New poll shows Obama getting the most blame for the bad economy

posted at 9:21 am on July 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

In 2009, Barack Obama predicted that he had only three years to turn the American economy around.  “Look,” Obama told the Today audience, “if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I will be looking at a one-term proposition.”  With the economy stuck in stagnation and starting to slide backwards toward recession, voters have decided Obama is right.  A new poll from The Hill shows that two-thirds of likely voters blame bad economic policy for the current state of the economy — and more blame Obama than anyone else:

Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.

It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush. …

The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure.

The numbers are bad for Obama almost across the board.  Overwhelming numbers of both men (65/26) and women (67/26) believe the current economic malaise is the result of bad policy rather than an unavoidable consequence of the 2008 crash.  Not a single demographic thinks otherwise, not even self-described liberals (46/39).  Even without any other data, an incumbent President would face daunting odds in re-election with these numbers, since most voters assign blame or credit for economic to the White House.

But the numbers just get worse.  Despite Obama’s insistence over the last few months on blaming the economy he “inherited” — or perhaps because of his attempts to shift blame — Bush now gets the least amount of blame for the status quo, with only 18%.  Both men and women put Bush last on the list, and both put Obama highest on the list.  That’s true in every single age demographic, including the key youngest-voters group, which splits blame 32/19 between Obama and Bush.  Only among blacks (19/53), Democrats (14/35), and self-described liberals (7/36) does Bush get more blame.  Every income demographic assigns more blame to Obama than Bush.

Why now?  Perhaps it’s because voters have tired of hearing Obama refuse to accept responsibility for the failure of his own economic policies.  It might also be because George Bush hasn’t been on a ballot in eight years, and voters aren’t terribly interested in having another election about him.  Whatever the reason, this poll indicates that Obama will have to answer for the results of his economic policies of the last three years — and if that’s the case, then we’re looking at a one-term proposition, especially with Obama offering voters nothing new.

Addendum: Investors Business Daily notes that Obama has been getting his blame-Bush talking points wrong, anyway:

Romney, he says, wants to do two things: Cut taxes for the rich and massively deregulate the economy.

“The truth is,” Obama says, “we tried (that) for almost a decade, and it didn’t work.”

Bush-era tax cuts and deregulation, he argues “resulted in the most sluggish job growth in decades” along with “rising inequality, surpluses turned into deficits, culminating in the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.”

There’s just one problem. Obama’s got his history wrong.

First, Bush was no big deregulator.

In fact, under Bush, the size and cost of the federal government’s regulatory machinery increased dramatically, as Bush imposed dozens of major new rules.

Regulatory staffing, for example, climbed 44% during the Bush years , according to a study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and George Washington University.

By contrast, regulatory staffing was essentially flat under President Clinton.

Likewise, federal spending on regulations shot up 45% in real terms under Bush, compared with 26% under Clinton.

And now you know why Republicans aren’t keen on returning to Bush-era regulatory policies, either.

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