WASHINGTON – In the past two years, President Bush has seen his job approval rating drop to new lows as the war in Iraq dragged on and the economy sagged. But his approval rating, which had been hovering in the mid-20s, is improving, according to new data from Quinnipiac University.
The data put Bush's approval rating around 30 percent — not a ringing endorsement, but it comes the same week as some more-favorable reports on the Bush record.
"Probably the most significant factor in this reevaluation has been the success of the surge in Iraq," said political analyst Larry Sabato, who is a professor at the University of Virginia.
"Almost all the experts said it wouldn't work and it did work and the evidence is everywhere. When a president is right and all of his critics are wrong, sooner or later voters who are not hard partisans recognize that and give the president credit."
This week's cover story in Newsweek magazine, while still critical of Bush — especially the decisions that led the country into Iraq — now states that the administration learned from its failure and set a new course.
"The foreign policies in place now are more sensible, moderate and mainstream," Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes. "In many cases, the next president should follow rather than reverse them."
Also this week, national security experts voiced optimism in an annual survey about the war in Iraq, the war against terror and U.S. security.
Even author Bob Woodward, who strongly criticized Bush in his last book, "State of Denial," is expected to be less critical in his next volume, "The War Within," which chronicles the surge. The White House confirmed to FOX News that Bush, who refused to cooperate with Woodward for the last book, granted several interviews for the new book, which will be published next month.
"I think we're getting hints of the (image) rehabilitation that will inevitably come, but it won't come until some time in the next presidency or two," Sabato said. "It generally takes time for people's partisan feelings to abate and for people to look back and take a fresh view of an old presidency."
FOX News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.