Poll: Blame still goes to Bush for bad economy
June 14th, 2012
08:16 AM ET
2 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. 1crusader

    Yes, blame still goes to him and the rest of the GOP for voting for those programs, and not doing anything now to clean up a problem that it will take years to fixPresident Obama can,t do the job by himself.They are blaming him for something that he didn't create, and he needs congress to help him fix the economy..

    June 14, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Some odd statistics her in this survey but generally the idea we as voters forget quickly is totally blown by this research or poll. The intersting bit is that it is not just Bush who is blamed but his policies.
    I see only a more exaggerated version of bush policies and economics coming from Romney, Ryan, Boehner, Mc connel, and especially teaparty Republicans.
    I believe American voters will move to remove the gridlock big time this November and that it will be the equivalent Of bushes famous shock and awe in a political sense for Republicans especially if the 70 % poll stat above re Bush policies holds true just prior to election time.
    Regards,
    Hodgson..

    June 14, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. RINO Bil

    While I am no fan of Bush 43, I believe that the Republican controlled House and Senate deserve a lion's share of the blame as well. They failed to reign in Mr. Bush's wild spending just because he is from the same party. How many times did these GOP hypocrites raise the debt ceiling without any kind of protest? Put a Democrat in the Oval Office and they suddenly got fiscal religion. Republican Senators and House Members from 2000 to 2006 are just as guilty of trashing our economy as W is. I would like to see each and every one of them voted out of office come November.

    The past 12 years have shown that Democrats spend like drunken sailors, Republicans spend like drunken Democrats.

    June 14, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. RealityBites

    CNNMoney – The 5 myths of the great financial meltdown

    –There were plenty of reckless and immoral borrowers taking out mortgages they knew (or should have known) they couldn't afford. And yes, the federal government's zeal to increase homeownership levels was responsible for lowering lending standards. But the idea that the government is primarily to blame for the whole mess is delusional. It was the private market - not government programs - that made, packaged, and sold most of these wretched loans without regard to their quality. The packaging, combined with credit default swaps and other esoteric derivatives, spread the contagion throughout the world. That's why what initially seemed to be a large but containable U.S. mortgage problem touched off a worldwide financial crisis.

    June 14, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. arale norimaki

    Karl Rove claims Bush didn't blame Clinton

    Why Blame George W. Bush When We Can Blame Bill Clinton?

    Obama-era policies account for $1.7 trillion of the debt, and Bush policies for over $7 trillion,

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

    "President Barack Obama doesn't get off scott free..." The term is "scot-free." It refers to a tax, actually. The fact you don't know that tells us just how sloppy and careless your polls are. Who cares about polls? When they show most Americans believe Obama was born in Kenya, they certainly don't matter. Polls are not news.

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

    To elect Mitt Romney is to return to the Bush failed policies on steroids, as President Obama puts it the other day in Baltimore.

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

    It's very strange that so many Americans are ready to hand power back to the GOP. The Republicans could not make their intentions any clearer (make the rich richer, screw the poor), and yet people are are still ready to support them and vote for them. What's going on America???

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

    Not good news for Mitt Romney since he is pushing the same failed policies.

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

    In Bush case, the blame is well deserve. The irresponsible way by which he spend tax payer's money, making all his friends rich. History will judge Bush even worse once the dust settle. How he transfer (whether thought utter ignorance) wealth of the poor to the rich and transfer the debt from the rich to the poor. His was a corrupt presidency with greed as flavour of the day and compassion was a bad socialist ideal. I hope one day these guys pay for all the misery that have caused

    June 14, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Yep. He still gets the blame. Just like Calvin Coolidge knew if he ran for reelection (and probably won), he would have been blamed for the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and subsequent Depression, instead of Hoover. Unfortunately for his posterity, evidence has shown that Coolidge was aware of the impending financial disaster and did nothing to avert it. As a laissez faire Republican who did not believe in government intervention and who rejected Theodore Roosevelt's belief that the government's job was to look out for the people, he believed the unregulated markets would correct themselves. Obviously – they didn't. GWBush believed in the same philosophies, going even further by allowing financial institutions to pick which regulatory agency they wanted to "oversee" them. As they picked the most toothless one, there was no oversight. This resulted in the housing market bubble that led to the resultant crash in all the markets.

    For those who do not believe it necessary to study history, Franklin Roosevelt was actually in charge during the worst of our economic times. We were just starting to recover the economy when some stuff started in Europe that gave a boost to our manufacturing sector. Then the Japanese did something else toward the end of 1941 that gave us another boost. Given the damage to the economy caused by the laissez faire policies of the previous administration, and the Republican intransigence to finding ways to prevent it from happening again, I am not surprised at the problems President Obama has been having in getting the recovery going faster.

    Call me an old school New Deal Democrat if you would like – I believe we need something like the WPA and CCC brought back. This way we could get both the skilled and unskilled unemployed to work restoring our infrastructure and working on our environmental projects that could help with the problems of flooding caused by overdevelopment of natural drainage areas, or of the spreading of wildfires by elimination of the natural firebreaks.

    June 14, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. rbockman

    Of course, they hear the liberal talking heads and they believe it.

    June 14, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    A few thoughts come to mind:

    1.Americans rightly blame Bush for the worst recession in history.

    2. Americans blame Obama for not "fixing" the worst recession in history without help from
    the very same Republicans who helped create the worst recession in history.

    3. Republicans have spent the past three and one half years distancing themselves from
    the worst recession in history their policy making created.

    4. Republicans are very happy to vote for Mitt Romney, a man committed to once again enacting
    the same policies which gave America its worst recession in history - thus guaranteeing
    another such recession in our immediate future.

    June 14, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. Thomas

    It's a fact !

    Why wast time blaming a individual or persons who are void of responsabilaty for there repercussions..

    Romney , we can do the same thing again 2012 ?

    June 14, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. once upon a horse

    well I guess we Americans are just plain STUPID because you have so many on the right claiming that it's Obama blaming Bush for everything....so maybe the Gallup people just polled lefties and Democrats here. The mess we got into is going to take more than 3 years to get out of and I don't think McCain and Pailn would have done any better than Obama has tried to do. But then again McCain probably would have had a Congress more willing to work with him and not a Senate leader who's only goal was to make him a one term president.

    June 14, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    But according to republicans, the last three years of the Bush error, was Clinton's fault. Republicans are the most irresponsible morons, yet they will take no blame for unnecessary wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, TARP, and sky rocketing debt driving us to a near depression.

    June 14, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Bob

    Ya can't blame these guys...they're politicians...they must do this to pay off their campaign debts. I do blame the Americans that vote the crooks that created this mess back into power. It's ok to listen to what they claim...but VERIFY what they have done...with some FACT checking. Look at the money trails! Too bad we can't hire the "Good Guys"...we still must put in "The lesser of two evils"! Wanna buy a bridge?

    June 14, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. Bill

    Can not wait to see how Mittens spins this one. Most clear thinking people already know this. Our economic woes stem from failed GOP policies. End of story.

    June 14, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Core republican Values

    His crowning achievement, foisting George Bush Jr. on America, will be the heinous legacy of Karl "Adolph Eichmann" Rove.

    June 14, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Full economic collapse across the board? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
    – The Shrub

    June 14, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. king

    too bad that romney wants to bring back the bush policies on steroid, by partnering with wall street and china to push as much money into his campaign, to create a free trade policy with china, which will kill all preference to american workers by our corporations. how can we compete with 2 billion people, working for slave labor, on a level playing field. the repubs shout that americans are exceptable nations, but we are only exceptional, we work as one, if the repubs divide us up, and throw us into the pool with china, i dont know how exceptional we can be, knowing the chinese government have the chinese people back, and mitten is taking away government support away from its people.

    June 14, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. DrScott622

    Anyone that can do simple math know Bushy tanked the economy! One month after Obama took office Fox News would broadcast the following....40 banks closed since Obama......60 banks closed.....80 banks......give me a friggin break Fox! Why are Repubs so gullable?

    June 14, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Wired

    It's something all economists know. People seem to have no idea how much money we dumped into haliburton and hiring random mercenaries(black water).

    June 14, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. DrScott622

    Under Bush....war was for Profit! Under Obama....war is for Victory!! Just ask "Bin Sinking"!

    June 14, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Christian

    Both parties are to blame. The republicans are to blame for things like Medicare Part D and 2 military campaigns without funding; dems are to blame for blocking reforms back in 2006 when the first signs of housing issues began to surface at Fannie & Freddie. The hyper-partison culture of both sides are to blame for thinking about party rather than country. The American electorate is to blame for keeping these fools in DC for too long.

    June 14, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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