A new Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans still blame George W. Bush for the nation’s down economy more than they blame President Barack Obama.
According to the poll, 68 percent blame Bush for the state of the economy, compared to just 52 percent who blame Obama. These numbers are largely unchanged from August 2010, when the number blaming Bush dropped from the 80s to 71 percent. Obama’s “blame level” has held at around 50 percent since March 2010
Among independents, 67 percent blame Bush compared to just 51 percent who blame Obama. Furthermore, that 51 percent is substantially lower than the 60 percent who blamed Obama for the economy last September.
These numbers are a glimmer of hope for the Obama campaign. Voters are angry and pessimistic about the state of the economy, but the fact that they don’t primarily blame Obama — and that a plurality believes that Republicans are intentionally sabotaging the economic recovery — suggests that the Obama campaign may find a receptive audience for their message.
A key plank of that message is convincing voters that Mitt Romney’s economic plan is essentially Bush’s on steroids. Obama will go to work on making that point this afternoon, when he delivers a speech that is expected to “cast November’s election as a choice between his economic stewardship and an alternative that would return the country to the policies that caused the downturn.”