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. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Dear GOD! Republicans will vote for the worst choice every time!

    June 14, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. charlie

    OhioStef, you have one of the few intelligent remarks on this article. Thank you.

    June 14, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Oscar Pitchfork

    As long as America has morons, Republicans will continue to be elected into office. Republicans have ETERNALLY been the party for Rich people and Corporations. The entire Republican mantra of "Small Federal government with few rules" has been because THEY WANT NO ONE TO OVERSEE THE RICH AND BIG CORPORATIONS AS THEY LOOT MIDDLE AMERICA! There-did you get that? USE that attention span! Remember Enron? Banking collapse? Wall Street collapse? If Obama hadn't "bailed 'em out" YOU WOULD ALL LIKELY BE STANDING IN A BREAD LINE! The economy would have collapsed to the point that a dollar would have been worth between 5 and 10 cents. And, no, the rich have enough diversified wealth that they would have survived okay. You think Obama WANTED to spend that kind of money? If you're an idiot, parroting what other idiots think, it's time to wake up! The current corporate business model has nearly EVERYTHING that's not blatantly illegal used as a means to generate revenue. If their legal department okays it, they will find yet another way to screw us all, unless that 'big' government makes it illegal. Wake up, fools, YOU keep electing these thieves...

    June 14, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Shock The Monkey

    A dare to all you Republicans.
    Two things i want you to read.

    1) PNAC – The plan for a new American century.
    2) The Grand Chessboard (Spelling) Brazinsky.

    Both of these are very clear about what the NEOCONS have decided
    that this planet should be in the next century.
    Its NOT a pretty picture, and some of it has already come true.
    The United States is that large fat cashcow with the largest military on earth
    to make thier plans happen.

    Dont take this as an attack on Republicans.
    The NEOCONS used the "Republican" brand to get into power.
    You will not be defending "Republican" you will be defending
    the new world order.

    I dare you to read.

    June 14, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. DrScott622

    Why did Father Bush pick Dan Quayle (DQ) as his VP? DQ is same age as W....hid from Vietnam in Nat'l Guard like W.....was a Dufus as a public speaker just like W. So Father Bush could see what political sharks would attack a reputation similar to W's so that he could counter that and get him elected. Now if Father Bush thinks DQ mirrors his son...then Father must not think highly of W!

    June 14, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. CutTax

    Obama is not american citizen, why we have to blame nigerian?

    June 14, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. curious

    Don't blame George Bush, blame the republican party. 28 straight years of republican budget defiicts from Nixon to Bush. Rmoney would be the worst yet. Wake up people

    June 14, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. T. Caneer

    IHow many times did you ever hear REagan say: "It's carter's fault for the shape we're itn"? It's time to stop blaming Bush and take some responsibiliity!!

    June 14, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Mike

    Why is he getting the blame ? Because it is all his fault. He got us into two useless wars still going on today and he had no leaders ability. Cheney was the president and he fell below so maybe we should blame Cheney. Just look at what Bush did to us in those 8 years and tell us something positive? Anything come to mind? What did we exect from a man who could not form a sentence.

    June 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. sawolf

    5 TRILLION more spent than taken in, in 3 years? Bush must have some powerful mojo to make barry fail at EVERYTHING he has attempted. Or maybe barry the wonderfool is just an incompetent fraud.

    June 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Cheryl Jefferies

    So, what's new? That's all Obama can offer. He admitted a long time ago that he was "learning on the job." Guess he hasn't learned much. So, he keeps blaming President Bush. Yawn.

    June 14, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Mike

    I wonder how long this country can send drones into other nations and kill people before someone there gets tired of it and send us payback? If Mitt gets into office Iran will be our next war and that will be the nation that will say enough is enough. Keep looking up folks especially if Romney is elected.

    June 14, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Cindy

    Of course he will be blamed. George Bush set policies that we will pay for today, tomorrow, and forever.
    Two wars off the books, unpaid for, leaving us with many Vets to care for, obligated to rebuild countries for decades.
    Medicare Prescription D drug benefit for the drug companies, that goes on and on
    Taxcuts for the rich, unpaid for, that Republicans refuse to terminate.
    It comes out of your pocket "today", tomorrow, and for decades to come.

    June 14, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. joejeffrey

    The amazing thing is that 70% correctly identify Dubya as the guy whose policies brought about the Great Recession, but 47% want Romney, who has the same policies.

    June 14, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. fofo

    only 68%?

    June 14, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Treebeard

    Expat American

    Odumbo.was on hands and knees checking out a ant mound for some voters....

    I wish Fox news would open the comment section again.
    All of thier trolls, idiots and morons are over here acting thier age.
    About six years old.
    They actually think its funny using words like these.
    Sad little people.

    June 14, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. LouieD

    Hey "anon", if you did some research about the Internet glurge you're repeating, you would know that what you're saying is not as cut-and-dried, or even altogether true, as you currently believe it is. I'll start you off: Bush separated the budgets for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from the rest of the budget so as to minimize public outrage. Obama reinstated the costs of both wars back into the budget, thus showing you costs that had been there, but that you were seeing for the first time. Now let's see if YOU can find more factors that come into play!

    June 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Can'tTelltheTruth

    Hey Oscar Pitchfork... did you forget that Obama was/is Mr. Wall Street, receiving the most donations from the banks, and surrounding himself with Wall St people in his admin? Did you forget that after the bailouts CEOs received record bonuses? Coincidence? I think not. Did you forget that Obama is a millionaire? There are so many partisan hacks commenting here, or just fools who haven't woken up yet. I'll make it easy for you. Both parties are the same! Fools! Wake up!

    June 14, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Going In Circles

    George Bush.
    Arbusto Energy.
    Might be the first oil company in history to go broke
    under his leadership.

    Let that sink in people, he bankrupted an oil company.
    Yet, you Republicans put him in the white house.
    TWICE !


    June 14, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Steve

    Simple fact is we are all paying off the loans that the USA had to take out to pay for Tax cuts and two wars. Obama get stuck with the bill so Republicans like to blame Obama for paying off Bushes loan while Democrats like to point out that Bush took out the loan in the first place and blaming Obama for paying it off is dishonest.

    June 14, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Brad

    He will continue to be blamed until the next Republican president. Nature of the beast.

    June 14, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. md

    Absolutely disgusting and a coward way of not wanting to accept responsibility as a leader. The more Obama and the democrats blame Bush the better it is for us to see their incompetency.

    June 14, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Tony

    Democrats need to make the following points to the voters. The CBO said that if Bush tax cuts and the doc fix are allowed to expire, the deficits go away in a few years. Nothing else needs to be done. No other spending needs to be cut. In other words, the Bush tax cuts, along with other policies that predate Obama (including the doc fix and the funding of the wars off the budget during the Bush years) are the roots of the deficits. The sharp drop of government revenue due to the recession (the government had 2.1 trillion in revenue in 2009, compared to 2.5 trillion in 2008, so it lost 400 billion in revenue in one year) made the deficits worse.

    If the Bush tax cuts go away, the government saves more than 4 trillion in debt over 10 years, making the spending cuts Republicans demanded in the debt ceiling crisis unnecessary.

    One more thing. Obama's healthcare bill has not made the deficits worse. According to the CBO, Obama's healthcare bill actually LOWERS the deficits, because the revenue from the bill exceeds its cost.

    June 14, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. bidingo

    Bush should rightfully be blamed for the mess his Republicans handlers (Rove, neo-cons, Cheney) created. Cheney's enfatuation with invading Iraq meant keeping the country's eyes off Osama Bin Laden, allowing him to carry 9/11. Then, giving away to the wealthy the huge budget surplus that Clinton left, lying to get the country into the bloody and costly Iraq war, unfunded $900 billion Medicare[part D, deregulation of Wall Street leading to the financial meltdown, the economy losing 800K jobs per month when Bush left, etc., etc. To make matters worse, the last 3 years, the Republican congress has engaged in unprecedented sabotaging and obstruction of All bills proposed by the democrats to create jobs and improve the economy. Romney called the Ryan budget proposed "marvelous". This proposal would further devastate the meddle class, the poor and the elderly. If you are wealthy, vote for Romney.

    June 14, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. New Age Independent

    It's a fact of life these days. Democrats will blame anyone except themselves. No accountability whatsoever. Myself, I do place some blame on Bush for some of the economic problems. It wasnt like he had his way with Democrats in Congress though, they also share some blame. But it's been three years and all of Obama's economic predictions have been way off. In fact, the Republican estimates for Obama's budget have been much more accurate. At this point, it's all on Obama.

    June 14, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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