Poll: Most Blame Obama For Weak Economy

A new poll indicates that President Obama continues to be hampered by the state of the economy:

Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.

It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

The results highlight the reelection challenge Obama faces amid dissatisfaction with his first-term performance on the economy.

The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure.

(…)

Obama’s campaign, under the slogan “Forward,” has sought to steer voter attention less toward current and past economic performance and more toward questions about Republican Mitt Romney’s work in the private sector economy. It has launched attacks on the challenger’s role as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital, casting him as a jobs “outsourcer” whose firm shipped thousands of U.S. positions overseas.

The Hill Poll, however, shows the extent to which voters hold Obama responsible for the economy and reveals his vulnerability should the election become primarily a referendum on his economic management.

This isn’t surprising, Presidents always get an arguably unfair amount of the blame and/or credit for the state of the economy. However, it is reality whether its fair or not and is largely the reason that the Obama campaign is so obviously eager to change the subject on the campaign trail away from the state of the economy and to anything having to do with Mitt Romney. Whether it will work in the face of increasingly depressing economic statistics is an open question.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Ben Wolf says:

    Sooner or later, if you’re in charge, you own it. Unless you’re Jamie Dimon, of course.

  2. The headline, which I know was taken from The Hill, is not very truthful:

    The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure.

    Blame is an entirely different thing than post-hoc analysis. Most people, sane people, would only “blame” if they were sure they had a better idea at the time and were sure Obama himself rejected it.

    No, to complete that thought, what sane person who fully understands the global aftermath of the credit crisis, slowdowns in Europe and Asia, believes they had a magic bullet in 2009 or 2010 that would have made it all better?

  3. Shorter: I expect anyone, even Obama supporters, can name an action he should have done “better,” but you can’t equate that to “blaming him for the weak economy.”

  4. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research

    Pulse Opinion Research? You do know what that is?

  5. sam says:

    Uh, doesn’t this

    Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

    Contradict this:

    Poll: Majority Blame Obama For Weak Economy

    Well, lessee. 34% blame Obama, 61% blame other actors. Doesn’t this mean that the majority blames other actors, not Obama?

  6. @sam:

    Yes, I should have picked that part up. The 34% directly refutes the headline.

    The 53% is measuring something else, and the numbers cannot be swapped.

  7. The headline was a result of me misreading the poll, I’ve fixed it.

    The fact remains that Obama receives more blame for the state of the economy than any other single actor

  8. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The fact remains that Obama receives more blame for the state of the economy than any other single actor

    Considering what Pulse Opinion Research is, not sure what this poll is worth…

    …is that Pulse is a “field service” spun off of of Rasmussen Reports that conducts their well known automated, recorded-voice surveys. It also conducts polls for other clients including, as of today, Fox News. While the questions asked on specific surveys may differ, the underlying methodology used by Fox/Pulse and Rasmussen are essentially identical.

  9. @Doug Mataconis:

    Dude, 34% is not most.

    “Most” is actually a statistics word equal to “majority.”

    “More” would be barely acceptable, as it would show the relative blame with Congress.

    The most truthful story would seek out who the actual majority “blame.”

    I’d guess that they are smart enough to “blame” global economic conditions.

  10. John,

    Again, “more than any other single actor.” I’ll stick with my choice of words.

  11. PJ says:

    Nate Silver wrote a good read about Romney’s edge from likely voter polls a couple of days ago:

    On average over the past six presidential cycles, likely voter models have missed the final margin between the candidates (in their state or in the country as a whole, depending on where they surveyed) by an average of 5.2 points. Registered voter polls have missed it by an average of 5.7 points. So the likely voter models have provided somewhat more accuracy.

    The advantage comes, however, from polls conducted late in the race. From about Labor Day onward, voters become more tuned in to the campaign, and it may become easier to discern how much their interest in the campaign will translate into their likelihood of voting.

    As the next chart shows, likely voter polls have been about a full percentage point more accurate than registered voter polls when conducted from Sept. 1 until Election Day.

    However, likely voter models have not been any more accurate before that date. In fact, they have been slightly less accurate than registered voter polls (although the sample size is small enough that I wouldn’t make much of that finding).

    Many polling firms believe that likely voter models are unreliable when applied this early in the campaign, and most avoid doing so. This evidence suggests that this is a solid intuition: the things that get voters excited in July may not be the same ones that wind up doing so in November.

    Rasmussen/Pulse Opinion Research has no problem using likely voter screens almost two years before an election. I wonder why…

  12. @Doug Mataconis:

    I was speaking of your “new” title.

    Poll: Most Blame Obama For Weak Economy

    That would still be false.

  13. @Doug Mataconis:

    BTW, I called “more than any other single actor” barely acceptable, and said:

    “The most truthful story would seek out who the actual majority ‘blame.'”

    If we are making a big deal of “sticking to words” I’ll stick with those.

  14. PJ says:

    11% say A, 10% say B, 10% say C, 10% say D, 10% say E, 10% say F, 10% say G, 10% say H, 10% say I, and 9% say J.

    “Poll: Most People Say A”

  15. sam says:

    John’s right, Doug. Your new headline, while not as misleading as the first, is still misleading.

    If I said that most of New York City is underwater, and, in response to a question, said, “Well, 34% percent is underwater” — would you think that most of New York City is underwater?

  16. As the Global Financial Crisis rumbles along in its fifth year, we read the latest revelations of bankster fraud, the LIBOR scandal. This follows the muni bond fixing scam detailed a couple of weeks ago, as well as the J.P. Morgan trading fiasco and the Corzine-MF Global collapse and any number of other scandals in recent months. In every case it was traders run amuck, fixing “markets” to make an easy buck at someone’s expense. In times like these, I always recall Robert Sherrill’s 1990 statement about the S&L crisis that “thievery is what unregulated capitalism is all about.”

    It’s a good thing 34% “blame” Obama!

  17. Nikki says:

    “Poll: Most More People Say A”

    I think that this is correct.

  18. Nikki says:

    As soon as I saw it was a “The Hill” poll, I knew to take it with a grain of salt.

  19. Nikki says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Sooner or later, if you’re in charge, you own it. Unless you’re Jamie Dimon, of course.

    Or Mitt Romney.

  20. al-Ameda says:

    It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

    False Headline Alert
    According to the article, blame =
    34% Obama
    23% Congress
    20% Wall Street
    18% GW Bush

    Since when is 34% most of the blame here?

  21. JKB says:

    It’s not Obama’s fault. He’s just a President.

  22. jukeboxgrad says:

    Here we go again. Doug citing Hill citing Pulse without mentioning that Pulse=Rasmussen is exactly what he did last year, here. It’s also what Joyner did just a couple of weeks ago, here. So I guess this is going to keep happening.

    And this is aside from the phony headline. Say Doug, Pew recently reported that 44% say “raising taxes on incomes above $250,000 would help the economy.” That answer (“help economy”) was the most popular answer. Compare it to the other answers:

    22% Hurt economy
    24% No difference
    11% Don’t know

    Consider this headline:

    Poll: Most Say Raising taxes on Incomes $250k+ would Help the Economy

    You would accept that as an honest headline? Really?

  23. PJ says:

    In the poll there are four named choices {Obama, George Bush, Congress, Wall Street} and not sure.
    1. Very few Democrats will blame Obama and very few Republicans will blame Bush.
    2. While congress approval ratings really don’t really differ between Republicans and Democrats, from polling, Republicans are more in favor of obstruction than cooperation than Democrats, so it would seem that they wouldn’t be nearly as willing to blame Congress as Democrats would be.
    3. From other polling, Democrats have a clearly more negative view of Wall Street than Republicans have.

    Thus Democrats, and D leaning independents will end up splitting their blame among more of the choices.

    So, even if this poll had been made by a pollster without an agenda, I would have been amazed if Obama didn’t have the highest percentage.

    It’s a badly constructed question. (Or good, depending on your view.)

  24. anjin-san says:

    It’s noteworthy that Doug does not mention who is responsible for the poll in his post. You have to follow the link, and even after that, you have to know what Pulse is about. Then there is the pretzel logic behind the post title.

    Still, Doug is sticking with his misleading BS. Good boy. Can they make you roll over and do other tricks too?

  25. Moosebreath says:

    “Doug is sticking with his misleading BS.”

    It’s called implausible deniability.