A new CNN poll explains why President Obama is leading in the polls. By margin of 57%-35%, registered voters blame George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the poor condition of the economy.
The CNN/ORC poll began with what should have been some good news for Romney. By a margin of 68%-32%, registered voters rated economic conditions in the country as poor. This moment of temporary Romney optimism was crushed by the fact that 67% of registered voters expect their economic condition to be good next year. Forty four percent of voters consider themselves worse off than they were four years ago, compared to 37% who say that they are better off.
The back breaker for Romney came when registered voters were asked which policies were more to blame for the country’s current economic problems, George W. Bush and the Republicans or Barack Obama and the Democrats. Fifty seven percent of registered voters said that Bush and the Republicans are responsible, compared to 35% who blamed Obama and the Democrats.
A deeper look inside the who is responsible numbers reveals that by a margin of 53%-37%, Independents think Bush and the GOP are responsible for the current state of the economy. Fifty six percent of men and fifty eight percent of women still hold Bush and the GOP responsible. White people narrowly hold Bush and Republicans more responsible, 48%-42% Americans under age 50 hold Bush and the Republican Party more responsible by a more than 2 to 1 margin, 62%-30%. The only groups polled that hold Obama and the Democrats responsible are Republicans (72%) and conservatives (52%).
The reason why Obama is winning is because voters are agreeing with his message that the economy is getting and will continue to get better. The likely and registered voters in this poll expect it to be better by next year. Voters aren’t believing Mitt Romney when he claims that if Obama gets reelected the economy will get worse.
More importantly, Republicans nominated a self styled economic Mr. Fix It whose solutions voters are viewing as the cause of the problem. The registered voters in this poll are still holding George W. Bush and his party responsible for the economy. This means that Romney’s economic plan, which is to do what Bush did, is signalling to voters that he may very well make things worse if elected.
In short, Romney is failing to convince voters that the economy is Obama’s fault. The voters in this poll have not forgotten who was in office during the economic collapse, and Mitt Romney has not been able to convince them that he would do anything to make it better.
Pundits and pollsters have expressed confusion over why Obama has been able to lead Romney while hauling around such a sluggish economy. The answer is simply that voters aren’t blaming the president for the economy. They still view the economic mess as something that he inherited from George W. Bush. Romney’s attacks on Obama over the economy are falling flat because a majority of voters are rejecting his basic premise that Obama is to blame for the economy.
Voters see the economy going in the right direction, they agree with President Obama that it will get even better, and they are still holding George W. Bush and the Republican Party responsible for the economic collapse.
These three reasons are why Barack Obama is so far defying the odds, and is positioned to win reelection in the midst of a stubborn and difficult economy.
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