For the first time since 2005, George W. Bush's approval rating is higher than his disapproval rating, according to the latest Gallup poll. But that milestone could very well mark his peak rating, for now: the poll was conducted just before the NSA data tracking story broke.
Bush, who ushered in the legal framework for a whole collection of post-9/11 surveillance programs, had a pretty good nostalgia campaign going, until last week. When Bush dedicated his presidential library in April, he pocketed a relatively respectful 47 percent approval rating from a Washington Post poll. Gallup's findings more or less mirrors the Post's earlier survey:
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His approval rating climbed for members of all political parties (though it's still split pretty dramatically, grabbing 84 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents, and just 24 percent of Democrats), and mirrors the popular opinion rise experienced by most ex-Presidents, as Gallup explains.
But the poll was conducted from June 1-4, just before the Guardian and the Washington Post broke a series of big stories on the NSA data collection programs — the first Guardian story came out on June 5. And while Bush doesn't and shouldn't bear responsibility for the Obama administration's continuation of the secret practices, they are, undoubtedly, part of his legacy.