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Presidents—even divisive ones—have historically shared one consolation prize when they leave office: As time moves on, Americans tend to take an increasingly generous view of them.
A few years ago, Gallup conducted a poll asking Americans what they thought of nine former presidents, and nearly all of them enjoyed a good measure of reputation recovery. Jimmy Carter’s approval rating was a dismal 34% when he left office, for instance, but that number rose to 56% in his post-White House years.