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. bbrooker88

    Why not poll who bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and see if the blame has changed any? Facts are facts and the mood of the public cannot re-write history.

    June 14, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Gary Owen 2/7

    It is not just Bush that is to blame. It is the entire Red Neck Right. They distoyed the economy and must never be allowed to do it again. Twice is enough (1929 & 2007).

    June 14, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Random Thoughts

    At least you can blame Bush for something. What do we have now?

    June 14, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    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.
    Typical GOPT buffoonery ~ repeating the nonsense of rightist propagandists who are trying to rewrite history – which is just more GOP destruction; the dumbing down of America.

    June 14, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. steve

    a person can not make a banker give them a loan they do not qualify for so it wasnt people buying what they could not afford it was bankers not caring if you could afford or not as they where going to sell your note if you default he still got his . no person has ever been able to walk in a bank and demand a loan on there terms ever. lest you all forget it was bush who took the regs off banking and allowed speculation in banking as well as brokerages in banks also hid the cost of the wars it was obama who put that cost back into the budget so we could all see the real costs

    June 14, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. ShaLyn

    Any one who does not realize the financial mess we are in rest souly and squarely at the feet of GW is just clueless or stupid. The economic mess happened over the course of 8 years. GW cut taxes and kept them in place when he took this country to TWO wars. Very irresponsible of him. And when you have a political party announce publicly they are going to do everything they can to make the new guy a one termer, what in the HECK do you think is going to happen? President Obama's biggest mistake was thinking he and his team could fix this MESS quickly. However, I am sure the true picture did not become clear until after some time. Also, I am sure a lot of the "fat cats" are purposely holding back a lot of jobs to make sure he fails. I would not put anything pass them and most of my friends think this as well. I heard an economist on Moring Joe (Joe Scarbourgh former Repub rep from Florida) explain this morning exactly how we went over a cliff. The greedy pigs on Wall Sreet doing the same mess that JP Morgan just did with gambling folks money on bad risk. But, they are still collecting their big checks and bonues.

    June 14, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. yogi

    @ Michael, your post demonstrates much ignorance, especially the last sentence: " Four more years, US may be the next Greece." The reason that Greece is in such a bad shape is the tremendous corruption where their 1% didn't pay tax at all, and no country can sustain when the tax burden is only on the middle class. The U.S. can't grow without more revenue, and of course the 1% should carry their fair burden, if not...have a nice life!

    June 14, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Who would you blame? The economy tanked before President Obama took office and on that very day Republicans plotted to obstruct all progress! With 137 filibusters and the "birther" mentality the Republicans deserve the wrath of the American voters. Anybody with a brain would know the economy President Obama inherited couldn't be fixed in a short time and certainly not with the Tea party radicals in the Congress trying to prevent recovery.

    June 14, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Cocolicquot

    Of course he's still to blame. Read a history book people... it takes decades to get out of the misery one corrupted leader can cause. Bush is an idiot and a truly bad guy. Bush squandered a national surplus of $230 billion when he took office. When he left office he left the United States of America in a $4.89 trillion deficit. Let me put this in perspective for you: 1 million seconds is 2 weeks, 1 billion seconds is 22 years, 1 trillion seconds is 31, 000 years. Bush should be drawn and quartered.

    June 14, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. mannycl

    Blame Sandusky (it's more fashionable and you can make some money by suing the guy) and consider Obama for sainthood (that will make the liberals happier). Ooherwise keep blaming Bush for all of Obama's mistakes.

    June 14, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. bigoton

    Call me a troll if you want I don't comment very often but I read posts from CNN,MSNBC, FOX etc... all the boards. i have to admit CNN has the best board because it IS composed of dems, repubs, and independents. With that said, contrary to what the polls say and what the country really thinks is quite simple. The Repubs all of them will get beaten in an absolute landslide in November regardless of how much money they have

    June 14, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. hemplover

    Bush did calculated, irreversible damage to the environment, the economy, and the morale of this country. He is the one responsible for the change from covert attack on the middle class to overt. He brought it out of the closet and put it right out in the open, into your face. Bush is responsible, and I hope that at some level of his feeble brain, he knows that.

    June 14, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Jonsie

    He definitely had a part in the deficit but Obama gets the prize for 6 million in 3 1/2 years! It is very scary to think what it will be if he gets a second term. Maybe a great community organizer buy presidential material he is NOT!!!

    June 14, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Fearless Freep

    Dave Ladd

    At least President GW Bush kept the blood on foreign soil.
    Yeah, he stopped 911 from happening........................................

    June 14, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. DannyCali

    First Bush, second the Republicans cause ours economies problem. Obama just start to repair the damaged of Republicans did during the Bush Presidency.

    June 14, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Cheryl

    Why yes, it's still his fault for trying to destroy this country. Because that's what he tried to do.

    June 14, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. REG in AZ

    Bush-Cheney epitomized the Republican departure from responsible consideration for the majority and a total focus on serving only "the few", who strongly supported and dictated to them – it is only natural that GWBush is constantly identified with that mentality and problem

    June 14, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." —President George W. Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later !

    GW did one heck of a job too .

    Romney is GW Bush.

    June 14, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    Also overlooked is the fact that too many of W's policies are still in place. The W tax cuts for the rich are still in place, and most of what Obama has tried to do has been filibustered or obstructed. The ACA passed, but only in a very watered-down version. The GOP house has indeed passed numerous jobs bills, all of which were hopelessly freighted with right-wing baggage, such as making the W cuts permanent or abolishing the EPA. The GOP campaigned and won on a jobs platform in 2010, and has delivered exactly nothing.

    And the democrats actually had 60 functional senators present and voting on only a few rare occasions. Al Franken was prevented from taking office for months on BS challenges to the election, and then Byrd and Kennedy passed away. The claims that the dems had complete control for two years are nonsense. The GOP has performed the worst hatchet job on any administration since the Civil War.

    June 14, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. WhatNow

    leftisloony...First, I grow tired of the "we are the best " crowd. We did not have the best healthcare in the world. Where do you get your data. This is a problem for our voting public, they base their opinions on hearsay, not facts. Also, with the 2010 elections came the party of no. So, no, nothing is getting done because we have an entire group who has pledged their devotion and loyalty to a lobbyist and instead of working, they just say no to everything. What a great job, no real work, great salary and wonderful pension plan.

    June 14, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Investment Advisor

    Bush deserves some of the blame because of the wars we got into. People see that and figure thats the reason we are in this mess. Lets look a little further back and research the damage that the Community Reinvestment Act did when Bill Clinton pushed for its extreme exercise allowing loans that became the force behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis. And then look at the oversight that Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Maxine Waters and other politicians on the left had over these matters. It was the best thing since the invention of the wheel until those sub-primers could not pay their mortgages! You rabid "lefties" focus on one thing and damn any other facts that exist. Its not so cut and dried as you think about how we got into this economic mess!

    June 14, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Fearless Freep

    *** Mr. Bush Adminstration just happen to fall under the twenty year slow down economic plan! .....

    Right !
    And the moon was in the seventh house,
    and jupiter aligned with mars,
    or was his tarot deck missing a few cards ?

    June 14, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. NVa Native

    NO one can reason with these dumbed down GOPTs. All these posts are filled with so much Frank Luntz/fox followers’ spin of lies and deceptions. While they claim the facts aren't facts and proven scientific theory is just a theory.
    Let these tee-baggin' neanderthals de-evolve all by themselves and follow the dinosaurs.

    June 14, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Greenspam

    And Republicans continued to blame CLINTON for Bush's failure... so what's new?

    June 14, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. ArtInChicago

    All due respect, with no political agenda, why not? In our personal lives, we have made decisions years ago that the outcomes still affect us to this day. A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day for eight years will not run the marathon at world class pace after quitting and training for 3 years. It's the same with the economy. Improvements, but slow and incremental after the previous eight years.

    June 14, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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