Despite record low job approval ratings, most Americans think George W. Bush is a good person. And as he prepares to leave the presidency, more than twice as many people think history will be cruel to Bush as think history will be kind.
According to a FOX News poll taken during Bush's final full week in office, 34 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he is doing and 58 percent disapprove -- his highest positive rating since December of 2007.
A 72 percent majority of Americans believe Bush is a good person, including an overwhelming majority of Republicans (93 percent) as well as majorities of Democrats (56 percent) and independents (74 percent).
Just over half (53 percent) think history will be cruel to Bush and 30 percent think history will be kind. Republicans (47 percent) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (21 percent) and independents (23 percent) to think history will be kind to the outgoing president.
The average job rating for Bush's first term in office was 61 percent approval and 29 percent disapproval. For his second term, the average rating looks significantly different: 37 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove.
Overall, for Bush's entire presidency he has an average 51 percent approval rating.
Bush received his highest approval rating, 88 percent, in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (November 2001), while his lowest (25 percent) came in early October 2008, after the financial crisis had begun and the stock market suffered one of its worst weeks in decades.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from January 13 to January 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
The final reading on President Bush's favorable rating shows views are fairly evenly divided as 49 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of him and about an equal number -- 46 percent -- have an unfavorable opinion.
First Lady Laura Bush has more widespread appeal, as three of four Americans (75 percent) have a favorable opinion of her. Majorities of Republicans (94 percent), Democrats (64 percent) and independents (72 percent) have positive views of Mrs. Bush.