USA Today/Gallup Poll: Americans Shift Economic Blame to Obama

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 10:06 AM

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President Barack Obama’s claim that he’s not to blame for the country’s faltering economy is falling on deaf ears. For the first time since Obama took office, a majority of Americans say he deserves a great deal or moderate amount of blame for the economy, a new a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

Granted, 36 percent still believe that former President George W. Bush deserves a great deal of blame for the state of the economy and 24 percent believe Obama is the guilty one now.

But the numbers blaming Bush have been dropping while those ascribing the economic quagmire to Obama’s failed policies are increasing.

"The blame-it-on-my-predecessor line is of decreasing help to an incumbent," political scientist William Mayer of Northeastern University told USA Today. "It was perfectly fine when he took office, and even reasonable a year or two in, but eventually, increasingly, it becomes Obama's economy. It won't surprise me if, by the time you get to the 2012 election, Obama has overtaken Bush in that regard."

Americans also are becoming more pessimistic about the economy, with 8 in 10 saying the economy is in a recession and six in 10 believing the economy will be the same or worse a year from now.

"When people don't think the economy is headed in the right direction, that does create people pulling back, being a little more careful with spending," Chris Christopher, a U.S. economist with HIS Global Insight, told USA Today. "The businesses . . . aren't going to hire more people until the consumers spend more, and consumers aren't going to spend more until they see the unemployment rate drop."

Americans label Obama as a better president than Bush, at 43 percent to 34 percent. They also rate former President Bill Clinton, who presided over an economic boom, higher than Obama, the paper reported.


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