April 3rd, 2009
04:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Schneider: Will Americans start blaming Obama?

Will Americans start blaming President Barack Obama for the bad economy?
Will Americans start blaming President Barack Obama for the bad economy?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Have Americans been prepared for Friday's bad news about the economy? It looks like they have.

They were warned even before President Obama took office.

President-elect Obama said on January 8th. "It is altogether likely that things may get worse before they get better."

They have.

"Our jobs report came out today, and it showed that we had lost 663,000 jobs just this month, which has pushed our unemployment rate to 8.5 percent - the highest in 25 years," the President said today at a news conference in Germany, a few hours after the Labor Department reported the March unemployment report.

Will Americans blame President Obama? Not likely.

Overwhelming majorities say they blame banks and financial institutions, large corporations, consumers for taking on too much debt and the Bush Administration. But only 26 percent blame the Obama Administration.

Typically, unemployment continues to climb for months after a recession is technically over.

Remember how important "the economy, stupid" was in 1992? The recession actually ended in March 1991, but unemployment continued to rise through the middle of 1992.

"I don't want people to think that in one or two months, suddenly we're going to see net job increases," the President warned last month.

It's a race between optimism and despair. Right now, optimism is gaining.

In January, by a margin of more than 10 to one, Americans said the economy was getting worse, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll (62 percent better, 6 percent worse).

Things were still bad in February. But by the middle of March, the number who thought things were getting better reached double digits, while less than a majority believed the economy was getting worse. Now optimism is up to 27 percent, although pessimists still have the edge (36 percent say things are getting worse).

We know what's creating the despair. But what's driving the optimism? Probably politics as much as anything. The Washington Post reports that the sharp rise in economic optimism has occurred among Democrats and Independents. Republicans see no reason for hope.

Could the process reverse and the bad economic news start to undermine President Obama's political standing? Yes, if we keep getting news, month after month, like Friday's jobless figures. Eventually the bad news will take a toll on the president's job approval rating. And when that number goes down, the president loses political clout.

That hasn't happened yet. Which may be why President Obama is trying to do so much so quickly.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Evan

    Who didn't know that things were going to get worse before they get better?
    Who is daft enough to think all our problems can be fixed overnight?

    April 3, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. AnnMM

    Not the real Americans, just the Republicans.

    April 3, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Veronica

    Im not.It is very clear to me that he is doing everything humanly possible to fix this.He said I will take time.He has been honest and I trust him.

    God bless you President Obama

    April 3, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Alex

    I know it sounds like a broken record, but it's still too early to lay blame on Obama for any of this. The job losses reported are still related to fall out from past months, and it was physically impossible for Obama to fix that. It may not really be until 2010 that true "blame" can be assigned to anyone in the current administration, as it'll take that long for the aftermath of the final Bush year works its way through.

    April 3, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Brian Crooks

    This is hands down the stupidest, most asinine blog posting I've seen on the Political Ticker potentially ever. You pose this question, obviously designed to inflame the right-wing trolls on here (yes, there are some left-wing trolls as well), then at the end of the posting you basically say that no, Americans will not start blaming Obama. What were you thinking with this one?

    April 3, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Mobius

    Start blaming him? Good one.

    April 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. my

    he has the hardest job and time in the world right now.

    April 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Jan Baulsir

    pluh...eez. Obama has been president for less than 3 months, you have to look to the previous 8 years to see who caused the damage. Let's hope the stingy republicans understand that without historic expenditures, this historic debacle will not be turned around.

    April 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Independent concerned citizen

    When is obammy going to start taking ownership?

    He has increased our deficit by 73% since he took office.

    April 3, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Michael in MN

    Everyone, join the Tea Party movement and make the spend crazy, incompetent Obama and his Democrat flunkies reign in the spending or vote them out of office in 2010 and 2012.

    April 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. John in Ohio

    The stock market has posted weekly gains every week for the last four weeks.

    If nothing else, it's shut up the commentators at FOX who tried to blame Obama for previous market losses.

    April 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Jimmy the Greek

    Yes – sensible, aware individuals will see Obama for what he is.... a tax-and-spend liberal using a crisis to push through $$ TRILLIONS of social welfare programs.

    But the media will come to Obama's aid.

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. PK California

    Why should they> He didn't start this mess!!!!!

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Reality Check

    Will they....? Some already are....

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. j.c.

    blame the person who is trying to get us out of this mess? why would we!?

    April 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Remloc

    If it continues to get worse throughout his term, then at some point he will deserve, and get the blame.

    That time is not yet, however. It took Bush 8 years to get the country this messed up. No one, including Obama, can fix it in 3 months.

    April 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. NICK

    The President deserves an A for action, and the Republicans deserve an F for failure. The Presidents approval numbers may go down some, but before his term is up, this economy will be humming along and enployment will beging to rise significantly.

    By the way, your lead line for this articleis a very negitive approach to this efforts of our President.

    April 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Zach K

    It's not Obama, its Bush's corrupt administration thats responsible for this mess.

    April 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. The Queens IPOD

    CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider writes as if he's working for the Obama Administration. Blame everybody but Obama.

    Yet, Bill, your own story says a quarter of those polled blame Obama. That's a significant amount for someone whose only been in office five months. It's the 25 percent that realize that Obama's record, or lack of it, as a congressman, his economic fear-mongering, spending bills, and obese budget are a huge part of the problem.

    You should acknowledge Obama's role in this problem so it can be corrected.

    April 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Vic

    The American people will not start blaming Obama for the economy as long as he keeps telling the truth and shedding light on its state, along with realistic predictions of what is to come. We suffered through eight years of darkness and untruths so that by comparison, Obama is still considered a breath of fresh air.

    April 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Brian

    What are you talking about? The economy and stock market have been showing signs of life and started moving in a positive direction over the past three weeks! This president and his staff have gotten more real work done in the last month than Bush did in eight years.

    April 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Rob

    Hey, I see Fannie and Freddie are gonna be giving out 250 million in bonuses. Are the Dems gonna be denouncing them? Is Obama gonna threaten them? Is ACORN gonna be filling up buses to go protest in front of their headquarters?

    Didn't think so.

    April 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Independent chicago man age 25

    NOPE, I definatly won't blame him!!!!! He said this quotation awhile ago and those that did not here him or understand why people are losing jobs right now is because they have selective hearing and didn't hear the President warn us.

    April 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Scott the Independent

    NO we are not blaming our President. We know it took years to create this meltdown recession and will take at least two to see light at the end of the tunnel. Its reporting like this and the Zakaria opinion piece that has caused me to stop watching CNN. it is apparent there is an anti Obama undertone to your reporting irregardless of the facts. You station has been trying to drum up anti-Obama sentiment for months now and I'm about sick of it. Soon I will avoid your web sight altogether.

    April 3, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Mickie

    You can believe if the republicans talk, it will always be Obama's fault.

    April 3, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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