Voters Still Blame Bush For Economy, Poll Says
Former president George W. Bush.
(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Does the Democratic argument that George W. Bush's policies are responsible for the nation's economic plight still have legs, more than two years after he left office? According to the latest CNN/ORC and ABC News/Washington Post surveys, the answer is yes.
When asked whether the policies of President Obama and the Democrats or Bush and the Republicans are more responsible for the country's current economic problems, 57 percent said Bush and the Republicans are more responsible, according to the CNN/ORC poll, while just 29 percent said Obama and the Democrats are more responsible. 10 percent said both are responsible while three percent indicated they find neither to be culpable.
What's more, the percentage that find Bush and the Republicans more responsible has jumped from the CNN/ORC poll conducted in September of 2010, less than a year after Bush left office. Then, 53 percent said Bush and the Republicans were more responsible while 33 percent said Obama and the Democrats were responsible.
The latest CNN/ORC survey utilized a split sample. Roughly half were asked the question, "Do you think the policies of Barack Obama and the Democrats or George W. Bush and the Republicans are more responsible for the country's economic problems?" The responses to that question are reflected above. The other sample was asked a similar question without the names of Obama or Bush: "Do you think the Democrats or the Republicans are more responsible for the country's current economic problems." 35 percent responded to that question by saying Republicans are more responsible, while 38 percent said Democrats were more responsible.
The differences are striking: When Bush's name is mentioned, the responses are dramatically different. Without his name, blame is roughly evenly spread between Democrats and Republicans, suggesting that now, even years after the end of the Bush administration, the argument that Obama used during the 2008 campaign, and has used many times since, can still resonate with Americans.
The ABC News/Washington Post survey asks a different question: "Thinking about the economic challenges facing the country would you say the actions taken by the [ITEM] made things better, made things worse, or had no effect? (IF BETTER or WORSE) Would that be much better/worse or somewhat better/worse?"
When asked about the Bush administration, 57 percent said the administration made things worse; only 16 percent said the Bush administration made things better. Thirty-seven percent said the Obama administration made things worse and 29 percent said the administration made things better. Finally, 39 percent said Republicans in Congress made things worse, while just 16 percent said they made it better.
CNN/ORC's poll of 1,009 adults was conducted from July 18-20 and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The sub-sample of 507 adults who were asked the question without Bush or Obama's name carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points, as does the sub-sample of 502 adults who were asked the question with the name of Bush and Obama.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,001 adults was conducted July 14-17, and carries a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points. The survey was produced by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.