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. bluemax77

    No regulation on bank greed, two pointless ten year plus wars. To this day we’re still suffering abroad from this clown’s embarrassing and incompetent presidency. Who else would the blame go to..?

    June 14, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. reality@here.now.org

    Because it is 100% true. Any questions ?

    June 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. mane

    Bush bears a little blame. Much of the blame should be at the feet of the do-nothing-Congress, tea party and wallstreet.

    June 14, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. v_mag

    I don't want to see his head on a pike. I want to see his butt in jail. And Cheney's, too.

    June 14, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. The Film Professor

    Why is there even any doubt about this? W's tax cuts are still in place; he started 2 wars that have added trillions to the debt. He enacted the Medicare Drug Plan without paying for it, so year after year that policy also adds more debt. He took a surplus and blew it - his policies completely blew the surplus up - and his policies are the ones we are still trying to fix. It took over 12 years to dig out of the 1929 crisis; it may take us that long to clean up this mess.

    June 14, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. malcolm Spence

    Bush started two wars, one for conjured reasons. Wars are not cheap. As we now know. We will be paying financially and through the ruined lives of our soldiers for years.

    June 14, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Paul from Phoenix

    Blaming Bush needs to stop. A Joe Biden interview in Florida on September 29, 2011:

    "Vice President Joe Biden said in a live interview with Miami public radio station WLRN Thursday that the Obama administration – not the Bush administration – now has ownership of the struggling U.S. economy...Biden said it is 'totally legitimate' for the 2012 presidential election to be 'a referendum on Obama and Biden and the nature and state of the economy.'"

    Those were the VP's words when they thought things were improving. Now they re back to blaming Bush. Obama and Biden look more and more like whiners in over their heads.

    Here's a fact: Obama ran in 2008 saying that we were in the middle of the greatest economic threat since the great depression. He now ways it was worse then he thought. There is a major disconnect there. Either:

    1) He knew what he was saying, but his policies to fix the economy haven't worked, and he has no idea what to do now except to double down on his policies.


    2) He was just using that line to get elected, and when he got into office, his team was not prepared for the reality that we were that bad off.

    Either way, he shows that he is in way over his head. And when the Romney campaign gets hold of Biden's comments and starts running adds with that quote, Obama is going to have some explaining to do. You can't run a successful election blaming some past failed president who has been living in texas for the last 4 years.

    June 14, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. cathstar

    After 8 years of Bush, our country was headed for a depression. He inherited a surplus from Clinton and turned it into a deficit due to tax cuts (primarily for the rich) and two unnecessary wars. There was also no regulation of Wall Street during that period. Bush also instituted the Medicare Prescription Plan (Part D) which costs hundreds of billions per year. People who can afford to pay for their prescriptions should do so. People who can't afford their prescriptions can apply for Medicaid. This pricey program probably led to all the "ask your doctor" pharmaceutical commercials that we are subjected to since they are primarily geared to senior citizens.

    June 14, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Brad

    I don't blame him for the mortgage and banking crises, though I consider him a coconspirator. That stuff was brewing for a long time and just happened to come to a head under his watch as he ignored the signs and warnings like his predecessors. Iraq and Afghanistan though are all his and major contributors to our economic troubles. Even ignoring the deliberate deception from his administration perpatrated to get the country to invade Iraq, and the traitorous outing of one of our own cia agents, those have been two horribly mismanaged wars for most of his time in office and probably cement him as one of the worst presidents in American history.

    June 14, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Doozer

    *** Ray E. (Georgia)

    Absoultly not. The current economic mess is a result of 75 years of Big Liberal Social Programs that failed.

    1 – Not all social programs are liberal.
    2 – All of the social programs did exactly what they where supposed to do, so they did not fail.
    3 – Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    June 14, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    But wasn't Obama elected in 2008 to get the country back on track? Is 8.2% unemployment and climbing "back on track"? IS $5 TRILLION more in debt "back on track"?? Is the lowest number of people employed in the USA "back on track"??? Is a record number of home foreclosures and people on food stamps "back on track"???

    Is so then we need to GET OFF this Obama track and onto another one because the Obama track is the sure track to destuction.

    June 14, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. terry

    If Obama had turned the economy around, the way he said he would and could, and if he had waved his magic wand and made everything , including the economy, better, the way he said he could, then I would say yes Bush was the reason for the bad economy. But the economy continues to stink and appears to be getting worse, instead of better, and Obama continues to do nothing ( it's like he doesn't have a clue so he continues to blame others ) and what is trully amazing is people actually believe him. The economy will turn around one day, no matter who is President, and ever who is President will take credit. How Stupid!

    June 14, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. cali girl

    my vote: YES. I saw things start to fall apart in late 2006. Housing prices went up so high. I had bought my house in 2002 and within 5 years it had tripled in value. Even then I knew something was wrong with that, at some point it would have to break. And break it did, broken and desheveled.
    This year is the best year I have seen since 2006. Doing ok, hanging on, didn't lose the house and it is getting better. Am I better off than 4 years ago? YES, and I am better than 6 years ago. Bush gave us economic disaster, housing crashes, foreclose with no end in sight.
    If you had 8 bad years, how long do you think it would take to get back on your fee? Even in bankruptcy it is on you for 7 years. President Obama is wroking with the hand he was dealt. If it had been McCain, do you honestly think that it would be better?

    June 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Expat American

    Not a single Republican or Romney supporter will ever hold Bush and his Republican administration of liars, war criminals and killers responsible for the economy. Not a single one.

    June 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Doozer

    This is a response from somebody who cannot accept the truth about The Bush administration,
    then makes up a lie about the Obama administration.
    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 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. sky

    Independent 1st time voterr for Obama
    Republicans think with the way they treated Obama on day 1 in office, that the Ameican people will vote for Mitt. With that begin said, the hardest job in the world is begin President ,with the worst economy since the great depression. You would think that the congress would help the Presiedent out, instead they have done nothing yet everything in their power to hurt the President and the economy. Cutting jobs, Cutting Health Care, Barging Rights for Union workers, yet you want to give $ to the MILLIONAIRS to create job???.

    June 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Loathstheright

    As it should be, but....Bush should also be in prison for WAR CRIMES.

    June 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. angryed

    Of course Bush deserves part of the blame for this mess....everyone capable of independent thought knows Obama inherited a mess...but what is truly funny is the liberals inability to place ANY blame for our economic woes at Obama's feet...delusional behavior at its best

    June 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. anoel2005

    I hope Obama keeps the "Blame Bush" mantra going.

    It is a sure LOSER.

    June 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. garc

    Unfortunately, he still DESERVES the blame. America is the most ADD planet on earth. It is impossible to not only fix, but reverse 8 years of bad economic policies in 4, yet people are considering voting in someone who would return to those same policies...! out of lack of memory and wanting near-instantaneous, miraculous results. The invisible hand of the market gave middle-class america the finger, and we want to go right back to letting the richest, fattest cats get richer and fatter and the rest of us disappear.

    June 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Ron in California

    All of you blaming Bush for the debt get over it. Bush took eight years to run up 4.9 Trillion. Obama has run up 5.1 Trillion in debt in under 4 years. At this rate you're looking at another 5+ trillion if he is reelected. Please don't.

    June 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Fearless Freep

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

    You Republicans always forget to add the two unfunded wars back into the books.
    Bush started two wars off the books.
    As soon as Obama put them back on you blamed him for the debt.
    Its called "selective memory".

    June 14, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Bill

    While I agree Bush deserves most of the blame, Obama shoud get his walking papers in November as he has a social agenda and doesnt seem concerned with the economy. You cannot put out a fire by standing around watching it. Fool me once. Obama wont fool me again.

    June 14, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Hoo Myself

    America is the engine that drives the world economy.
    George Bush threw a monkey wrench into the engine.
    When Obama pulled the monkey wrench out, Republicans started screaming,
    "There it is, proof Obama did it".

    June 14, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. w l jones

    Mr. Bush Adminstration just happen to fall under the twenty year slow down economic plan! regardless who were in office at time they would suffer the same fate. Please the man have suffer enough thereby he deserve a break like every body else. Bless.

    June 14, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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