About half of American voters have a positive opinion of President Barack Obama -- and about the same number think positively about his predecessor, George W. Bush.  

Fifty-two percent have a favorable opinion of Obama according to the latest Fox News poll, while 49 percent of voters have a favorable view of Bush.

There is a wide partisan gap:  Republicans (79 percent) are three times as likely as Democrats (24 percent) to have a positive opinion of Bush.  

The gap is even wider on Obama’s favorable rating:  Five times as many Democrats (86 percent) as Republicans (17 percent) like the current occupant of the White House.


The poll was taken in advance of dedication ceremonies for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which will be held this Thursday in Dallas.  In addition to Presidents Obama and Bush, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush (the father of George W. Bush) and Bill Clinton are expected to attend.

Despite a slight increase in his favorable ratings, the new Fox poll nonetheless finds that George W. Bush fares least well among the former presidents in terms of current popularity.  Clinton tops the list, with 71 percent of voters viewing him favorably.  He’s followed by Carter and George H.W. Bush who each garner 59 percent favorable ratings.

George W. Bush’s highest positive rating came in the months following the September 11 terrorist attacks:  84 percent of voters viewed him favorably in December 2001.  

He received his highest job approval rating -- 88 percent -- around that same time (November 2001).  

Bush’s lowest job approval rating (25 percent) came in early October 2008, after the financial crisis had struck and the stock market suffered one of its worst weeks in decades.

Overall, Bush had an average 51 percent approval rating across his entire presidency.  Up to this point in his presidency, Obama has an average approval rating of 48 percent.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,009 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 20 to April 22.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.