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. Larry

    There is no doubt that the village idiot ruined the economy of this country. Either Obama was not the right man to fix it, or the village idiot messed things up to a point where no one could have fixed it.

    June 14, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. liz

    Stop blaming President Bush. He is not responsible for everything negative that has happened. He also got us through the worse crisis in U.S. History since Pearl Harbor - the World Trade Center disaster. Liberal democrats have
    caused much of the mess the U.S. economy is in at the present. The economy is also in trouble due to a world economy which affects all countries. And, Obama is so incompetent that he cannot do anything to solve our problems.

    June 14, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. DrScott622

    Let's recall Father Bush bankrupted the Savings and Loan then pea-brained Junior comes along and we have the collapse of the Banking system. Any Journalist ever ask the Bushs' why the taxpayors have to bail them out each time they are in office?

    June 14, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Dean wrote:

    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.
    Yes, it was Clinton who signed the bill. The repeal was an amendment added to one of the last bills Clinton signed during the lame duck session after the 2000 elections. The amendment was added to the bill after it was voted on by the Congress. Unfortunately, the Clinton staff didn't think to proof read what he signed. It has long been rumored that Lindsey Graham was the central figure in pullinf off this deception.

    June 14, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Harveyyaz

    Fortunately, try as hard as they may, Republicans cannot persuade the public to become stupid and ignore history. Despite their obstructionism, Obama has improved Bush's economy. What's astonishing is Romney will basically reinstate Bush's horribly failed economic policies.

    June 14, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Antwoine in Atlanta

    Much of the American public already knew the facts of what caused, contributed, and extended the worse contraction of the U.S. economy since the Great Depression. Yes, Bush simply opened the flood gates for corporations to do the rest. Big Oil, corrupt bankers and brokers completed a tri-fecta of economic genocide of the American financial picture. Greed may not have had a political party affiliation, but it is crystal clear which party (and President) still deserves the condemnation they have earned.

    June 14, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Jason D

    Lets just niot blame bush, blame the banks who ran washington under him, blame greenspan who let the banks greed run the economy over a cliff gambling with customers money for the sake of the greed of the boards who understood little to nothing about what they were gambling, blame bush for two wars, drones would have done for saddam and afganistan more then the trillions of dollars of debt and thousands of american dead he knew hed create to get iraqi oil and then try and beat an ideology that has been around sicne time began in every country ioncluding those funded by america.

    Bush watched as america burned from the gambling of the banks, the moving of american jobs to the communist countries millions of people had died trying to stem their growth but when it comes to getting more money the right are just lapdogs.

    This isnt capitalism anymore, the right are the party of exploitism.

    June 14, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Investment Advisor

    Do all of you "lefties" belong to The Bill Baraskey Fanclub? Talk about feeding the baby birds! Get some real material and get off these tired old talking points! NVa Native....Can't you do better than the gibberish you just wrote...give us something to debate other than your personal bias! You give me a headache.

    June 14, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Alex in Wisconsin

    Somehow the obviousness of this survey is lost among large groups of people. Because the Economy collapsed under the weight of Bush's policies, 40% of middle class wealth was lost. People want to blame Obama for not setting things right but honestly, does anyone believe it's possible to make up 20 years worth of wealth in only 3 years? Get real. Be mad at Obama for over promising, but don't blame him for an economy that collapsed before he was elected.

    June 14, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Obamanation1

    Odumbo.was on hands and knees checking out a ant mound for some voters, when Barney Frank came along and said I never saw a prettier looking Uranus

    June 14, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Laurie in Spokane

    As much as I degest Bush, he's not solely the blame for the financial mess we've been in. It's taken all the congress, deregulation, and greed on the part of big business/banks, AND the American people themselves, thinking they can get something for nothing. Ain't gonna happen.

    June 14, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Alex

    Oh, I DO blame Bush. But, I also blame Obama. When I voted for him (I won't make that mistake again), I NEVER in a million years thought he would actually make things worse! But, he did.

    June 14, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Karm99

    And how do Romney and the Republican's plan to "Improve" the economy?

    Do exactly what Bush did, but do it 10x.

    No that is obstinance

    June 14, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Chut Pata

    Nero burned Rome for only one day, and got blamed for decades as Romans tried to rebuild it. Bushed burned the economy for 8 years. He would be blamed for many generations to come, as it will take generations to rebuild US economy.

    June 14, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. painful truth

    Both political parties are to blame. Both stood in lockstep together to bailout their campaign financiers on wall street, while flipping everyone in the country the bird.

    Both parties are rich, extremely wealthy, and live far beyond their means while everyone else is floundering in debt. They life a life of decadence on our tab that would make even a rock star blush.

    The next time youre scraping change to pay bills, wondering where our money went, look at our politicians living in mansions, flying in lear jets riding in limos. Their children and grand children all get to go to Ivy League colleges that we pay for.

    The two party system is a failure and needs abolished. We need people willing to stand up for our country, not get rich by robbing it blind.

    June 14, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Of course they believe this fallacy because it has been the Democrat mantra for 5 years and the liberal MSM keeps repeating it and indoctrinating the country to believe it. The Democrats and LSM are Josef Goebbels reincarnated.

    June 14, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. John

    SO why would anyone want to go back to the Bush policies under Romney? Maybe to see just what a total colapse is really like?

    June 14, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Gary

    When looking at the 7 years I worked everyday and made more moneyin that same period as anytime in my work history I can not blame Bush. I was layed off 3 months after Obama took office and still can not find even a full time lowpaying job. At 60 years old this PRESIDENT will drain my savings and my retirement account will not be enough to live on. SO I SAY GET OBAMA OUT OF OFFICE NOW !!! I am tired of the excuses and the blame ,he can not do the job so put someone else in before its all over.

    June 14, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. yogi

    NVa Native – spot on! I wonder if these Republican posts are done by a group of paid, they surely reflect much dumbness, and only glorify the Fox "news" crowd.

    June 14, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. kim

    It's hard to believe a simpleton like Bush could orchestrate anything more complicated than a three car parade. He was elected by the supreme court, not the people, and proceeded to run the country into the ground with the help of his right-wing frat buddies and a corrupt congress. He deserves 100% of the blame, forever.

    June 14, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. How meaningless

    Only fools like Obama would consider this poll result as a positive, and Obama does appear to be running on the "Blame Bush" Ver 2.0 excuse for his poor performance and failed policies.

    June 14, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. max


    "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 |
    Impressive...I so like an intelligent being!

    June 14, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. joshua

    I like how Obama was a senator when Bush was president and never said a word about the economy for a full year and not unitl he decided to run for president. Amazing how he could have voted once against any spending bill but never did. He is just as responsible as George Bush for this mess. Don't think congress isn't just as responsible for the economic collapse. Most of the blame should go to Frank and Dodd who got their fellow democrats to go along with the no money down loan racket that helped their buddies at Lending Tree and Wells Fargo make a fortune off the interest and then stuck us with the principal once the loans started to fail. Yes Bush spent money like a liberal on his pharmacy plan and should have got out of Iraq after he defeated Sadam. But the real blame goes to Obama and the democrats who had two full years to pass something to help the economy and their only attempt was a measy one trillion dollar payoff to the unions. So Oblamo can tattle tale like a snotty nosed two year old. The voters are sick of the finger pointing and sick of his failures.

    June 14, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Fearless Freep

    Cowboy Bush had the IQ of his horse.
    But the people pulling his strings got exactly what they wanted from him.
    At the expense of the middle class.
    If you want to put Romney in that seat you are N U T S !!!!!

    June 14, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Expat American

    Odumbo.was on hands and knees checking out a ant mound for some voters, when Barney Frank came along and said I never saw a prettier looking Uranus
    Dear Lord.
    This should be the ‘Comment of the Day'.
    And further proof that you simply can’t fix stupid.

    June 14, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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