Ownership of the bad economy continues to fall on former President Bush more so than the current administration or Republicans in Congress, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. But opinions toward Bush have softened slightly while judgments of President Obama have hardened.
Fully 57 percent believe that the actions taken by the Bush administration made the economy worse, and only 16 percent say better. The public divides more narrowly in its judgment of Obama’s economic stewardship; 29 percent say his policies have made things better, 37 percent worse and 33 percent say no effect.
By no means is Obama off the hook for the economy, though. Last October, 40 percent said Obama’s policies were making things better. That’s fallen to 29 percent now.
That slippage is due most prominently to a change in opinion among African Americans, who continue to rate the president positively. A 54 percent majority of African Americans now say Obama has made the economy better — one of the best ratings from any group — but down sharply from 77 percent last October. Today, 39 percent say his actions have had no effect on the economy, a 22-point increase from October.
The movement in views that he’s made thing worse is more subtle, growing from 31 percent negative in October to 37 percent now among all respondents. As noted, 57 percent say Bush made things worse, but that’s down from 63 percent in October 2010.
Bush’s negative ratings have receded a bit thanks in part to less sharp assessments from independents, down 11 points. At the same time, independents are increasingly negative toward Obama’s actions, up nine points.
Republicans in Congress have little to show for their economic efforts so far. By more than 2 to 1, more people say they’ve made things worse than better, 39 to 16 percent, with a 42 percent plurality saying they’ve made no difference.