Most say Bush to blame for weak U.S. economy, poll finds. But the Right want's to put this Cat Back in the Bag.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About two-thirds of Americans believe Republican former U.S. President George W. Bush is responsible for the nation's struggling economy, with a smaller percentage blaming Democratic President Barack Obama, a Gallup poll showed on Thursday.
About 68 percent of the more than 1,000 adults surveyed nationwide said Bush,
who left office in January 2009, deserves a "moderate amount" or a
"great deal" of the blame for the U.S. economic woes compared to 52
percent who pointed to his successor Obama, the poll found.
The results were released as Obama prepared to give a
major economic speech later on Thursday as part of his campaign to win
re-election on November 6. He is seeking to convince voters that his
economic remedies are working and that his Republican rival Mitt
Romney's policies would trigger an economic crisis.
Poll respondents who identified themselves as
Republicans were split, with 49 percent saying Bush deserved a moderate
amount or great deal of the blame while 51 percent said Bush deserved
not much of the blame or none at all. They expressed even more blame for
Obama, however, with 83 percent holding him largely responsible for the
state of the economy, the poll found.
Among Democrats, 90 percent blamed Bush for the weak economy and only 19 percent said Obama should carry much of the blame, according to the poll, conducted by telephone June 7 to 10.
"Republicans, in short, are significantly more willing
to blame their most recent Republican president than are Democrats
willing to blame Obama," Gallup said.
Independent voters, who could play a critical role in
the November election, were more likely to blame Bush (67 percent) than
Obama (51 percent). Fewer independents blamed Obama than Gallup's last
results in September, when 60 percent pointed to him, the poll found.
Many Americans are still struggling to recover
financially from the nation's deepest recession since the Great
Depression of the 1930s, and Obama is trying to regroup after recent
setbacks, including an anemic May jobs report.
"Americans continue to place more blame for the nation's economic problems on George W. Bush
than on Barack Obama, even though Bush left office more than three
years ago," Gallup said. "... This suggests that Obama's argument that
he is on the right track and needs more time to turn the economy around
could fall on receptive ears, particularly those of independents."
Bush, who served two four-year terms as president, has
been unable to shake the blame since Gallup began tracking the economic
finger-pointing in 2009, and has seen about 70 percent of those polled
holding him responsible since mid-2010.
Critics say Bush's tax cuts combined with increased
spending to fight two wars, among other costs, helped plunge the nation
into a deep economic crisis.
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