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. Mississippi Mike

    I already have started blaming Obama, was I supposed to wait? Things have only gotten worse since he moved from the "Office of the President Elect" to the Oval Office. Investors are stashing money under their mattresses, businesses are laying off workers and our national debt is sky-rocketing. The Saudi's said he is just like Bush and he has insulted the UK's leaders 4 times in the last couple of weeks. What has he done right?

    April 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Get Real.

    "There was no need for all this mess..." Then why did President Bush create it or allow it to happen?? Bush planned on handing over the problems to who ever succeeded him and that could have been McCain/Palin just as well.

    The President has not been in office for 100 days yet. The challenges are monumental. And the MSM is trying to make up for giving Bush the benefit of the doubt on the war – now they are pretending to be "tough" and do "real investigative reporting." Ha ha ha – just fear mongering ...

    April 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. revolution

    Since Obama has been out of the country and not talking to the American people the market has gone up.
    Any chance he could stay out, till the Market comes all the way back and I get my money out?

    April 3, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. america's fault

    This is all Bush's fault.
    B.O will remind us over and over and over again the next 4 yrs.
    And the main stream media will back him up.

    April 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. MdD

    How about assigning some blame where it really belongs....on the Democrat controlled congress. They have been in charge for well over two years now. Led by the likes of Kennedy, Dodd, Schumer, Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Dingle, Boxer, Waters, and the list goes on. How come the pollsters never seem to include congress when assigning blame of this mess? . They actually write and vote on the budgets and how money is spent.

    April 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. John from California

    CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider should wait until Wall Street closed before he began his doom on the economy.

    The American people know full well where this economic disaster came from and that was eight years of Bush deregulation and corruption aided by neglect of enforcement by the republicans.

    President Obama will lead us out of this economic disaster but, it will take more than the 90 days he's been in office. I'm willing to give the President and his fellow Democrats eight years to reverse the republican mess.

    April 3, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Smoosie

    YES! I will blame Obama – wake up! He is steering our Country toward Socialism every day. And don't forget while blaming Bush, you had the same stupid Democratic Congress sitting

    April 3, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. jeff in atlanta

    For those of you who say it took 8 years to create this mess, it only took 2. The last 2 GWB was in office. Oh yeah, that's when dimocrats took control of congress.

    April 3, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. matt

    It's not a question of "Will" Americans blame Obama, but rather "When" will Americans blame him. At some point, Obama has to take ownership of the economy, and the wars, and the foreign affairs and everything else. He has already put his fingerprint on the Afghan War...that is all his baby. And with the stimulus spending, and the increased spending for this fiscal year, and the budget for the new fiscal year, the economy will be his soon too.

    If it all succeeds, congrats to him. If not, watch out.

    April 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Samilton

    No. His adminstration did not create this mess. It's going to take time, skill, and wisdom to get us out of this mess

    You people appear to be looking for President Obama to pull a rabbit out of a hat!!!!!!

    No magic show here – time, patience, skill and wisdom.

    That's it.

    April 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Why blame Obama ?he didn't push for deregulation like the republican's which led to all this. By the end of Obama's first term the deficit will be wiped out, and obama will go down in history as the greatest President in US history.

    April 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    You know, President Obama can't be blamed for what GWB took 8 years to do and since I feel that he is trying to fix the mess, even if he does not fix the economy completly I could not blame him for it. He is trying new and different things and that's more than anyone else has offered other than the same old things.

    April 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Angela

    I just do not understand the eagerness the desire to lay blame on Obama for the economy. Even if everything he proposes and hopes for does not work, he will still not be the blame for the shape of our economy. The decline in job growth and finance developed because of weak business structure caused by deregulation and greed for the past decade. If you are a republican....Is it that Bush and the republican party stinks so badly that you feel if one holds Obama closely, he too will stink? We that voted for him see the lunacy...so it is that I assume you are targeting non-voters and independents with this foolishness.

    April 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Sniffit

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

    Sorry, but businesses do not cut jobs solely because the POTUS has a certain policy position or because Congress enacted certain legislation. Down-sizing happens in response to economic, fiscal and market realities, not because of fear, policy disagreements or political wrangling. As a GOPer, you should stick to your own theories, which would tell you that profit is what matters...the bottom line...businesses do not shrink themselves, and thereby shrink their profits, solely because of a political agenda.

    April 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Greg in Colorado

    I don't blame Obama I BLAME the people that voted Bush in twice. That is who we should blame.

    April 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Shirley in California

    Not this American. When you are sending billions of dollars each month OUT of YOUR country INTO ANOTHER country to destroy it and then to rebuild it-this is the result = a broken economy and a huge deficit. I will patiently wait until this mess is fixed by the president.

    April 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. america's fault

    Why are liberals only patriotic when there party is in charge?
    For 8 yrs it was bash america ,bash the prez for everything NOW it's the total oppisite. Be patriotic, respect the prez, support the admin. or you are unpatriotic. This Independent is always PATRIOTIC unlike the hypocrits on these blog's I do not put my party above my country that is the real problem within this counrty. Admitting when YOU are wrong.

    April 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. EThorne

    First, if the Democrats would like to have the Republicans quit assigning blame then quit blaming Mr. Bush in such a nasty way. Did Mr. Bush do everything right, no. But, the financial crisis isn't just his fault, you can thank all of us, and the Republicans and Democrats and banks...etc. It is time we took a little responsibility. Second, it is important that we give some of the measures time to work; however I don't think it is wrong to ask WHY congress keeps giving more and more money away like there is an endless pot. I would like to see them be a bit more concerned with how they are spending the money.

    April 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. arithmetic is liberal

    Shooky April 3rd, 2009 5:08 pm ET

    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.

    Yeeeeeeah... in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 when we leveled the deficit complaint against Bush for giving his oil buddies tax cuts, we were called unAmerican and unpatriotic and spawn of Satan, and communists, and socialists...

    ...by Republicans.

    And while turn about isn't nescessarily fair play, I just spent 8 years having MY patriotism questioned by Republicans.

    April 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Sandy

    Today is April 3rd, so he's been president for almost 4 months, not 2. But as I've been saying, they guy can't just snap his fingers and fix all the problems instantly – he needs a little time, you know?

    Bush was president for 8 years, and he did his best to do as much damage as he could, right up to the last day he left office, passing things he know would be roadblocks for Obama going forward.

    bk – as far as jobs that are going away – they have been going away for 20 years, outsourcing is not something new that started under Obama. It was in its heyday under Clinton, and so many of these people wanted to make his wife president. In addition to the outsourcing, we have also been importing tens of thousands of foreigners a year from India, China and other countries that have been coming here and taking high paying jobs in telecommunication, computers and tech – again, for over 20 years. That program was started by Rick Santorum in PA.

    With all the jobs being shipped overseas and millions being brought here from overseas, we wonder why there are no jobs? Duh.

    April 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Biased

    Will anyone blame Obama for anything? Of course NOT...he can do no wrong, in the eyes of democrats or most of the media because they can't hold themselves to say anything against him yet their blind allegiance to making sure he was elected gets tarnished, even though he himself said on video he would not run for President because he wasn't qualified for the job. What Bush would have been crucified for, Obama gets praise. What president has the nerve to tell people to tighten their belts and be fiscally responsible while he party hearties with weekly cocktail parties? Has he had time much to even bother getting down to being presidential between appearances on Leno and the Sunday round talk shoes? I believe President Obama has become the new celebrity cult figure that can do no wrong but unfortunately they can't seem to remember he is supposed to be the "President" not the star of the day facing you from every magazine rack in the supermarket.

    April 3, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Jasmine in Germany

    Mr. Scheider, you are my favorite political analyst at CNN, you are a gentleman and always maintain diplomacy and wisdom. It doesn't make sense for anyone to "blame" (U.S. Americans tend to do this especially well if things don't go their personal way). We all know that the responsibilty has been with exactly those officials we have selected via vote and their designated cabinets and appointments. Unfortunately, these officials have been partially asleep on the job/switch, unfuturistic, lazy, partisan, and have been operating within the cozy buddy system (which includes those in charge of finances and the banking system), thus allowing a breakdown. It's very sad for the U.S., which prides itself on some modern democratic ways. Conclusively, our country has shown itself to be rather corrupt. Obama has revived "of the people, by the people, for the people". Obama is with the times and working forward into the future, towards an improved future. One would think that that would be characteristic of a "world leader" and the U.S.A., but that hasn't been the case for many years. Many U.S. Americans do not see the forest through the trees", Obama does. No, U.S. America may not blame Obama, if they do, they will show the world that they are aren't very smart, more importantly, that they are unable to lead.

    April 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Kevin

    Let me set the record straight for my right-winged, conservative, Republican friends for a moment. Clinton had the financial problem licked during his 8 year watch, putting us in the good to the tune of 1 trillion dollars, then George the second comes, AND FOR EIGHT YEARS SOLID, he virtually bankrupted the country. As a RESULT, Obama inherited the Mother Of All Worst Case Senarios on multiple fronts when he won the presidency and the backlashing effects from the PREVIOUS administration. I had no delusions about what was going to happen, and I expect the jobless situation to get worse before it gets better, and I'm also aware that this is going to take time to clean up this mess, and, yes, I'll say it again for your enjoyment and pleasure, THAT BUSH CREATED!!!!

    April 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Rose

    No, Obama is not to blame for this entire mess but neither is Bush. Look at the democratic congress the last two years of the Bush Administration. People like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and C. Schumer all said that Fannie and Freddie were in good shape. They were warned by Bush, Greenspan and McCain and they chose to do nothing, they are to blame for most of this mess this country is in.
    It was the Dems that pused these home loans through.
    I do blame Obama for not keeping many of his campaign promises like he was going to read line by line on the stimulus package, I don't think he read one word of it and neither did any of our elected officials except Nancy Pelosi and Dodd who likes to change things to suit his needs.

    April 3, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Alex

    Bush's 8 years of disasters could take years for even the smartest human in the world to fix.

    April 3, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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