Poll: Majority of Americans blame Obama for economy
September 21st, 2011
07:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Majority of Americans blame Obama for economy

Washington (CNN) - For the first time ever, a slight majority of Americans blame President Barack Obama for the country's struggling economy, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday.

But the same poll showed even more Americans fault former President George W. Bush, a trend that's remained since Bush left the White House in January 2009 amid the recession.

When asked how much responsibility Obama bears for the economy's conditions, about 53 percent blamed Obama either a great deal or a moderate amount. That number is up from the roughly 32 percent who gave the same answer six months after Obama took office in 2009.

The poll results come two weeks after Obama announced his jobs plan, a $447 billion proposal aimed at jumpstarting job growth.

But in the public's eye, Bush shoulders more of the burden when it comes to the economy, with nearly seven in 10 Americans blaming the former president either a great deal or a moderate amount. That number is down from 80 percent who assigned fault to Bush six months after he finished his second term in 2009.

The stronger blame on Bush mirrors results from a CNN/ORC International Poll in late July. When asked to choose whether Obama and the Democrats or Bush and the Republicans were more responsible for the country's current economic problems, about 57 percent chose Bush, while 29 percent picked Obama.

Bush's term ended soon after his administration backed federal bailouts to aid the banking and housing industries.

For the survey, Gallup interviewed 1,004 adults over the phone Sept. 15-18, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted July 18-20, with 1,009 adult Americans, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Also see:
Obama jobs bill still waits for action in the Senate

Obama 2012 touts end of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Has Obama lost the Jewish vote?

Filed under: Economy • George W. Bush • Jobs • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. diridi

    But I blame forty years of negligence by GOP idiotic rule...o.k, Iraq war, and Reagan's Trickle Down Economy....piled up to be blamed....not Obama....what he can do in 16months????????????...

    September 21, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Debby

    Bush is guilty of giving a free reign to Dodd and Frank. Obama on the other hand doesn't have a clue how to fix the mess his fellow Dems. made out of the economy.

    September 21, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Somehow, I don't believe this. The public is not that stupid to forget history in a few short years.

    September 21, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. Clwyd

    bush was and will remain the Worst President Ever! No regard for what two illegal wars would do to our debt, no regard for the loss of over 1,000,000 Iraqi's and Afghans, no regard to the 7,200 American lives wasted and little wonder he has practically gone into hiding in disgrace!

    September 21, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Aaron

    Repubs caused the mess with their looting of the country for 8 years. However, if Obama has not had the backbone to stand up to them and end the bleeding of the average American in the last 3 years, then, yes, he is also to blame for the economic mess.

    September 21, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. thomas

    We are Americans , we never look at our responsibility of our actions. And we never hold those accountable for there actions .
    We like to blame those that tell the truth , rather then the guilty.

    Perry / Enron

    September 21, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Bush is getting less blame because forgiving people are realizing that he was clueless, inept, incompetent, and completely ill equipped to handle the job. The $5.5 trillion he added to our debt was for unfunded republican wars, unfunded tax cuts and drug programs, and his unfunded big bank bailout; therefore, it doesn't count.

    September 21, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    It is probably more appropriate to blame Obama for the huge increase in the amount of American debt and wasting so much money and time with controversial huge government programs, none of which came close to their promised improvements.
    Yes the economy was in bad shape when he took over, but he took a bad situation and made it worse. Much worse so that Americans will be sacrificing for decades to try and dig back out.

    September 21, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Name king

    I blame the American people for the bad egonomy. Obama took over this train wreck of an economy with: amost a million job lost per month. A stock market near 6 thousand. A financial disaster, an economy retracting at 9 percent. Yet Obama turned the economy around in less than a year, and as soon as Obama needed the people support the most, they abundant him, slaughtered the dems in the election, then put the repugs back in charge of the congress. These are the same repugs that stood on the sidelines the whole time, and instead of lending a helping hand to try to fix the mess they've cause, they've criticized and obstruct as much
    as possible. Yet the people thought this was a good thing to derail the economy progress by hiring the most hardliners of the repugs party who has one intention, and that is to derail the slight recovery at any cost. So they can take back the whole country and send us back down the same road Obama took us from. They think their trickle down economics of deregulation, tax cut for the rich, and get rid of government so every one will be on their own mantra, will work now since it haven't worked for the last 10 years. Well I have bad news for them, this trickle down business will get harder and harder to work as the global economy take shape and every one on the planet feel like they're living in one country. This means the trickle down pie is going to have to be huge to trickle down to all those country who will be stepping in line with America, I hope some of the crumbs are left over for us.

    September 21, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Doc M

    blah, blah, blah....these phone polls are bogus at best. Who is home answering a phone these days? Hmmmm, let me guess; they're also watching Fox Noise too. CNN, why don't you run the same poll on your website? The last one you did showed 76% in favor of ending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy; does that sound like they are blaming Obama? I'll give them this...Obama big fault is he allowed the GOP to extend them! Hopefully, that's not going to happen again.

    September 21, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Then a majority of Americans have proven they do not understand politics or history. The current economy is the direct result of decades of extreme rightwing policies designed to favor big business and the ultrarich over all else. Sure, there has been some Dem complicity along the way, with Clinton on Glass-Steagall and NAFTA being two of the most obvious examples. However, Americans better smarten up quick, because there are very powerful forces arrayed against us that seek to move America back 100 years or more.

    September 21, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Stupidity2darnhigh

    Yeah and I blame Obama for the sky being blue..... -_-

    September 21, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Good to see more Americans still blame Bush, though. They need to understand, however, that it wasn't just Bush. It was Dick "deficits don't matter" Cheney, the Koch Brothers, Enron, Goldman Sachs and whole bunch of other parasitic vampires pulling strings.

    September 21, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. gyrogearloose

    Bush doesn't need to worry about getting re-elected.
    Obama does.

    September 21, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Tired of the nonsense

    Bush's fault.
    Obama's trying to fix the problem but the GOP won't cooperate and they're making things worse.

    September 21, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. leelee

    It is absolutely absurd to think that President Obama created any of the mess we are in. The policies that got us in this mess have been 30 years in the making. If he had not taken the steps he has, we would be in worse shape.

    September 21, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Canuck

    The GOP must be rolling on the floor with laughter, they turn a surplus into a deficit, fight unfunded , incredibly expensive wars, let Wall Street wreck the economy and then watch as the American people blame President Obama.

    September 21, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. once upon a horse

    okay so MORE American's still blame Bush for our woes than blame Obama, but more are now starting to blame Obama. What the heck kind of poll is this? I would just love to see what the questions are and how they get this outcome. But I DO recall President Obama saying he would take FULL responsibilty for the economy as well he should. Even though he has a do nothing Congress to go along with him the blame always goes to the top.

    September 21, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. Df

    Us as Americans we became a society of blaming its not gonna bring jobs back from china or pay off my student loan debt.

    September 21, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Johnson

    You have got to be kidding me! After American seeing the GOP put the President in Handcuffs and we blame the President? PRICELESS! Craziest and most dumb country in the world.

    September 21, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Johnny Boy

    Duh ... Americans flunk Econ 101. Don't they folks know enough about our economic system to realize the Pres. of the US is not Commander-in-Chief of the Economy. It's a free-market (well nominally), capitalist system, folks, not a top-down, autocratic communist state, though some out-there Teapublicans may believe as much. Pity them. What's next, Obama is to blame for your cat's hairballs on the couch?

    September 21, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  22. one voice

    I blame GWB for the economy and the GOP/TEABAGGERS for blocking the recovery efforts,PERIOD

    September 21, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. skeeve

    Attention span of an average America is equal to the interval between commercials. Logic reasoning.. that concept is simply unknown so.. I am not surprised.

    September 21, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. bb

    What good are polls when they contradict each other on a daily basis?

    September 21, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    since WHEN is 1400 people that still use land lines the MAJORITY of Americans, CNN? And I'm not just saying this because of the blame on Obama but on Bush as well.

    September 21, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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