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. arithmetic is liberal

    Why would you expect a different answer to this question when you've been asking the same one since Jan 21st, 2009?

    The answer is this: All Americans are a lot smarter than the American media givens them credit for.

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. val

    What do think Americans are so stupid that Obama is to blame for this mess. The Job losses aren't Obama fault! This is the aftermath that started with Bush administration. Stop asking stupid question on the ticker. Cnn. It took long eights years to create this mess. I will give Obama at least 2 years or more to get us out of this mess.

    April 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Big John

    Nor should he receive any blame, Bush and his policies drove the country into the position it's in now and President Obama is doing what he can to bring it back but it will take more time. I believe we're headed in the right direction now under his leadership.

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIT

    I cant ever be MAD as hell as the DONKEYS. This economy was left in a Katrina mess by the same man that ran Katrina. How can I blame anyone else but Daffy Duck, Darth Vader and the Lord Sith.

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm going to blame him for getting the country back on track. That's good criticism.

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Col Kilgore

    You had to know the right wingnuts would start to blame Obama the day after he took office. That is what they do. People might want to head over to PBS website and watch the episodes of Frontline that lay out exactly what did happen to US economy under Bush. Nice video too of Bush and Junta ramming the second round of ill advised tax cuts for his rich pals through Congress, with a smirking Cheney casting the deciding non partisan vote. I always liken Obama to being handed the wheel of the USA Titanic...long after it hit the iceburg.

    April 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. wayne

    please explain why Obama could be blamed for the jobs market..?/

    where have you been for the last seven or eight years..

    good grief..

    April 3, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Sharon

    Only talking heads and delusional Republicans are ready to assign "blame" to a man who has been in office for 3 months for the continuing fallout from the previous 8 years. This is like attempting to race an ocean liner in a speedboat race–the oceanliner will not turn just because you ask it to do so–you have to wait a while for the response to start. the people who got us here should not start gloating now. that "alternative budget" that is more of how we got here? no thanks

    April 3, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. LM

    Even those who do not like to admit it, know in their hearts that it took eight years to create this mess, and we all know that it was definitely
    not President Obama!

    No one could be laboring as hard as he has to attack one problem after another, nor has anyone worked as hard as he to start to achieve all the campaign promises that he has made.

    I am firmly convinced that only once in a lifetime does someone come along who can take command like he has–with poise and confidence– and work so hard (not just for his own party, but for EVERY AMERICAN in this country)!!

    We need to give him a chance, stand with him to try the best possible solutions to see which ones work best. Not all will work, not everyone will be willing to support him, but already I see the stock market trying to stabilize, and already many of the hundreds of people I speak with all over the country weekly are telling me they see their companies picking up, and more orders are now starting to come in. Business IS picking up again!

    We just need to be patient, understanding, and exude confidence in our economy. It will revive, and with the prayers of decent people, our leaders (especially President Obama) will get us through this "trying
    time." And, we'll come out with a stronger economy because of it!

    Go Obama!

    April 3, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. 2pacolypse Now

    Super MOD

    You can't blame Obama for expansion of government because government grew faster and bigger under George W. Bush than under any other President in the history of this nation. Secondly, when there is a recession this huge and this deep, reducing the government and freezing spending actually makes the problem worse and gargantuan. We've gone through 8 years of increased government spending and size, while borrowing money to finance two wars, and allowing housing to create an unrealistic bubble that bursted so the most effective way to get ourselves out of this mess in the short term is government intervention. If we didn't want uncle sam in the mix then we wouldn't have been as careless and reckless as a natiion as we were under Bush. Now another Democrat is charged with cleaning up another Bush economic oil spill. A spill much more bigger from the younger Bush than from the older one.

    April 3, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Super MOD

    Agree with you bored1. Great analogy. Problem is we did not save up to prepare for a day like this and do not have the money to replace the engine. We are all going to have to walk until we can trim the budget and buy a new engine.

    April 3, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. nom deplume, esq.

    No way. Obama not only has cred, he has the machinery to recast his image in a way his predecessor could only dream of. In short, he has done a masterful job of wagging the dog. Rahm Emanuel is to be praised as the master political manipulator that puts Rove to shame.

    Rahm says don't let a crisis go to waste, and he hasn't. Execs at AIG got their retention bonuses? Whip up a firestorm to claw back their compensation. Got the attention diverted, then Obama looked statesmanlike when he pointed out the obvious constitutional shortcomings in the bill. Worked beautifully.

    Tomorrow, we will hear on MSM how the shooter in Binghampton was a right wing, skinhead, with a million guns in his trailer, and the drumbeat will roll for new gun control laws. Holder and Obama have their next crisis, and their next opportunity to wag the dog.

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Evan

    Ben said: 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.


    Ben, the Neocons need to understand that at some point Bush and the Republicans have to take responsibility for their mess. They need to take ownership of it, not lay the blame on Obama.

    Bush and his cronies are the ones responsible for this mess.

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. chelle

    Hey "Not Presidential" – he's in EUROPE not the Middle East, he's bowing to Saudi royalty – he's at a NATO meeting. Do you even know what NATO stands for??? Yikes – people like you are so scary!

    April 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. T from MO

    I blame those who could not listen past his forked tounge and voted for him – not for the state of the economy, the market has to fix that. I blame them for allowing him and the democrats to establish a framework on which all in this country will have to rely on the democratic party in the government for their livings. They don't want you to be rich. They don't want you to succeed without them. Why would you need them? They want you to rely on them to get the evil rich and give you what you think you deserve. Open your mind. Don't get stuck in the ideas that they give you about other political parties and refuse to attempt to understand. Americans can succeed without government help. Americans can pull themselves out of despair and we don't need "a great leader" to tell us how. Rely on ourselves.

    April 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Shari, NY

    Even President Obama himself did say that things would most likely deteriorate before a turnaround. Anyone who is proficient in comprehension should be able to figure out what this means. Yes, it is not pretty but at least as of this a.m. there is a little bit of good news about housing and stocks.

    April 3, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Susan in SC

    Ray, Ray – You are wrong. I live responsibly – pay my mortgage, pay my bills, pay my children's college tuition, work 40 hours a week, pay my taxes.... etc. And guess what? I blame the Bush administration. Obama could not stop the avalanche mid-crumble. When the snow stops rolling, he will be the first to grab a shovel and help rescue us. Bush lit the dynamite at the top of the mountain!!!!

    April 3, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Carl

    No one can blame him for the first few months, because it takes time to get this new administrations ideas rolling.

    Now, if it's April 2010, then the President better accept blame.

    April 3, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. SMJ

    @ray-ray: You are AN IDIOT! I pay my mortgage, taxes, bills, etc. I do not live beyond my means. My wife and I are BOTH public school teachers who get paid @#$% to teach American's children (and, in many cases, to be their parents). I do not or will not blame the President for our current financial mess. I blame the previous administration (or lack thereof). Why don't you DO SOMETHING for the common man rather than show how ignorant your are on blogs like this??

    April 3, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    I blame the President but not only him, I blame Bush, I blame Congress, I blame the entire leadership of this great nation who stood by and allowed this crisis to happen. This has been coming since 1973 everyone who has been out there in the real world knows the money we earn buys less year after year, everyone knows that our taxes go up year after year.
    And what is the plan to fix the crisis, more of the same, spend more, increase the debt, loose more middle class jobs. More government programs, more task forces, more spending and more spending.
    Country's do go bankrupt just ask the USSR.
    President Obama is playing the fiddle while Rome is burning.

    Print that CNN, it is the resurrection of Howard Beale! I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

    April 3, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. John from LA

    @ AnnMM-

    Why is it that Republicans are always at fault???-could it be that BO has to answer to ALL of us-I thought the Messiah was going to unite us.

    To all the Obamabots-STOP Blaming Republicans-WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!! That's when all this partisian crap will STOP!!!

    April 3, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. MD

    Anyone who reads these blogs knows that there are some folks already blaming him. Many actually started to do that well be for he got in office.

    Truth is, outsourcing of jobs is the real culprit. Until it is no longer profitable for large corporations to send jobs overseas, nothing will fix this mess and frankly, President Obama had nothing to do with the very bad decision to give them hugh tax breaks for essentually breaking the country...

    That my friends was something put in place within the last 10 years and we all know who was calling the shots then...

    April 3, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    @ Ben, who said "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."

    This is 100% true. The crux is that this should happen when it is appropriate to do so, not when you wish it to be so. I fully expect Obama to own his proposed solutions and policies, but I do not expect him to own the fact that we're in a heap of trouble...nor do I expect him to ever say that we should've continued with teh policies of the GOP that got us here in the first place. The appropriate time, however, is not now. If his policies fail or backfire, I expect him to hold himself accountable, both by changing his policies according to the feedback from reality and by saying "we haven't succeeded yet...we've had to make adjustments." If his policies work at fixing this mess, I expect him to take full credit and tell the yammering morons in the GOP to stuff it where teh sun don't shine.

    April 3, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Shooky

    Liberals HAVE to know how ridiculous they sound.

    They say it's too early to judge him, yet after every single thing he does they gush praise like he just raised the dead. If it's soon enough to judge him positively it is soon enough to judge him negatively.

    They say Republicans are unAmerican for opposing bailouts and being upset about running deficits up over $9 Trillion. I didn't realize party affiliation and not advocating crippling debt affected one's nationality.

    They say the stock market is not an appropriate gauge of the economy...until it goes up.

    It's scary how seriously they take themselves.

    April 3, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Reg

    Blame Obama? Okay let's blame him for choosing phools who
    believe in deregulation to head his Economic Team. How about
    advocating Single Payer Healthcare until he stated he'd run for
    President. Oh how about repealing the Reagan Tax cuts not the
    Bush Tax Cuts!

    This is all quite trivial compared to the bush crime family along with
    reaganomics have destroyed our Country! I know this Barack n Joe
    will not be deemed War Criminals during and at the end of their terms!

    April 3, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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