April 3rd, 2009
04:27 PM ET
9 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. Sniffit

    Will Americans start blaming Obama?

    This is the GOP's most fervently and dearly held wish and it is precisely why they want everything he is trying to do to fail and why they want nothing more than the entire country to suffer horribly until 2012.

    FACT: Economists and Obama and Geithner and a whole host of others whose opinions are respected on the subject have all said that we're not going to see a turn around or even stabilization until near the end of 2009 at best...NO MATTER WHAT WE DO. Moreover, we're seeing hopeful signs from the other statistics even tho the media wants to doom and gloom today's unemployment report into a big story to please the people paying them for advertising space. Keep feeding the GOPers' delusions tho CNN...it encourages them to keep doing and saying the things that are killing their party.

    April 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. JoycesVoice-Marshall, TX

    Things are bad, but lots of us are doing okay. We've become optimistic and started dong some things we put off because of the mess Bush left us. I remember hearing Fleisher say Bush inherited a recession in one of his media gaffs, but nobody knew it I guess. He definitely left us one after inheriting a surplus and the grand party of NO continues to try and undermine and fool the American people. I'm amazed that many of them are not more concerned about their political posture threatening their re-election. They want to try and steal the New York election in the courts again, in Texas they are trying to preclude some voters by trying to require more ID, and they want to deprive Minnesota of representation by fighting in the courts as they did for Bush in 2000, despite the American peoples vote. Look what that got us? Will somebody tell the GOP this is the 21st century and we voted for change. They've already forgotten November 4, 2008 and don't know what to do in 2010.

    April 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Eileen

    I guess when there's nothing to talk about you post this kind of hooey.

    I'm proud of my president and he's doing the best we can expect. I also thank god the president GW Albatross – the walking talking fart joke is no longer embarrassing our nation.

    April 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Rachelle

    once a week (at least) a ticker question with such a destructive against Obama slant is posed here. Why not just ask the question: What is taking so long for Americans to start blaming Obama. H ell why not just ask us When will you are begin turning on your President so that we can begin to stoke those flames of hate, and division. Last week it was he is overexposed; laughed when he was on a comedy show; is he doing too much, why is he not doing more? Wow! the haters have taken a B12 shot.

    April 3, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Kevin B

    The president has been in office for less than one fiscal quarter, who in thier right mind can blame him or anyone in his adminstration for an inherited economic clusterf*@K.

    It sounds like you folks up in CNN land are stoking negativity just to inflame the Obama haters.

    Don't worry they will take the bait...............They never disappoint when it comes to shoveling hate.

    April 3, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Some guy

    Will Americans gnash their teeth and whine when they don't get their way immediately?
    Have a nice day!

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. boered1

    some blamed him before he was in office why stop now?

    I hear people crying and wringing their hands over President Obama's budget and how much it will cost. To explain why the budget has to be so high let me put it in simple terms. For 40 years the "car of state" has had the oil light flashing on and off and nothing was done. A minor oil change or service could have corrected the problems but it was ignored. In October of last year the engine siezed up and now instead of spending $39 on an oil change we have to spend $3500 on a new engine plus towing cost

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    Yep and as long as he blame Bush the longer he show that he's really not in charge.

    April 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Ben

    The Libs need to understand that at some point Obama and the Democrats have to take responsibility for this mess. They need to take ownership of it, not lay the blame on Bush.

    April 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Not Presidential

    We are loosing jobs and Obama is overseas BOWING to Saudi Royalty. What weirdness.

    April 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. ray ray

    People who live responsibly (pay taxes, pay their mortgages on time, pay their bills)... THEY will blame Obama.

    Everyone else (welfare recipient, folks looking for a hand-out, bail-out, or some other type of financial free-bie) – they love Obama.

    April 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |

    The reality of it is sad but yes, the Nutt Cases out there will blame him for everything. They have wanted to do that before he entered the White House.

    My prayers and mace is with the first family because they will need it.

    April 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Lynn

    I totally agree with Brian Crooks' blog.

    Is CNN hoping our President fails? Have you done some polling that suggests that if he does your sagging ratings will increase??

    April 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Deb

    Only the conservative right-wing loons like Sean Hannity, Glen "the cryer" Beck, Dick Morris, Karl Rove...pretty much FOX News would blame President Obama

    April 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Bobbie in Maryland

    President Obama is "turning the ocean liner" around very well, thank you. Remember that this economic mess (which he inherited) is "not a speedboat."
    I trust him, & after the last eight years, it's a miracle to me that I have the opportunity to do so.
    GO OBAMA! We love you & we are proud of our President (our First Lady too!)

    April 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Ralph

    When things get worse, I WILL NOT BLAME President Obama.

    He is a good man at heart, but he's pugged into the system.

    I blame the Federal Reserve and it's ability to Counterfit money.

    I blame both sister party leadership of the Demopublican and Republicrats. for not honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution.

    We should have men like Dr. Paul as Treasury Secretary and abolish the Federal Reserve.

    April 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Lillie

    Our President is doing an excellent job and only a fool would believe that its his fault this economy is in this MESS!! And are there really people who're dumb enough to think Pres. Obama can fix a decade or more of a failing economy over night!! ummmm And where were naysayers/right-wingers when Pres. Bush was driving the country into the Grand Canyon??

    April 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Of course not. They have Bush to blame. They will blame Bush for everything for the next 20 years.

    Blame Obama? The guy is made out of teflon. Nothing is ever going to stick to him, even if something IS his fault.

    April 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Cliff

    I blame President Obama for the decisions he's made while he's in office which are clearly timed to take advantage of a downturn in the economy to achieve a left-leaning agenda. I have little confidence that he is working in the best interest of the country, I believe he is advancing initiatives to grow the government and enlarge our dependency class. The government's role in fixing the problem is to get out of our way – Federal support through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are largely what got us into this mess. I don't see anyone calling for Barney Frank or Chriss Dodd to resign.

    April 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. KS Dem

    Here is something to consider. In the 6 months prior to Obama taking office, the Dow plummeted almost 33%. The last two month, it's stayed relatively the same with less than a 1% increase. Sounds to me like he's done something right to stop the bleeding. Of course we know, Repub's are pretty quick to blame Obama for everytime the stock market goes down, but I'm sure they find someone else to thank for the spike in recent weeks.

    April 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Freed_From_W

    And how, exactly, is an economy created by the previous president's policies the current president's fault?

    Nice. Reporting the misinforming GOP talking points as news.

    So, does CNN = FoxNews now?

    April 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Evan

    Supermod, if you're going to blame anyone for expanding government, then blame Bush. He increased the size of the government so exponentially that it's absolutely terrifying. Obama hasn't expanded government.

    You do realize that Obama has reinstated rights that Bush illegally stole from the population, right? That was part of Bush's big-government capabilities.

    April 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. FreeNLovIT

    I'm still angry the ELEPHANTS havent paid off the 5 trillion dollars worth of debt left by W. So the answer is NO. I'm not mad at him.

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Some guy

    Jimmy the Greek, I'd rather see social welfare than corporate welfare.
    Have a nice day!

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. 2pacolypse Now

    People need to calm down. Rome wasn't built in a day and this mess took 9 years to create and it will take just as long to get out of. Heck, up until yesterday the stock market was up at 8000. The GOP ninkompoops were predicting it would fall below 6000. Obama is doing (and working feverishly hard for a new incoming president) whatever it takes right now to stem the tide and stabilize this mess. 50+ days in office is not gonna create miracles so give him his first term before passing judgement. Secondly, he has done more in his few months tdomestically than I can remember W doing in his first term. So it's not like the man isn't hard at work on this.

    Unless the GOP presents an alternative to the 19 page Trapper Keeper empty notebook they presented last week, and the even more preposturous spending freeze/more and more tax cuts bludget they rolled out of their hiney's this week, we need to give Obama the chance to fix it. Especially with the GOP basically intent on not coming up with any solutions or even wanting to help get the country out of this mess for fheir own political gain.

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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