Poll: Blame still goes to Bush for bad economy
June 14th, 2012
08:16 AM ET
2 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. OhioStef

    This proves that there's a lot of very stupid people out there. Not only does Bush not deserve a large part of the blaim for the bad economy, but Clinton indeservedly gets a lot of credit for the good economy of the 90s. Bush did not start the collapse of the housing industry, Clinton raised taxes, and Reagan hastened the end of the Cold War that helped reduce the deficit. Everybody that understands the Democrat agenda knows that it's their tax-and-spend philosophy and interference with the private sector that's hurting the economy. Just look at how businesses are fleeing the over-regulated and union-states.

    June 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Shawn

    BFD, the Republicans blamed Clinton for everything during W's entire 8 years in office. So blaming Bush for 3 years is nothing. I have not seen Obama squander as much money as Bush. Oh and for all those trying to blame Obama for TARP
    that was implemented by Bush not Obama.

    June 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. genebrady

    What the Bush/Cheney Crime Family did to not only the USA, but the entire WORLD should NEVER be forgotten or forgiven. They all should rot in a third world prison.

    June 14, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Erik

    And Bush should be blamed. He royally screwed up this country financially by spending lavishly on stupid wars and giving tax cuts – just doesn't make sense.

    June 14, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Canuck

    Bush's counterpart Dick Cheney said 'deficits don't matter'. Now that the GOP is no longer in power apparently they do.

    June 14, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Kevin

    STUPID REMARK + + + + + +

    * *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.

    Obama has not made things worse.
    He stopped the bleeding.
    We have walked away from disaster and on the road to recovery.
    Bush had 8 years to destroy the economy.
    You want to toss Obama out because he could not fix it in 4 years?
    You also want to put Romney in the drivers seat and go right back
    to the policies that got us into this mess ??

    That is INSANITY !

    June 14, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Mario

    Romney has been unemployed for over 10 years and has lived off his over seas accounts. How does Romney qualify to be President. He is for. The RICH and on for the RICH. This man has not RAN anything in so long to be in charge of our feature

    June 14, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    What bad economy??? You mean 5 TRILLION dollars later and with all those "shovel ready projects" we still have a bad economy??? Maybe we just need to spend another 5 TRILLION??? Or maybe $10 TRILLION??? yeah, that's the Obama plan....

    June 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Blaming others for causing a mess is weak. It's funny how we spend so much time figuring out who to blame instead of working together to fix the problem at hand. The blame game is only a viable option if you are too incompetent to know how to move forward. Unfortunately, many of us don't see this, and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if enough Americans are somehow duped into voting the wrong guy into office because of this shortsightedness.

    June 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. works4me

    IF the Republicans had been part of TEAM USA instead of "making sure President Obama is a one term President", IF they had been for the people and not heavily just for the Party and IF they weren't sooo angry that, dare I say it, a black man may actually help this Country after the pile of crap that the Bush legacy left on the carpet of the White House we would be a lot better off than we are now.
    We're starting to move ahead in the economy and the spirit despite these GOP slugs standing on his nuts at every turn he was trying to make. All the GOP really cares about is for the Party. They really don't give a damn about for the PEOPLE!
    President Obama, AGAIN 2012

    June 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Ed

    There's enough guilt for both parties. Both parties have put their desire to get re-elected ahead of their promise to the country. Both parties have jammed too much pork into the budget for political reasons. There's an old saying; The Democrats never saw a social program the didn't want and the Republicans never saw a business program they didn't want. Starting with the 'Great Society' in 1968 to the Iraq War, follow the history. Robert Byrd slowly moving the government to West Virgina and Trent Lott having unneeded ships built to keep the shipyards in Mississippi busy.

    June 14, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. larryt

    My 95 year old father in law still thinks it's all Herbert Hoover's fault.

    June 14, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Nuihc

    @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.
    -----------------------------------------–
    The first time I have ever agreed with one of your posts.

    June 14, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. marc

    How can you not blame the person who caused it....

    June 14, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. cigarman

    I really like the term, Bush Chaney Crime Family. They did Two unfunded wars, Cut taxes for the Rich and super rich, and Broke the United States Monetarily, You are right, they and the Republican Party are the United States Worst enemy that we have ever known. The entire Crime Family belongs in Prison. They murdered hundreds of thousands of people. If Rumsney gets elected, we will be in two more Unfunded Wars almost Immidiately. Look out Syria and Iran.

    June 14, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. John

    Truce please... Accept the economic downturn as a natural cycle which takes place after several prosperous years. From 2001's attack on the WTC, there really has been a perfect storm of unrest and disorder in the world and to blame either president is really just partisan theater. Let's just listen to the two candidates debate over the next couple of months, decide who has the best ideas to fix things, and vote.

    June 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Parfin Woodell

    If everybody would stop thinking of The United States as a country,
    and look at it for what it really is, things may get a little more clear.
    The United States is in fact a "Corporation".
    Every corporation has a board of directors and a CEO (President)
    It also has stock holders.
    You are not American citizens you are employees.

    If your corporation (see: Enron) goes bust,
    you lose and they win.

    When i was a kid i played games like "risk" and "monopoly".
    The board of directors are playing "risk" with real armies,
    and "monopoly" with real money.

    You supply the bank.

    I always hated the term "sheep" when applied to humans.
    Its more like "cattle" as you are led to the slaughter.
    Or how about......a token on the playing board.
    Check mate.

    You have eyes, but you dont see.

    June 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Under Bush, we ran up more debt in his first 5 years then we had run up in the previous 225 years combined. When you start two wars and ram through a $600 billion prescription drug care bill and create very few jobs and wages remain flat and you ignore a perilous housing bubble while banks are gambling with the middle class' future AND GIVE AWAY MASSIVE TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHY (in other words, paying for NOTHING), this is what happens. Obama inherited a historic and toxic combination of huge spiking unemployment and plunging home equity, not to mention a Republican Senate that is hellbent on defeating Obama by filibustering the country to death, the economy be damned, this is why Bush and Dick "Deficits Don't Matter" Cheney still deserve so much blame. Their damage won't be fixed for another decade at least.

    June 14, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Danny

    He's still getting the blame because he's still guilty.. I mean DUH

    June 14, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. yogi

    @ joshua. Which voters are you referring to? It is funny how Republicans always are so flock minded, whether it is their ideology or signing worthless pledges, or getting brainwashed and dumbed down by watching Fox. They lack ideas and creativity and they cover this painfully by being a large flock of Republiparrots.

    June 14, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Can'tTelltheTruth

    Who repealed Glass-Steagall may I ask? Are you too lazy to look up what that is?

    June 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. jaw4

    Of course those of party affiliation will blame the other guy. What about us Independents?! Well that's easy- Bush is to blame. Obama should have done more by now to fix things but anyone who thought he was going to waltz in with a magic wand and fix all of the 8 years of Bush damage was delusional. And I don't think McCain would have done much better. Either was walking into a disaster of epic proportions- caused by the Bush/Cheney administration. I remember seeing a cartoon before the 08 election...split screen- one with Obama, one with McCain and the same gentleman with them. The caption for both (the gentleman speaks)? "I have good news and bad news. What's the good news (each candidate asks)? YOU WON! So what's the bad news? You won." Bush screwed the entire country and we're left trying to pick up the pieces. I only hope in future years he's bashed like hell by presidential historians because he deserves it.

    June 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. cleveland jim

    Bush extended tax cuts to the wealthy. The tax rate on the wealthy is the lowest it has been since before the great depression. Look it up. Something about being doomed to repeat history. Taxes are not destroying the private sector. show me where some business is being taxed so much they have out of business, and I'll show you an idiot who shouldn't own a business.

    June 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. bruce inFL

    68% of the people have a brain. Why didn't this same 68% vote to keep dumbya out of office?

    June 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. anon

    Why is bush still getting blamed for the spending when Obama has spent more in the first three years then all the previous Presidents combined?

    Bush must be a very powerful person to have still have this kind of impact after Obama has been in office and at the helm for three years. It's been that long and Obama has repeatedly admitted that he can't fix it. If he is so incomptetent, then why should we vote for him again, just for him to continue to spin his wheels?

    June 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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