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. Bill, NY

    Whenever I see a vet missing limbs I think of Bush & Cheney. Whenever I see a bread line 1/4 mile long I think of Bush & Cheney. When I think of September 2008 with an index close to 6,000 I think of Bush & Cheney. When I see the total obstruction of a sitting president by a Congressional majority whose sole goal is to make sure the current president serves only one term no matter the damage to citizens of this country, I see politicians unfit for public office.

    June 14, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. commentable

    57% of the people believe that 92% of answers to surveys are made up 16% of the time by 47% of the respondents

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

    Ron in California,
    Do you know that the 2009 deficit, the first trillion-dollar deficit, belonged to Bush? The 2009 budget was passed before the 2008 election. Do you know that the deficits in 2010, 2011, and 2012 were/are smaller than the 2009 deficit, even though the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (we still have troops in Iraq), and Medicare Part D are still around? Bush-era policies are still causing deficits today. That is why people still blame Bush.

    June 14, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. lgortman

    Give me a break. Where is Obama's CHANGE! Oh, thats in this years election when he has to change his living residence.

    June 14, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Stephen

    I personally blame Rutherford B. Hayes.

    June 14, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Bristol

    Who else can you blame? Bush's policies (or lack there of) created the situation. Maybe there's another birther possibility....maybe Obama was actually president in 2007 and 2008 when the great slide began.

    I guess you could blame Cheney since he was the puppetmaster. Maybe Snooki caused it too?

    June 14, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. rob

    As usual the fact that the Dems controlled congress starting fron Jan 2007 through the end of W's term is never mentioned. While W was a big spender it was after Jan 2007 that it really took off. Second. While we were hurtling toward the financial meltdown of 2008 that everyone blames on Bush, it was those same Democrats who were in charge of oversite of the many Departments in the Govt that ignored the warning signs and resisted regulating Fanny and Freddy. When Obama was inaugrated, the Dems picked up super majorities in both the House and Senate. Thats when the real spending started and continues today whith no plan to slow or tackle our huge debt problem.

    Curious why these facts never show up when the liberal media talks about blame for the economy.

    June 14, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Random Thoughts

    Is it Bush's fault that Greece collapsed economically? Is it his fault that many other European countries are failing? Many countries world wide are in economic shambles at the moment. The cause of our economic climate was a fantastic sales job by a politician that wanted into office. You can blame Bush all you want about the war causing debt, but I remember the whole country in an outcry for action after September 11. Congress wasn't split on party lines about this action. The truth is the U.S. has been in wars almost as many years as we have been in existance. Play back the speach Bush gave as we went to war. He told the truth about the cost and about the length of time it would take. No one batted an eye back then. Bush's actions reflected the will of the people both republican and democrat alike. It's just election time and politicians trying to get elected have to point the finger. What can we attribute to our wonderful President if all of the debt (and spending) is someone else's fault? What about all the hope and change that was promised when he was elected? Whatever happened to Guantanamo Bay? Inflation? Jobs? Fuel cost? How does the rest of the world respect us now?

    June 14, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Ivan Bial

    he gets the blame because he started the spirel down. The spending that occures now was passed by Bush.
    Remember Congress does the spending not the President.

    June 14, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. richard

    Let's see Bush get an economy that was in the BLACK and within 90 days the United States was in the RED. Du!!!

    June 14, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. leftisloony

    ok bill in NY, we get it, there's no one left in NY with a brain........btw, as has been pointed an infinite number of times, obama had a democratic house and senate his first two years, and in that short time was able to completely screw up things big time, including the imminent destruction of the best healthcare system in the world unless the supreme court saves us......and thank god the american people came to their senses in 2010 and voted republicans into the house to put a stop to the insanity coming from all the liberal loons.....have a nice day

    June 14, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Dwayne

    If its Bush' fault for the US economy, then are you going so far as to blame him for the world woes too? And, if you are going to blame Bush, then you should also be blaming Obama for his taking 3 years of screwing up the economy policy wise, spending an additional $6 trillion in 3 years, compared to $4 – $6 trillion during Bush' 8 years? And was it Bush fault that the housing bubble occurred, rather than all the greedy people who bought homes they couldn't afford, and tried to sell to the next idiot who couldn't afford it either, before he figured out he couldn't afford it either? It's like Obama – blame the guy ahead of you, so you don't have to defend your own decisions.

    June 14, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. yogi

    Of course Bush deserves the blame, including his brain Rove, and all the other members of his cabinet. What a total disaster that administration was. Republicans, regardless in whatever level of government, they don't know how to govern.
    I don't know why the Democrats don't show over and over the graph indicating the surplus and deficit in relation to whom is in the White House. Republicans don't care about people, only their sacred money, and it will be their GREED that will completely destroy the economy as we know it.

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

    Yes, if Obama is relected and we go backwards for another 4 years it will be President Bush's fault. President Obama has increased our debt over 5 trillion dollars, unemployment is really between 14 and 17%, foreclosures are continuing, cost of living is rising. When will President Obama stand-by, be a man, and take responsibility for his actions? When never, why – no integrity.

    June 14, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Mario

    Bush gave Romney and top 1% Millions on tax breaks and now this republican congress want to give Romney and the top 1% Millions by NOT raising their taxes. We have Thousands of our TEACHERS bing fired this month because off it.

    June 14, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. bigoton

    What people neglect to realize is Obama cut more government jobs then Bush !, 2, and Clinton. He has spent 1/3 of what 3 of them did. A large part of the unemployment is from the public sector. So you want small government huh? Pretty soon we will all be given days when we all have to bring our own trash to the dump

    June 14, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Dean


    The essential facts of the last 15 years haven't changed. Bush deregulated banking;
    It was Clinton who signed bill repealling the Glass-Steagal Act. Other banking regulation were done by Frank and Dodd after the Democrats took control of both houses of congress in 2007.

    June 14, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Michael

    Obama, all media, Democrats, and the ignorant blame Bush for bad economy. First of all people do not know what Obama administration is doing; they are feasting on public hate against the rich while their economic policies are targeted towards socialistic ideology and not job growth. Obama still blames Bush and media sings the chorus. Bush has not yet retaliate. So he is an easy target. No govt should cultivate economic socialism on borrowed money. But it what this administration does. Killing business and socialism on borrowed money. Four more years, US may be the next Greece.

    June 14, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. rs

    Dean- and the rest? Unpaid for Medicare, the wars, the tax cuts, the wretched foreign policy? Face facts. Bush was a foul ball from day one. He has all but wrecked America and Mr. Romney's policies appear no different.

    June 14, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Tom

    Bush ruined the country. It will be years and years before we pull out of this completely.

    Two wars not paid for, expansion of medicare not paid for, and an articiallly inflated housing market, which we are NOW paying for.

    He certainly was not a fiscal conservative. Not sure waht he was....

    June 14, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    Seriously, we have got to move forward in November. Most people know the economy rotted under Bush's administration but the question is are we willing to take this chance again?

    Willard is NOT the economic genius he wants you to believe he is and he can only keep these lies going on through the ignorance of the American people to believe it. It is up to US to make him prove some of the lies about his business experience that he taunts so often or we deserve what we get.

    June 14, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. wow

    How is your 401k's? Mine is doing fantastically since late last year. Lost tons though back in Bush time.

    June 14, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Nuihc

    @Dean, spot on. Unfortunately the left refuses to see facts, only their "version."

    June 14, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. NVa Native

    “Giving blame” makes it sound like he didn't earn be recognized for his efforts to deregulate and over spend while cutting taxes which caused the down fail of our economy.
    Bush earned being acknowledged for the destruction he and the GOP have heaped onto our country.

    June 14, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. steve505

    Bush made the decision to start TWO extremely costly wars; 1 because of a single "terrorist attack", and 1 because of alleged "weapons of mass destruction" (he also attempted to tie Saddam Hussein to the terrorist attack on 9/11). He was wrong in his decision to invade Iraq because, as we all know, he was wrong about the WMDs. And, he was also wrong in his decision to start the war in Afghanistan, which has done little more than kill hundreds of thousands of people and waste trillions of dollars.

    Yes, Bush is to blame. If it weren't for his poor decision-making skills, America would be trillions of dollars richer. We'd probably still be riding the wave of great economic prosperity that we were enjoying as we came out of the Clinton presidency. And we'd be in no more danger of "terrorism" than we have been at any other time in recent history.

    Bush was a liar, and we're still paying the price.

    June 14, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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