Americans Continue to Blame Bush More Than Obama for Economy

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Just minutes after posting perspectives about what the massive drop in median American families’ net worth during the recession might mean in November, we spotted this new Gallup poll that asks Americans who is more responsible for the bad economy: President Bush or President Obama. The majority of Americans still blame President Bush for the country’s economic problems by roughly the same margin as they did last September.

How much are President Bush and President Obama to blame for the bad economy? chart; Credit: Gallup Poll

Gallup first asked the blame question six months into Obama’s presidency in July 2009. At that time, 80 percent of Americans gave President Bush a “great deal or moderate amount” of the blame compared with 32 percent who gave the same level of blame to President Obama. Since then, President Obama’s blame percentage rose to about 50 percent in March 2010 and President Bush’s fell to about 70 percent in August 2010, and the “relative amount of blame” has “largely stabilized over the past two years.”

One interesting data point is that Republicans’ blame is more “ecumenical” than Democrats. While 90 percent of Democrats think President Bush is to blame for the economy (with only 19 percent blaming President Obama), 83 percent of Republicans blame Obama “a great deal or moderate amount” and 49 percent ascribe the same amount of blame to Bush.

Chart: Blame for U.S. Economic Problems - By Party ID; Creidt: Gallup Poll

One key finding upon which many pundits will focus:

Independents are substantially more likely to blame Bush (67%) than to blame Obama (51%) for the nation’s economic problems, a finding that no doubt provides some comfort to the Obama re-election campaign. And fewer independents blame Obama now than did so last September (60%).

At the same time, “Americans continue to have more negative than positive views of the current economy and the direction in which it is headed, which generally does not bode well for Obama.” But if the election does turn out to be a referendum on which president’s policies put the country in our current economic straits, these poll numbers may mean that the Obama campaign’s message — that the economy is on the right track and President Obama just needs more time to turn things around — could “fall on receptive ears, particularly those of independents” in November.

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  • Charles Mayer

    one main ingredient is the banks and how they made bad people couldn’t possibly hope to repay

  • Dick

    It all started with Reagonomics and the war against unions! every penny kept from the working class is money in the pockets of the greedy rich…the Middle class creates jobs!

  • Andrea

    How quickly the Republicans forget Mr. Bush taking office with a record surplus and leaving President Obama with a record deficit. 

  • Durkster

    What actually influences my analysis of that chart is that there was a whopping 32 % in mid 2009 that blamed Obama for the problems. That means that one can actually write off two thirds of the conservative views as completely 100 % irrational

  • C Andrei

    Thie approach is totally counterproductive. The blame game might be effective on the short term for political gain but it won’t solve our problems. Our deficit rose $5 trillion in this current administration and I don’t see any serious plan to cut the spending. Even if the government would confiscate all the profit of the 500 Fortune Companies that would only bring in enough money for the Government expenses for 6 months. We’re currently borrowing 40 cents for every dollar we spend. An economy cannot be prosperous if we continue to borrow/spend at the current level.

  • Jeff Ninetyninepercenter Edwor

    Obummer inherited 7 trillion debt in the way of lost revenue due to the Bush tax bush.  the over all debt would have been cut in half without the tax cuts in place.

    Bush took a surplus and while deficit spending was run wild, cut taxes at the same time.  That is the curve that Obummer inherited.

    ANd while i obviously do not care for our president, I am not going lie about who caused our disaster of a economy.

  • C Andrei

    Ok, I understand your point.  At which point Obama is going to own the economy? And what did he do in the first two years on his term(while he had majority in Senat and Congress(now he can blame the Republican majority in the Congress for blocking his initiatives) to solve the problem? He passed the stimulus plan who added an extra $ Trillion to our deficit and a healthcare law that’s going to add many hundred of billions for the years to come.  I think that we are the only country in the industrialized world that didn’t pass a budget in 3 years.
    I don’t know what kind of work you do for a living but I’m sure you have or had in the past at least one manager. I cannot imagine ( I don’t know about you) a manager of a business blaming the previous manager for the bad situation his( or her company) is in. Nobody in the real world pays a salary to someone for excuses or blaming the previous manager. Other than that(besides blames and excuses) what’s his plan?

  • Kevin Taylor

    Since Romney is basically proposing all the exact same policies as Bush – even doubling down on some of them – how would electing him change what got us into this mess?

  • E Yeisley

     The health care low will actually reduce the tax burden by almost 1 trillion over 10 years according the Congressional Budget Office.

  • Squealin’

    Just like Clinton who turned the big boat around after the first Big Bush..It will take at least 6 years to turn this ugly ship around after the second Little Bush!

  • Jrguilford79

    Where does the housing crisis fit into our economic mess?  Barney Frank and several other notable politicians helped create this crisis. 

  • Doc

     Simple, Romney promised to bring jobs to America, more specifically Ohio and Michigan, when campaigning in 2008. American Standard was then bought by Bain Capital. They cut the factory up and shipped the jobs to Mexico. Still says on the American Standard box, Made in North America. So Romney will just continue to ship jobs to Mexico (North America). No job creation in the United States from 2000 to 2008, but good job growth for Mexico. Romney knows business, after all.

  • Doc

     At what point are people going to remember the cost for the Iraq war? Unfunded and put us in debt. That was EXACTLY what Bin Laden wanted us to do, to self destruct economically. Looks like it is working, and WHO said we have to attack Iraq??? Oh yeah, must have been Obama.

  • Nasolomon

    the banks and wall street

  • Obamagadeon

    Read “The Amateur” by Ed Klein
    It’s at the top of the NY Times Best Seller List

  • Obamagadeon

    Obama has done worse than nothing..He hasn’t a plan, nor a clue.  He’s the worst thing that has ever happened to the US.  He’s got to go otherwise we’ll be Greece.
    Why do people continue to coddle Obamafool?
    Romney can only make things better for everyone.  

  • Obamagadeon

    Well put.  Someone needs to float a plan to right the ship…Oh wait Rand Paul did that and he was ignored.  Obama isn’t proposing anything that might work.  Congress knows Obama will veto any plan.  Our debt is snowballing to the point where we’ll be Greece is 6 short years….maybe sooner.

    The only answer is drastic cuts for all now.  It’s not defense vs welfare or solyndra vs coal subsidies….it’s less of everything.  Govt is seriously bloated.   We need a 15% paycut for all govt employees.  If anyone (like a superspy) is exempt then we need to cut 2x elsewhere to make up for it.  Likewise govt spending needs to be cut by 25%….the amt can vary but again 2x the offset is required to allow uneven cuts…

  • Obamagadeon

    Obama is the only one to blame.  He’s done nothing but divide our country, spend, go golfing, take lavish vacations, surround himself w/ radicals and other idiots, blame others, ignore most advice, incite race issues, ignore the constitution, violate immigration laws, appoint most positions during recess (coward) and lots more.

    When we need action on the economy this fool is AWOL.  Time to correct the great mistake of  ’08.

    If anyone still supports Obama they’re either a racist, idiot, moocher or illegal alien.

  • Treborunc

    Personally I think this started with Reagan. And Clinton had his part in it as well. Ultimatly though, the American people are to blame for not paying attention to what their elected  officials are up to in Washington.

  • Virginia Cooper

     This is true; so many people I’ve talked to do not bother with paying attention to politics at all, much less vote. ‘Lack of participation’ is the biggest problem with the public; Too many are ignorant to what their government is doing and those who are slightly aware assume that “the government can do what it wants” and “you can’t stop the government”; this attitude is destroying our democracy.

  • Anonymous

    United States as Hostage
    Republicans are using the following tactics to hold the United States hostage:
    ·         Obstruct meaningful dialogue and bi-partisan cooperation regardless of the impact to society.
    ·         Leverage the very real problems of deficit and unemployment to benefit private investors.
    Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, provides three examples of Republicans putting party agenda first without regard of the impact to society.
    First, prior to January 26, 2010 the United States Senate voted on a resolution to create an eighteen member deficit-reduction task force to address the U.S. debt problem. Co-authored by North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad and New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, the resolution had bi-partisan support including Mitch McConnell. Eight months prior (May 12, 2009) Mitch McConnell had stated on the Senate floor: “…the best way to address the crisis is the Conrad-Gregg proposal…”[1]
    On January 26, 2010, led by Mitch McConnell and six of the Republican co-sponsors the Senate blocked the resolution. Why would so many Republican co-sponsors kill their own idea? Did it have anything to do with President Obama also being in favor of the task force?
    Second, during the July 2011 debt crises negotiations, Mitch McConnell made the following statement:
    “I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy… If we go into default, he will say that Republicans are making the economy worse and try to convince the public – maybe with some merit, if people stop getting their social security checks and military families start getting letters saying service people overseas don’t get paid. It’s an argument he could have a good chance of winning … That is very bad positioning going into an election”.[2]
    Was Mitch McConnell more concerned about the Republican image than the country’s problems? Was he considering not co-operating so that further hardship on the country would follow and in turn the Democrats blamed?
    Third, in October 2010, Mitch McConnell stated “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” This may be the goal of all opposing parties regardless of who is in office. However, as it occurs between the previous two examples, it begs the question; is there a trend, a pattern, an agenda more important than solving the country’s problems?
    The deficit and unemployment, both nationally and in Maine, are very real problems. How those issues are being addressed by the Republicans is both deceitful and immoral.
    From the Congressional Budget Office, “Changes in CBO’s Baseline Projections Since January 2001”, dated June 7, 2012, states the following:
    “In January 2001, CBO’s baseline projections showed a cumulative surplus of $5.6 trillion for the 2002–2011 periods. The actual results have differed from those projections because of subsequent policy changes, economic developments that differed from CBO’s forecast, and other factors. As a result, the federal government ran deficits from 2002 through 2011. The cumulative deficit over the 10-year period amounted to $6.1 trillion—a swing of $11.7 trillion from the January 2001 projections.”[3]
    The data provided indicates the current national debt is a combination of tax cuts, bailouts, discretionary spending and interest between 2001 and 2011, and less than expected growth.
    ·         In January 2001, President George H. Bush inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus.
    ·         Revenues during the 10 year period were decreased by $6.1 trillion through tax cuts of $2.8 trillion (Bush and Obama) and $3.1 trillion as a result of the economic downturn.
    ·         Outlays during the 10 year period were increased by $5.6 which included discretionary spending ($2.9 trillion), bailouts, tax break costs, Medicare prescriptions ($1.4 trillion) and interest ($1.3 trillion).
    Taking the $6.1 trillion revenue decrease and $5.6 trillion outlay increase, the swing is $11.7 trillion.
    This begs the following questions:
    ·         Why did the United States maintain tax breaks during the Iraq conflict, an unplanned outlay?
    ·         Why would the United States maintain tax breaks during an economic downturn?
    Also, where is the money from the Bush era tax breaks and the Bush / Obama bailouts?
    Answer:  (from 1990 to 2007)[4]
    ·         The proportion of after-tax income for the top 1% as compared to total after-tax income increased from 11% to 17%.
    ·          The proportion of after-tax income for the remaining 99% as compared to total after-tax income decreased from 89% to 83%.
    The answer begs further questions:
    ·         Why should someone get a tax-break in the hope they will invest and create jobs?
    ·         Shouldn’t the tax break come after the investment has demonstrated a net increase of jobs? In other words unemployed individuals are now employed.
    ·         Shouldn’t the tax break come if the investment failed in creating jobs in the form of a tax deduction?
    ·         Of the top 1% or even top 20% who calls themselves job creators and whose after-tax income has grown; have they invested in job creation?
    ·         If not what are they waiting for? They’ve been getting tax breaks for years and unemployment is growing.
    Regarding the deficit; as part of the 1990 federal budget agreement, the PAYGO rule was implemented. The pay-as-you-go rule required any reduction in taxes or increases in mandatory spending (entitlements) be balanced with some combination of tax increases and mandatory spending cuts. A tax reduction of one type would be offset by a tax increase of another type and / or increase of mandatory spending of one type offset by mandatory spending decrease of another type.
    The PAYGO statute expired in 2002 and not continued due to Republican opposition. A version of PAYGO was reinstated in 2007, but repealed in 2011 by the Republicans. In its place CUTGO was implemented. Any spending increase had to be offset by a spending decrease; leaving tax cuts exempt from offsets.[5]
    Tax breaks have contributed negatively to the deficit, tax breaks have not contributed to job creation with respect to reduced unemployment, and tax breaks have not been removed to address the deficit (even on a temporary basis). Rather tax breaks have contributed to the wealth of a small minority at the expense of the majority affecting standard of living, personal health, education, and one’s quality of life. How this has occurred and continues through partisan politics is deceitful, the results immoral.
    [1] 155 Congressional Record S5342 (May 2009)
    (statement of Senator Mitch McConnell on the Trustees Annual Report)[2]   Felicia Sonmez, “McConnell Warns Default Could Destroy GOP Brand”, Washington Post, July 13,2011, “Changes in CBO’s Baseline Projections Since January 2001” Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, “It’s Even Worse than It Looks”, Basic Books (May 1, 2012)

  • Joan Larkin

    All this shows is that the great divide between Republicans and libeal/Democrats is alive and well.

  • Anonymous

    bill I don’t know who is being polled but somehow if those polled knew the truth your story would be very different.

  • Anonymous

    face the facts obama has messed the country up no more blame games to protect his worthless hide.