Hill Poll: Voters Blame Obama Most for Dire Economy

Monday, 23 Jul 2012 11:56 AM

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More than a third of likely voters -- 34 percent -- fault President Barack Obama most for the country’s lethargic economy over the past few years, making him the top culprit in a new poll from The Hill.

And a 53 percent majority or responents in the poll say Obama has taken the wrong actions on the economy, slowing it down, while just 42 percent say he has taken the correct actions to revive the economy.

Even worse for Obama, 37 percent of independents, who will likely determine the election’s outcome, blame him for the nation's dire economic straits. Another 29 percent blame Congress, 20 percent blame financial institutions and corporations, and 9 percent blame Bush.

Overall, after Obama, 23 percent of the respondents blame Congress the most, 20 percent blame financial institutions and corporations, and 18 percent blame former President George W. Bush.

Among independents, 59 percent say Obama has done the wrong things for the economy, while 36 percent say he’s done the right things.

As for Congress, 30 percent of respondents think Republican members have taken the right actions to improve the economy, while 57 percent say they have taken the wrong actions.

Among independents, 26 percent say Republican congressmen have done the right things, while 59 percent say they have done the wrong things.

Is the slow pace of economic recovery inevitable? A 66 percent majority say no, that it’s the result of bad policy in Washington, D.C. Only 26 percent say the weak growth is unavoidable. Among independents, 65 percent blame Washington, and 29 percent say it’s inevitable.

The news comes amid signs that the U.S. economy is worsening once again heading into the fall campaign season.

An Associated Press study released Sunday found that the ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s.

The AP surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many states including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.

On Monday, economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 crash, said he believes the U.S. economy will slow further this year and next as expectations of the “fiscal cliff” keep spending and growth lower — and uncertainty about the outcome of the presidential election dogs markets.

“In 2013, as transfer payments are phased out, however gradually, and as some tax cuts are allowed to expire, disposable income growth and consumption growth will slow. The U.S. will then face not only the direct effects of a fiscal drag, but also its indirect effect on private spending,” he wrote, according to a story on CNBC's website.

Roubini warns that in 2013 the U.S. economy could tip “into outright contraction.”

Also on Monday, a new Scott Rasmussen poll reported that entrepreneurs who start businesses are believed to do more to create jobs and economic growth than big businesses or government.

Most survey respondents also believe that small-business owners work harder than other Americans and are primarily responsible for the success or failure of their businesses, according to a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey.

The poll, like others, was inspired by President Barack Obama's recent remark in which he said, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”

Seventy-two percent of the 1,000 likely U.S. voters surveyed by telephone on July 21 and July 22 say that people who start small businesses are primarily responsible for their success or failure. Only 13 percent disagree.

But 77 percent believe small-business owners work harder than other workers. Just 2 percent think they don’t work as hard.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of voters believe entrepreneurs who start small businesses do more to create jobs and economic growth than big businesses or government programs. Only 16 percent think big businesses do the most when it comes to creating jobs and economic growth.

Eleven percent feel state and local government programs deserve the most credit, while 7 percent think federal government programs have the biggest impact.

Similarly, 61 percent believe that small businesses provide more valuable service to a community than big business or government at any level.



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