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Washington (CNN) My, how the times have changed.

In January 2009, as President George W. Bush was days away from leaving the White House, the unpopular President s favorable rating stood at 35% in a CNN/ORC International survey. The man who was succeeding him, Barack Obama, was fresh from his historic 2008 presidential election victory and had a 78% favorable rating among Americans.

But a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates a milestone of sorts: Obama is now as unpopular as Bush. Fifty-one percent have an unfavorable view of Bush; 51% feel the same way about Obama. Obama s favorable rating is now at 47% - a new low for him, and virtually identical to Bush s 46% favorable rating, a significant improvement over his 2009 numbers.

Obama started out strong, but as many predicted, the public s love affair with Obama faded as reality set in. Obama dealt with the severe recession plaguing the nation and pushed for controversial proposals such as the federal stimulus and health care reform. By 2010, the President s favorable rating had dropped by double digits, although his numbers generally remained in the mid-50s throughout the 2012 presidential campaign.

This marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obama, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. And, at 51%, his unfavorable his higher than his favorables for the first time as well.

As for Bush, his numbers have gradually edged up over the years since he left the White House, and is now on par with Obama.

Both Bush and Obama have much lower favorable ratings than the two men that preceded them in the White House. Sixty-eight percent of the public has a positive view of former President Bill Clinton and 58% say they have favorable opinion of former President George H.W. Bush.

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