Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
For years, Barack Obama has diverted attention from his own economic decisions by blaming his predecessor, George W. Bush, for the nation’s financial woes, from deficits to debt to taxes to Medicare and Medicaid spending.
But that strategy has reached the end of its effectiveness, according to a new poll that reveals more people blame Obama for the failed state of the economy now than blame Bush.
A new poll from the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies shows that 22.3 percent of registered voters say Obama is the “one person” most responsible for the nation’s continuing economic troubles.
To the same question, 19.1 percent said George W. Bush. But critical to the coming 2012 election will be the fact that of the independents, on whose votes elections often are decided, nearly 23 percent blame Obama and only 15.5 percent blame Bush. The independents put in second place members of Congress, which is half controlled by Democrats, the poll revealed, ahead of Bush.
Pollster Fritz Wenzel pointed out the scenarios that the White House is facing because of the thinking of the American public.
“Because blame of the Congress is split equally between the Democrats who lead the Senate and Republicans who lead the U.S. House, Obama’s efforts to blame Congress for all of the problems facing the country will backfire by at least 50 percent,” Wenzel said.
“Obama’s current campaign strategy could appear to be particularly selfish, having the ironic effect of killing his support among fellow Democrats in Congress, who will no doubt resent his efforts to sell them out to save his own political skin,” he added.
“At the very least, with twice as many Democratic seats than Republican seats up for grabs [in] next year’s Senate elections, this Obama strategy may well assure that Democrats lose control of the Senate, and is unlikely to result in a Democratic takeover in the U.S. House,” he said.
The poll was conducted Dec. 5-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.26 percentage points.
The poll showed that 22.3 percent of registered voters (35.7 percent of Republicans and 22.9 percent of independents) blame Obama as the most responsible for the current economic conditions. A little more than 19 percent blame Bush and 18.3 percent blame Congress.
The poll shows 11.5 percent blame the Democratic Congress of 2009, 11.2 percent blame Wall Street and 10.1 percent blame the U.S. House. Trailing was the Democrat-led U.S. Senate.
“Finally, he is the one now blamed more than any other for the current miserable state of the economy,” Wenzel said.
The poll revealed that those in the lowest earning bracket split the blame between Bush and Obama equally, but every other bracket pinned the bigger share of the blame on Obama.
Interestingly, those “very liberal” participants blamed Obama more (14.1 percent) than either those in the “liberal” (4.1 percent) or “moderate” (6.5 percent) categories.
To the question about whether poll participants believe the United States is going in the right direction, only 23.1 percent said yes.
“There is no way around it – these are terrible numbers. Fewer than one in four Americans feel things are headed in the right direction. And it’s been this way for many months now, which is a serious danger sign for the White House because opinions like this are like cement – the longer they remain unchanged, the more set they become in the minds of voters, and the more difficult they are to change,” Wenzel said.
“The real problem for President Obama stems from the negative view that independents hold about the current state of affairs in the U.S. Just 13 percent of independents think things are headed in the right direction – a number so far below where Obama needs it to be to win re-election that the situation may already be hopeless,” Wenzel said.
A full 74.9 percent of independents believe America is on the wrong track, trailing the 85 percent of the Republicans by only a little. Only 12 percent of independents and 7 percent of Republicans think the nation is on the right track.
Among those who described themselves as “very liberal,” more than one-third (37.3 percent) said the nation is on the wrong track. That opinion rose in every other category (liberal, moderate, conservative, very conservative).
Obama’s efforts also were rejected by every race category (white, black, Hispanic, Asian-other), men and women, and all regions of the country, including a 66 percent to 25 percent rejection in the Obama-friendly East.