Poll: Blame still goes to Bush for bad economy
June 14th, 2012
08:16 AM ET
11 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. Jim970

    When all else fails, blame Bush. If we really wanted to lay blame, it would probably fall on Jimmy Carter who decided the rules should be eased so the poor could own homes. That or Bill Clinton who signed into law reduced regulation of the financial industry. Those two things set the U.S. up for a disaster. Really not Bush's fault that the disaster finally struck in the waning days of his presidency. Mostly it is just popular to blame everything on him. Obama has done a great job of passing the buck. Why shouldn't the rest of us. Did Bush really make us overspend our credit cards until there was no hope of recovery? Did Bush really make us buy houses that were way beyond our means? I don't think so.

    June 14, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. Thatguy371

    If respected economists say Dubya is mostly to blame for the economic mess we're still in, I believe them. I pay no attention to the ultra right wing anyway. Their comments are first of all racist since they simply can't stand Obama, and second of all it's always their way or the highway. No wonder the repubs are barely treading water these days.

    June 14, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Treebeard

    Today is flag day.
    Its not a Republican flag.
    Its not a Democrat flag.
    Its an American flag.

    Care to argue ?

    June 14, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Zero The Hero

    Democrats – Put the blame where it lays.
    Republicans – Deny Deny Deny then lie.

    June 14, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. brian

    Republican ways would not last a week outside of the US. The gullibility of Americans is mind-blowing.

    June 14, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. MaryM

    Romney supports the Bush era policies. Americans DO NOT want another Bush in the White House.

    June 14, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Working Class Hero

    Obama, still the better choice over another 4 – 8 years of Republican ideological rule, war mongering, and pandering to the rich and only rich.

    June 14, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. Jason D

    Vote Republican If You're Rich

    Vote Democrat if You're NOT !!!

    June 14, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. mkhewew

    The poll question was skewed. The whose going to say that Bush had a moderate to no bad effect on the economy.

    June 14, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. AngelainIndiana

    I remember his 8 years – a few friends of mine blamed EVERYTHING bad that he did on President Clinton. Using this logic President Bush is to blame for any President Obama issues. Wonder why those friends don't think so?

    June 14, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. obamamnesty

    Since 2007 when dems had total control of WH and both houses for 2 years and still hold 2 out of 3 of those for past 3 years. Yeahhhh Bush's fault. Obama reminds us daily of that! People do not care whose fault it is! Fix it! ABO

    June 14, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. David Martin

    Instead of blaming Bush or Obama or any other individual, let's try blaming the real culprits–a system that agrees with Gordo Gecko that "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good"; a society that insists you must have the most up- to-date computer, the biggest flat screen TV, a house bigger than we need–all whether we can afford it or not; a banking system that charges every increasing fees and interest rates, while paying ever decreasing interest rates, a society–and government–that refuses to live within its means. That is where the blame belongs!

    June 15, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  13. Dante6

    Bush really didn't have very good non-biased advisors. They should have imposed a war tax when it was evident that the war was going to last more than a year. At a miminum he should have killed the tax breaks for the duration of the war. Lastly, he really should have curtailed Cheany and Rove. However, Monday morning quarterbacking is about as useless as trying to understand the Obama plan for recovery

    June 15, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. Abby

    If the problems that Bush started are even worse today then it appears that we are going in the wrong direction and need somebody new that has the ability to fix it. Obama doesn't have the solutions or leadership skills to fix this economy.

    June 15, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  15. matt f

    bush debt 4 trillion in 8 years obama Debt is 8 trillion and he has done so in 3.5 years. bush spent more than any other president until obama. obama spent more than all presidents combined from george washington to george bush all together and he did so in his first 6 months of office. these facts are available to all americans. its sad to see mindless people get there info from media that is not truthful to the people. gas is around $3.50 a gallon and unemployment hovers around 8.4% and thats being generous. if obama wants to blame bush why doesnt he blame him for 4.4.% unemployment and the $1.84 a gallon gas when bush left office. facts dont lie people. m.s.n.b.c. lies. im a american and i can see with my own eyes and own opinion that bush was a ok to bad president. obama is a horrible to jimmy carter on steriods worst presdent ever in history of country. economically by the numbers and by his foreign policy....etc.... all around. im a republican and i would have rather of seen hillary clinton a dog b4 thi

    June 15, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. clarke

    Well it may not be anyones fault, but every one is to blame, that includes both parties and the American people as well. I don't think pointing fingers is the answer and I don't think anyone intended it to happen. Instead of looking to blame, why can't we look to fix it and it needs to come from everyone. The only way is to work together toward a common goal. But because everyone appears to be so self serving, I don't see it any time soon. Do what is good for the country and it's people, not for a political party, put aside the hate.

    June 15, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
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