April 3rd, 2009
04:27 PM ET
13 years ago

Schneider: Will Americans start blaming Obama?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.obama1.gi.jpg caption="Will Americans start blaming President Barack Obama for the bad economy?"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Have Americans been prepared for Friday's bad news about the economy? It looks like they have.

They were warned even before President Obama took office.

President-elect Obama said on January 8th. "It is altogether likely that things may get worse before they get better."

They have.

"Our jobs report came out today, and it showed that we had lost 663,000 jobs just this month, which has pushed our unemployment rate to 8.5 percent - the highest in 25 years," the President said today at a news conference in Germany, a few hours after the Labor Department reported the March unemployment report.

Will Americans blame President Obama? Not likely.

Overwhelming majorities say they blame banks and financial institutions, large corporations, consumers for taking on too much debt and the Bush Administration. But only 26 percent blame the Obama Administration.

Typically, unemployment continues to climb for months after a recession is technically over.

Remember how important "the economy, stupid" was in 1992? The recession actually ended in March 1991, but unemployment continued to rise through the middle of 1992.

"I don't want people to think that in one or two months, suddenly we're going to see net job increases," the President warned last month.

It's a race between optimism and despair. Right now, optimism is gaining.

In January, by a margin of more than 10 to one, Americans said the economy was getting worse, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll (62 percent better, 6 percent worse).

Things were still bad in February. But by the middle of March, the number who thought things were getting better reached double digits, while less than a majority believed the economy was getting worse. Now optimism is up to 27 percent, although pessimists still have the edge (36 percent say things are getting worse).

We know what's creating the despair. But what's driving the optimism? Probably politics as much as anything. The Washington Post reports that the sharp rise in economic optimism has occurred among Democrats and Independents. Republicans see no reason for hope.

Could the process reverse and the bad economic news start to undermine President Obama's political standing? Yes, if we keep getting news, month after month, like Friday's jobless figures. Eventually the bad news will take a toll on the president's job approval rating. And when that number goes down, the president loses political clout.

That hasn't happened yet. Which may be why President Obama is trying to do so much so quickly.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    Yes, I blame BHO, As a small business owner, I started cutting back as soon as I saw he was going to be elected. We have stalled all plans for furthur growth of our business, as well as cut back on all donations. My response to all the calls is: call me back in four years and maybe then I can donate. After that time, I may expand our business, but not while this idiot is in office. He's bankrupting our country and ruining opportunities for businesses and small business.

    April 3, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Robin in Tampa, FL

    People's memories aren't that short. This economic crisis happened under the previous administration, you would have to somehow re-write history to blame the new administration for the mess we are in.

    The big question is will his economic policies work? A lot is riding on this question for both Republicans and Democrats. If his policies result in a deepening of this Recession then people will look for a change in direction and the country will swing back to the GOP. People will probably look at the Bush years as some sort of fluke due to all of the incompetency of that administration.

    But if his policies are a success then the GOP will no-longer have a credible economic agenda because whatever they come up with will be viewed as being deeply flawed and completely unsustainable for long-term economic growth.

    April 3, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Pat

    I am sure he will be a great president. This mess we are in took a long time coming. It is not his mess. Those of us who read and see know that it will take years to recover. We will have patience. I love hearing him speak. He is so refreshing over 8 years of Bush. He has my support and I may not like every thing he does but I think he will give it 100% or more over the next four years. God Bless America

    April 3, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  4. Erika, KS

    Well, yes, they'll start blaming him!

    He hasn't proved himself. He hasn't done anything. He will spend the next four years in a perpetual campaign mode. That is his area of expertise. Colorful, bold speeches will not help the public. Speeches will not solve problems. What is needed is action. I haven't seen it. It's only a matter of time. The public will turn on him. They always turn.

    April 3, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. linda from south dakota

    they shouldnt blame president obama,, because this is alla spill over from bush admistration,,,,,, like president obama said,, it will get worse before it gets better and we cant fix this in a day, week, or year,,,, those " good ole days " will come back, have faith,,,

    April 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. linda from south dakota

    for bob in pa:... wheres your faith?? this mess isnt from president obama,,its from the last 8 years of bush,, wake up and smell the coffee,,,,,

    April 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    Yeah, after all, he's been President for two and a half months. Bill Schneider is ready for a new story line. It's so boooooring when a Democrat is in office and actually governing.

    Barack, we've got your back.

    April 3, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Hadcat

    A stimulus package would have been a good idea!
    Too bad they passed a bill disguised as one and which no one read or knew what it contained.

    We have been taken for Billions and Trillions more are being spent.

    Also, great idea to halt business in its tracks while it waits for a retroactive tax code over haul. Who can make decisions with that looming overhead. Instead the only option is to downsize which means lay offs.

    April 3, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. Hadcat

    A stimulus package would have been a good idea!
    Too bad they passed a bill disguised as one and which no one read or knew what it contained.

    We have been taken for Billions and Trillions more are being spent.

    Also, great idea to halt business in its tracks while it waits for a retroactive tax code over haul. Who can make decisions with that looming overhead. Instead the only option is to downsize which means lay offs.

    April 3, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. tinu

    republicans lost ..sorely. This group includes who voted from McCain/Palin. I can understand why they feel bad about loosing and do everything in their blogging power to make it appear like the black president is responsible for all the job losses, foreclosures and general economic mess.

    April 3, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. vet in texas

    as weeks go by more and more people are realizing they have been fooled.......fooled for the past 8 years by the guy who you would want to have a beer with! It "appears" President Obama is honest, truthful and caring about every AMERICAN, not just those who had assets over $500k. America, please get out your dictionaries and look up the definition for republican, democrat, liberal and conservative, then decide which one you are.....ALL of them.

    April 3, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The ONLY PERSON WHO SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR THIS MESS IS GEORGE BUSH! Obama inherited this horrible mess and everyone knows it. Only Republicans, who refuse to accept any blame, will blame Obama. Any intelligent person realizes that Pres. Obama cannot be held accountable for things that occured on someone elses watch.

    April 3, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. ib

    Obama walks on water. Obama can do no wrong. Obama is our messiah. Anything that goes wrong in the next 50yrs. will be Bush's fault. -Above is liberal talk

    April 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. wakeupamerica

    I am proud of President Obama! Look at what he has accomplished in his short tenure as President. Compare that to the Bush years that got us into this mess. It seems people [haters] have conveniently forgotten the lack of a job Bush did as President. It is going to take time to undo the damage the Bush years caused our country. President Obama cannot snap his fingers and whisk us into a new economy overnight. He just took office in January, give the man a chance people. If the media had been so hypercritical of Bush, then maybe we wouldn't be in this mess now.

    April 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Obama can do nothing wrong!

    When we compare with the last president and his administartion, yes Obama has done nothing wrong.

    April 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. Lori

    I don't blame President Obama. I blame those Americans who voted for George W Bush... TWICE!!! I feel sorry for President Obama having to inherit this mess and having people complain that his budget is too high (as if we should ignore healthcare and education) but then applaud the Republican budget which WOULD STILL HAVE US AT A DEFICIT!!! The President is doing his best to clean up the economic mess while pushing other important programs forward. I would never blame our President... I praise him for still being sane after inheriting this mess.

    April 3, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Simmy

    Blame will be difficult because we are so far down, any step up will be a plus. President Obama will get well deserved credit for rescuing US before we got completely buried in the quicksand.

    April 3, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Marc T

    Some good supportive comments in here... some really good reads. I don't need to add anything but just to add my thanks to the Obama team. Keep up the good work!

    April 3, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Neil

    Another 600,000 jobs lost. How long must the homeless wait for Obama's Recovery? Almost 2 million children homeless. Who sheds a tear for them? Don't they rate smiles and a promise, even if it is an empty one? Obama promised change, but all he has delivered so far is the same Trickle Down Economics Feed The Rich Before The Hungry House The Wealthy Before The Poor Turn Your Back On America's Children policies that EVERY politician in Washington has subscribed to for the last 30 years. How long must homeless children wait for their President, or even his wife, to take notice of them?

    April 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. gerry

    It took Bush 8 years to put the country in this mess, how can anyone expect it to be fixed in 4,6 or 10 months. It will take 18 to 24 months.

    Anyone wants to blame someone, blame the Texan

    April 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    There problems didn't happen overnight and they will not get fixed overnight. It was nice to get that extra money in my paycheck today. Please just give it time.

    April 3, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  22. Matt, Chico, CA

    Some of us already have

    April 3, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. A. Darton

    I know that we didn't get into this crisis overnight, so we won't get out of it overnight. Surely not just three or four months. I am willing to give the President all the time he needs, because I know his job is not easy. Bush left this economy in a mess. I will continue to pray for the President , his lovely family, and this country.

    April 3, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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