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. len

    when is he giong to stop campaining and focus on the job at hand..?? he spends more time with the song and dance numbers than at the job. this will be all about his administration very soon . obamanuts beware. every prez has had his scandals , and this one will be no different.

    April 3, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. JR

    I still support the prez

    April 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Sooooo, if everything fails, will they start blaming Obama? GOP enters stage left and says "no time like the present!"

    But if everything works and he fixes this mess, will the GOP thank him, admit it was wrong and congratulate him on a job well done? THAT is the more important question. Everyone always blames the president...it comes with the job...but if it all works for Obama, will we see the GOP finally recognize and accept the message we sent on November 4, 2008? Or will it continue with the denial dance?

    April 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. michaelam

    I am behind you 100%, Mr. President. No way is our situation your fault and no way will the it change in less than three months. Keep up the great job. It appears that no matter what you do or try to do, the obstructionists are going to comment one way or another. Too bad they couldn't put their energy to a more positive use like, oh, trying to realistically solving the mess they created?! No, that would be way too logical. They would rather sit there with their fingers in their culos and whine.

    April 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. jengoescrazy

    At this point, it's Obama! No question about it.
    He can go on Leno, laugh and act like a 7th grader during a World Leaders' Summit photo session and embarrass us, but the Democrats will just say:
    "Oh, he's just so wonderful, he couldn't possibly do ANYTHING wrong". If there's a problem with our economy, it has to be GW Bush and the Republicans.
    fyi; OBAMA IS FAR FROM PERFECT! Get a clue, Dems! He's going to spend us out of Capitalism and straight into European style socialism.
    Him and Pelosi, what a pair of Credit-spending loons! With our children and grandchildren's money no less!!!!!!

    April 3, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Dave NYC

    Jeez the guy has been president for only two months, only moron would think the he can fix all our problems overnight.

    April 3, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. bk

    Its time to stop blaming Bush and face the fact that Obama is spending us into bankruptsy. The jobs are going to continue to go away. Why would the rich want to invest over here. Obama has started a class war. Did you ever get a job from a poor man?

    Obama is selling us out to the EU letting them over see our banks and what bonuses CEO's should get. Say good bye to the USA super power. Obama is dummie down Americans and some are just dumb enough to let him.

    April 3, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. chris ewen

    This "report" is sensationalist at best...a provocative negative headline, followed by a small "not likely" halfway through the article. I think that if you're questioning responsibility around here you should look in the mirror and think a bit before open your mouth and/or type away online.

    April 3, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Brad

    According to Republicans, the financial crisis was all Obama's fault BEFORE he even was sworn in as President...especially the stock market. Obama has just been President for barely 2 months and they can't wait to blame him because the economy hasn't been fixed yet.

    When 9/11 happened, it was all Clinton's fault. Never mind the fact that Bush had been president for 8 months.

    You can always tell when Republicans are in trouble, they always try to blame the Democrats.

    The party that urges personal responsibility NEVER takes responsibilty for its own mistakes and failures...and I will never respect those hypocrites until they start doing so.

    April 3, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. awaitingmoderationbyCNN

    AnnMM@are you saying that Republicans, those who work for a living and pay the taxes are not real americans. I have a tough time believing that. What a hateful despicable thing to say. The ones who defamed and defiled our last president are the real americans? Those are the same people who believe the crap George Soros, the unions and ACORN put out. I served 4 years in the military, paid more than my fair share of social security, medicare and taxes and now some leftist twit says I am not a real american. God liberals are horrible people.

    April 3, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. barbara

    Pres. Obama has my vote. I believe he was sent to us just in time. Any more of the Republicans agenda would have put America down the tubes. If Obama does not get this country on the right track it will not be for lack of trying. He has done more in the time he has been in office than has been done in years. A new way of thinking and doing business is in order. He is the right man for the job. The Republican will be well advised to put a sock in it. The look like idiots. The country has finally realized what that party is all about. Themselves and Big Business. and to hell with the little guy.

    April 3, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    @ Cliff, who said "I believe he is advancing initiatives to grow the government and enlarge our dependency class. "

    Really? Why? You people are great at spewing conclusory statements about what he is doing, even though they are baseless, misinformed and shine your ignorance like the sun...but you never give reasons or justifications for them. Could it be that there are none? Could it be that going that one extra step towards rational thought scares you because it might lead you to realizing that you have to abandon your infantile narrow-mindedness?

    April 3, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Re: The Real Culprit

    NO, we will not blame Barack because we know who the real culprit is–George W. Worst President Ever Bush.

    April 3, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Bob in Pa

    He will bankrupt us all Comrades. That I can blame him for. There was no need for all this mess.

    April 3, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Why should Americans blame Obama? It's obviously the fault of moron Bush and his rotten 8 years of pro-war, pro-oil, pro-corporate America policies... He never did a single thing for the average American. A rotten president and a war criminal.

    April 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. mercedes gales

    It's sad that CNN want the american people to blame president Obama for this mess that BUSH created.. CNN is turning out to be just like the republican party.. nothing but negative tale about our president..

    April 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    @ wayne:

    Businesses look forward when jobs are cut, not backwards. Over 2 million jobs have been cut since the election.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but this tells me businesses are looking at the Obama agenda and aren't liking what they see.

    April 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. leon

    Some guy

    You do not know what you are saying.

    We Americ ans need to start supporting the idea of a third party not aligned to Democrats or Republicans

    April 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Diana NJ

    NO... the people that can think know he is not to blame..

    April 3, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Miss Lead

    Of couse there will be those who will find fault at anything and everything President Obama does or does not do. But people with an IQ above that of a canary will realize that President BHO inherited the worse economic crisis since the 1930s and on top, two wars.

    Miss Lead
    APO

    April 3, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. Chris

    Wow, we have forgotton President Bush had a democratic Congress. I guess we have short memories. In the end, the AMERICAN PEOPLE must take responsibility not just the politicians. Remember, Democrats and Republicans are elected by the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Until we all take responsibility (i.e. buy houses we can afford, don't spend on credit you can't afford, etc.), nothing ANY politican can do will make a difference.

    April 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Remo............Texas

    I blame Clinton for pushing sub-prime loans with Freddie Mac in 09/93 and Graham for letting banks get too big. I also blame all goverment for being asleep at the wheel, no matter who was driving.
    As for Obama, he needs to stop selling cars, and meddling, or is that, micro managing, private business. He needs to get off Air Force One and take a bus tour through the country and really see how everything in government has hit us.

    April 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. skip

    Yep, some already do. which I think isn't fear but, this is the game he choose and he's got to take to good with the bad.

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

    John from LA,

    “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”. I thought so too, but I guess I failed to take into account that people like you would rather die than to give him a chance.

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

    Loosing jobs? Army is recruiting 18 to 42 years of age. Sign up get a cash bonus get assisted to finish school get a career in the army not necessarily a combat soldier. Guys take the opportunity where it is available!!!!!!!!! I am not a recruiter by the way. It s time to stop eating too much pizza and waxing fat, it is time to loose some weight go to the army basic training when you are light enough to do several push ups per two minutes and stay strong and healthy and employed!!!!!!!!!!Half a loaf is better than nothing at all

    April 3, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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