Poll: Blame still goes to Bush for bad economy
June 14th, 2012
08:16 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Blame still goes to Bush for bad economy

(CNN) – He left office more than three years ago, but former President George W. Bush is still the target of most Americans' blame for the current state of the economy, according to a survey released Thursday.

The poll from Gallup asked Americans who was to blame for the economic problems currently facing the United States. Sixty-eight percent said Bush deserved either a great deal or a moderate amount of blame, compared to 31% who said the former president deserved not much or no blame at all.

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President Barack Obama doesn't get off scott free - 52% said Obama deserved the blame, with 48% saying the current occupant of the Oval Office wasn't to blame for current economic conditions.

Gallup's survey comes amid renewed anxiety among Americans about the economy. May's disappointing jobs report, paired with Europe's debt crisis, have many voters wondering whether America is still in economic recovery.

On the campaign trail, Obama often says his administration inherited a bad economy and worked to stem job losses and prevent a depression. The survey from Gallup indicates that a majority of Americans agree with him that current economic conditions are linked to the policies of the previous Republican administration.

However, with the economy consistently ranked as the issue at the forefront of voters' minds, Obama is still facing a tough sell of his own performance as president. A poll released Wednesday indicated a majority of independent voters – 54% - have an unfavorable view of Obama's economic plan. Forty-seven percent said the same about Republican challenger Mitt Romney's plan.

Bush has consistently been blamed by Americans for the economic problems that have plagued the country since he left office in January 2009. Six months after Obama took over, 80% of Americans polled said Bush deserved a great deal or moderate amount of blame. In August 2010, a year and a half into Obama's presidency, 70% of Americans polled still assigned blame to Bush for the economy.

Since then, little has changed in Americans' "blame assessment." Throughout 2011, roughly 70% of respondents placed more blame on Bush than Obama for the current economic conditions.

When broken down by party, Republicans and Democrats predictably assign greater blame to presidents of the opposite party. However, Republicans are more willing to blame Bush than Democrats are ready to blame Obama.

Forty-nine percent of Republicans said Bush deserves a great deal or a moderate amount of blame for the economy, compared to only 19% of Democrats who say the same for Obama.

Gallup's poll was conducted by telephone from 1,004 adults between June 7-10. The sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Economy • George W. Bush • President Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. The GOP should pack up and leave

    It was his fault. It was his administration's fault. Why shouldn't he get the blame?

    June 14, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. Toad

    Can America survive another Republican president?

    President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent.
    Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.
    Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.
    Vice President Dick Cheney also leaves office amid negative perceptions, as his approval rating stands at just 13 percent.
    How soon people forget

    June 14, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  3. Toad

    Of course Bush is the blame who didn't know that? Bush left this country in shambles!

    June 14, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |

    The blame should rest with him. 2 UNPAID for wars, a Medicare prescription drug plan that was UNPAID for, UNPAID for tax cuts which were due to expire already and the housing bubble which exploded which sent us spinning in a downward spiral where it looked like we were going back into a depression. We call this recession, the Great Recession. We should have been calling it a depression from the very beginning because that's what it was. And let's not forget, we were attacked under Bush. OBL's plan was for the U.S. to go to war so we can spend unequivical amounts and eventually go bankrupt. He succeeded at the bankrupting the country part.

    June 14, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. mm

    Well, the massive mess Bush created WAS at historic levels. No other American president has ever come close to that. History will remember him badly – as it should. We never want to go back to the type of mess he created again.

    June 14, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. rla

    Most republicans are realists and can blame Bush - now if the democrats would just get their heads out of the sand and stop being elite ideologues we would get somewhere

    June 14, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...And he should also get FULL credit for killing thousands of innocent civilians and military needlessly by lying us into war with Iraq.
    Yes. Give him credit for that too.

    June 14, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. SafeJourney

    The cause of the economic downturn was the Republican policies and the majority of Americans know it.

    June 14, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    Gallup – Scallops – I'll go for the Scallops!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    June 14, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  10. therealsmiley

    President Obama will get 4 more years to correct the mess Bush made.

    June 14, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Absoultly not. The current economic mess is a result of 75 years of Big Liberal Social Programs that failed. The latest is the Housing Mess allowing people to get a morgage without the means to pay for it. It was democrats that forced the banks to make risky loans. Please wise up people. And it looks like things are going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Over the years people voted for the politicians that invented this fiasco. Sorry but it is people that caused the economy to fail. You voted for it, you got it.

    June 14, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  12. Excalibur

    Bush didn't sign Gramm leach into law, Clinton did. Bush just continued the deregulation the got us here.

    June 14, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  13. DJ

    It may have started with Pres. Bush, but it has been over three years and nothing has really changed. With this amount of time passing, we should place the blame on who is currently in charge!!

    June 14, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  14. FedUp

    When Obama said that the recession was over during the summer of 2009, this became his economy. He can blame Bush all he wants, but the problems belong squarely on his shoulders.

    June 14, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  15. greg

    These poll numbers reflect how out of touch with the facts many Americans are. The follow up question should be: Do you know what the Community Reinvestment Act is?

    June 14, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  16. onlyfacts61

    Americans seem to think our President is "The King", that he has absolute power. I have no doubt when the economy "crashed" Bush asked his advisors, "what the hell happened" and they said, "mortgage default swaps" Bush probably said, "a who a what?". Many factors affect our economy and many are global. If you look at the economy on any accurate graph from 2000 to 2012 and just add dates without presidential names, the picture is very clear. It's obvious the Republicans don't like the picture, because they have admitted, they want Obama to fail. They will lie all day long to try to mislead Americans into thinking Obama has made the economy worse. If only all of us would research the facts prior to forming an opinion. And if only we quit treating our party as if they were our favorite football team who needs to win at all costs, we might be able to control our out of control politicians into doing what we want instead of them doing what they want. As long as faux news and rush are around, this will never happen!

    June 14, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Worst President in U.S. history...PERIOD!

    June 14, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. Bush League

    Enough with the continued 'Bush this; Bush that' blame game....Although the policies of that administration, and the three previous administrations, allowed this to happen, the current crisis is more in the hands of a 'Do Nothing' Congress.

    Whereas, Congress, in the past, has found ways to work together – at least in part – to get things done, the recent congressional assemblies have done nothing more than 'stonewall'. The word COMPROMISE has completely left the vocabulary of BOTH parties, and if someone has the backbone to stand against the wishes of his/her party, that person is ostracized, often in the mainstream media.

    Incalcitrance, and an unyielding desire to keep the President from accomplishing anything positive for the country, is killing this country. It is long past time to start acting like the adults they are and get things done, rather than children on a playground fighting over a toy. America is NOT a toy, and her people are not 'little green army men' to be played with.

    For the record....I am a registered Democrat who votes for the person/people that I believe will do the best job for the country/state/municipality, whether they be Democrat, Republican, Independent, or "OTHER".

    June 14, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. aaron

    Typical Democrats...cant take responsibility for their failing economy. If NOBAMA gets re-elected and the economy is STILL in the tank 3 years from now, is it STILL going to be Bush's fault? Hell, blame it on Nixon....that makes just as much sense.

    June 14, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    I'd bet that most of the 31% who say Bush doesn't deserve any blame for the bad economy were home schooled.

    June 14, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. KCRick

    Yeah, because most of the people don't do their homework and listen to this administration's rants everyday about Bush. I saw a speech yesterday where Obama plain flat-out lied about the numbers meaning every problem he has stems back to the Bush Administration. No acknowledgement that his party controlled Congress since 2006. No acknowledgement of how he as more to the deficit than any other President in history. In fact you could add up the first 213 years of this nation, and Obama exceeded their combined deficit in 3.5 years.

    June 14, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. Dadster

    Of course the Bush administration is to blame! The economic disaster handed down to President Obama was like becoming the new plant manager of a dam that had just burst. Nothing can be done until the water has settled. I find it interesting that the Republicans want to make the President accountable starting at day one of his presidency, but refuse to make President Bush accountable for 9/11. But then again, I never knew Hypochrisy was a family value.

    June 14, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  23. Greg

    Wow...so I guess all of the people who say...stop blaming Bush are in denial. So wake up and stop blaming Obama...Its good to see that the MOST Americans at least see that Bush and the Republicans caused this mess. Lets hope that the same Americans remember this in Novemeber. Mitt Romney was terrible in Massachusetts as Governor and will be terrible as President. He is a puppet for big business and Repulibots.

    June 14, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Mitt

    Bush tanked this country and M.R. will do the same and walk a way with more $ flowing from his Swiss bank accounts!

    June 14, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. BLKMANinAmerica

    WOW.................why on earth is the TRUTH so hard for the American media to accept. GWBUSH & company are to blame for the World wide bad economy people. This is soooooooooooooooooooooo proof the wealthy and connected DO NOT MAKE GOOD POLITICAL 'leaders', but repuks are sooooooooooo in DENIAL and have told so many LIES it's just hard for them to accept the TRUTH.

    June 14, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
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