A majority of American voters believe that President Barack Obama deserves blame for the country's economic troubles, a USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday said. It is the first time since the president's election that a majority of voters feel that way.

24 percent of Americans believe that Obama deserves a "great deal of blame" - a rise of 10 percentage points since mid-2009 - while 36 percent think that former president George W. Bush should get the majority of the blame. Bush's numbers show a decline of 7 percent over the same period, showing that voters are increasingly unwilling to blame current economic conditions on the previous administration.

The shifts may complicate the White House's ability to sell the president's new jobs plan - even amongst Democratic allies - and show discontent with the implement of Obama's stimulus package.

Worse for the president is that eight in ten believe the economy is in a recession, and six in ten do not believe that the economy will improve by next year.

The troubling economic news is battering the president's popularity, which has sunk below 40 percent in the latest McClatchy-Marist poll.

The same poll showed Republican challengers gaining on the president in head-to-head matchups.