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. GOP puts "chri$t" in "chri$tian" since 60% of the GOP believes they should not care for those less fortunate!

    Losing 750,000 a month when the shrub left office and he would not even admit the recession was underway during his time, and in actuality it started in December of 2007!

    Sort of like the present day GOP which has YET to admit the last year of the shrub's reign of error was the prelude to the near depression dumped into President Obama's lap.

    And now they want the general voting public to return them to power?

    Why, s, they can complete their wish for "Amercia" to fail?

    June 14, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. anoel2005

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

    It is a sure WINNER.

    June 14, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Dale

    Of course we blame Bush, all good politicians blame someone else for the countries problems it's how they all stay in power. Always there to point the finger but never there to take the blame.

    June 14, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Lynn

    Coupling the Most and Moderate blame together – is not a fair or accurate way to poll. It is a loaded question. It is like asking – "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" What if most felt that he deserved moderate blame? Moderate blame is not significant, but putting it along side Most blame – it looks a lot more severe! Why didn't they just give four options, rather than two? I think we know the answer, don't we?!

    June 14, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    I wish he was still Pres......Obama sucks. Cash for clunkers....what a joke. Stimulas to get unemployment below 8%....whoops....wait, how about handling Iran directly....that worked. Two YEARS of a super majority and nothing done but push through a health law that will now be over turned and all you libs talk about is how Obama can't get anything done. Why didn't he do it when they had TWO FULL YEARS OF SUPER MAJORITY....and they get nothing done to help the economy yet all you libs do is blame Bush....

    June 14, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Burbank

    Bush deserves 85% of the blame. The mess he made of our country was so bad and so deep, that
    All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put the middle class back together again....
    Obama gets 15% of the blame for not being able to fix it, but actually it's not truly fixable. Our country will never be the same again.

    The Gorilla in the room that most people are not brave enough to point out: A lot of this problem is simply due to overpopulation. When techology eliminates the need for jobs, we don't need so many people to do them, hance more and more unemployment if the birth rate is not reduced.

    That will never change back the way it was, folks; so start getting very, very serious about not having so many kids. Think about the type of world you will be bringing them in to, there is already not enough to go around. Haiti is a good example of where we are headed if we don't wake up, only no one will be left to shower us with handouts.

    June 14, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Dave Ladd

    At least President GW Bush kept the blood on foreign soil. Wait til we see who ultimately suffers for a class war. When those with the fiscal means to protect themselves get tired of taking the blame for all the world's economic woes; when they lose their affinity for the rest of humanity, it may end up as "A tale of Two Parties".

    Right on! Make them rich boys pay!

    June 14, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Namejo

    Maybe bush and obama deserve a big portion of the blame ;but let's not forget Congress and the Senate they are just as much to blame.

    June 14, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Jim Hahn

    With Bush getting most of the blame for the current economic situation, it's amazes me the number of people that think (maybe they aren't?) that Romney can correct the situation by going back to the same policies that brought about the current economic situation. Is America getting collective insanity? The classic definition being doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome.

    June 14, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. JoltinJoe

    If Bush's policies were so strong that they are still unable to be overcome by a president though an entire term and by more than one congress, then statments like "it's still Bush's fault" make him one of the most powerful presidents in our history (whether that power resulted in good or bad).

    June 14, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Jim Hahn

    @Ron, Duh, Bush had a great economy to work with. Of course it was a house of cards. Obama had to spend trillions just to limit the damage that Bush wrought. Not rocket science.

    June 14, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. SokrMom

    And not just Bush. Policies the Republicans have pursued for 30 years or more such as union-busting, allowing companies to reneg on pension promises, and steadily lowering taxes on the rich while refusing even to lift the alternative minimum tax on the middle class, have gone a long way toward destroying the American middle class.

    June 14, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Bill

    What morons we all are. Blame one person for our economic problems. I blame the Congess (50%, Senate 30%, and President 20%) no matter who the president is from a Government Perspective. From an overall perspective, I blame Corporate America 80% and the Government branches 20%. Low employment and not high unemployment is why we have an economic problem in this country. Ron Paul said it is inflation that is the problem and he is right, but also the low employment is what has everything screwed up. Employment numbers need toi be increased in the Private Sector without lowering the employment numbers in the Government sector.

    There is too much high cost for Service Oriented organizations and not enough manufacturing jobs in this country. This country should be self sustained and rely less on the rest of the world for buying cheap and expensive junk, anyone can make that.

    June 14, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Bill

    dubya and the GOP nearly destroyed this country so they should get the blame. Even today we are still in a recession because of their failed fiscal/economic policies. It's these same failed GOP policies they are trying to push on us yet again now. America can't afford any more conservative fiscal policies. The GOP is better at filibusters than they are about deciding sound economic policies for America.

    June 14, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Patrick

    History shows he is to blame, and always will!

    June 14, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Todd63

    Burbank, the sky must be falling for you right now

    June 14, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. RoseMcB

    Yup. I believe in placing blame where it belongs. It's only been 3 years. People aren't stupid. They lived through it. Everyone knows what happened and who did what. Thanks to good ole Dubbya, our entire country nearly went over the economic Niagra Falls without so much as a set of arm floats. I'm just amazed we are doing as well as we are now, particularly when all this happened just as the global economy hit the skids. If it were up to me, Dubbya, Cheney, Rove, Rummy and that whole crew would be in federal prison.

    June 14, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    This is a FACT and it is the MAIN reason the republicans want you to believe the president is playing the blame game when in FACT he DID inherit a total mess and has done a good job trying to clean it up. Should the American people forget what this country was like when the president took over it would be the END of Willard's run and they know this. Keep HAMMERING away Mr. President because the American people deserve better than Willard and his twisted band of merry bandits.

    June 14, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Ann

    President Obama should stop blaming others for his inability to govern. He knew what was the state of the economy when he pushed his hope and change slogan. Everybody knows by now that Hillary would have been a better choice. Now is Romney. When you are in an economic mess, you need pragmatic leaders, not inspirational talkers.

    June 14, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Rep Tool

    31% republicans ... OBVIOUSLY...

    June 14, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Chumlee

    Why should George Bush not be blamed? He destroyed our economy and the middle-class; he took our standing in the world to the lowest of lows; he gave to his rich pals; he started two useless wars; he tortured people; he did an excellent job of putting our country in the toilet; he gave huge tax breaks to corporations – big oil, pharma, his Wall Street friends.

    George W Bush IS TO BLAME for destroying our economy

    June 14, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Dean

    The day the democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007, the day democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
    The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
    For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this:
    January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress. At the time:
    The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
    The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
    The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
    George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH
    Remember the day...
    January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.
    The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?
    Unemployment... to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
    Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.
    And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA
    And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie?
    OBAMA and the Democrat Congress
    So when someone tries to blame Bush..

    June 14, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Jack

    Let's see. When Bush left office our unemployment shot up to almost 10%. Now its down close to 8%. Bush ran two wars, one (Iraq) definitely unnecessary and gave everyone tax cuts. Fighting a war and putting it on the national credit card.

    June 14, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Nuihc

    After reading the comments from the left on these blogs, I understand why they are all for the socialist nanny state. They don't have the intellectual capacity to take care of, and have responsibility, for themselves. Thus, they must depend on the government for their very survival.

    June 14, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. rs

    The essential facts of the last 15 years haven't changed. Bush deregulated banking; Bush cut taxes radically for the rich; Bush started two wars (without budgeting for them,WITH tax cuts in place); Bush created at most 2 million jobs- those plus 6 million more were lost in the ensuing recession of 2008.

    We may FORGIVE Bush and by extension the GOP for their mis-deeds, but the BLAME is based in fact, and hence- permanent.

    June 14, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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