Sixty-eight percent said Bush is responsible for a great deal or a moderate amount of the economy’s troubles, while only 52 percent said the same about Obama. Gallup has been tracking the “blame assessment” question since six months after Obama took office. At the time it was 80 percent for Bush and 32 for Obama, but those numbers quickly settled into the present range and there has been no significant movement in the poll since mid-2010.
Not surprisingly, the poll found Republicans are more likely to blame Obama, with 83 percent blaming Obama but 49 percent still saying Bush was responsible. Ninety percent of Democrats in the poll blamed Bush, compared to only 19 percent who blamed Obama.
Independents, who have been trending toward Romney in recent polls, ascribe 67 percent of the blame to Bush, and 51 to Obama. Obama has improved with this group from a year ago, when 60 percent said he was largely or moderately to blame.
Polls show the economy will be the No. 1 issue for voters this fall. Mitt Romney has argued that his background in the private sector makes him better equipped to manage the economy, but that argument hasn’t gained much traction, as most polls show voters split on the issue.
And despite dismal recent jobs reports and constant attacks from Romney over his handling of the economy, Obama’s job approval and favorability ratings have remained steady.