A new CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll released today should provide some hope to Democrats and cause a bit of concern for the GOP ahead of the mid term elections. The poll revealed that a majority of Americans (53%) blame George W. Bush and the GOP not Barack Obama and the Democrats for the nation’s current economic problems.
The CNN/ Opinion Dynamics poll asked a very simple question. Who do you hold responsible for the nation’s current economic problems George W. Bush and the GOP, or Barack Obama and the Democrats? Fifty three percent of respondents blamed Bush and the Republicans, while only 33% blamed Obama and the Democrats, 10% blamed both parties, 3% said neither, and 1% were not sure.
Men blame the Republicans over the Democrats, 51%-34%. Women blame the Republicans by and even larger margin, 55%-32%. White people blame Republicans by the smallest margin, 45%-40%. People under 50 years old overwhelmingly blame the Republicans, 56%-29%. Those over 50 years old blame Bush and the GOP by a margin of 49%-38. The only age group that blames Obama and the Democrats are senior citizens, and they only do so by the slightest of margins, 45%-39%.
Not surprisingly Democrats are the most likely to blame Bush and the GOP for the economy, 80%-14, while Republicans are most likely to blame Obama, 64%-21%. Evidence of just how small the GOP tent has gotten can be seen by the fact that Independents blame Bush and the GOP, more than Obama and the Democrats by 21 points, 51%-30%. Moderates also aren’t buying what the GOP is selling as they blame Bush and the GOP even more than Independents, 61%-23%. It is interesting to note that while conservatives blame Obama more, Independents and moderates blame Bush and the GOP by the same or higher margins.
Blame of Bush and the Republicans also cuts across income and education. Those who earn less than $50,000 blame Bush and the GOP by a 56%-31%, and those who earn more than $50,000 pretty much agree that this is Bush and the GOP’s mess by a margin of 52%-36%. In terms of education, those who did not attend college blame Bush and the Republicans, 47%-38%, while those who attended college heavily blame George W. Bush’s and his party, 57%-29%.
Not only would it be wise for Democrats to run on the economy this fall, it might be their only path to saving their majority. The Republican attempt to package the economy as Obama’s fault is not resonating with the American people. This is why the GOP is trying to win the midterm elections by discussing things like healthcare reform. America remembers all too well how the previous Republican administration ran the economy into the ground. In short, try as they might the GOP can’t wash the stink of George W. Bush off of their bodies.
There is a reason why Obama keeps reminding America what George W. Bush did to the economy. Most Americans feel exactly the same way. People aren’t as stupid as the Republicans wish they were. They also understand that Obama is trying to dig the nation out of hole that was created under Republican leadership. If Democrats spend the fall hammering away at the economy, while the GOP tries to revive the culture wars of the 1990s, election night might not be so bad for the Dems, but the caveat remains that moderates and Independents don’t vote in big numbers in the midterms, so the Democrats will have to find a way to energize their base.
You can expect Republicans to keep avoiding the pesky question of what they would do about the economy, and George W. Bush’s will remain the name that shall not be spoken on the campaign trail, but beyond 2010, this poll demonstrates just how far Republicans still have to go in order to be competitive with Obama in 2012. The Republican Party is still a small and shrinking operation, whose message is designed to appeal to the Tea Party, not centrist America. The overarching message of this poll is that while America is not happy with Obama they have no faith in GOP’s ability to fix the economy, as they are still haunted by the ghost of George W. Bush and Republican failures past.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association