I agree that fans were more concerned to get Brosnan back compared to what we see now with Craig. But I don't think that's any indication that Brosnan was more popular as Bond...
A difference between today and 2005 is that maybe a larger portion of the fan community have already experienced a shift in lead actor. Maybe that wasn't as common back in 2005, mainly due to the six year gap between LTK and GE and all the new fans that Brosnan brought to the series. In addition, back in 2004/2005 a "successful" Bond actor did 6-7 films. Period. This is what everyone was expecting from Brosnan, but now we have gotten more used to the idea that four films may be "enough" for an era.
Also with Brosnan there were always some frustation that he never got what he deserved. With DAD so messed up it just seemed natural for Brosnan to get a more down-to-earth picture á la FYEO.
Personally, I think they should do 1 or maybe 2-3 films more with Craig. A formula were each actor does four films is simply too predictable and not good for the series.