More than five years after leaving office, former President George W. Bush is still getting blame for the country’s economic problems, a new poll has found. But the percentage of Americans who blame the former president and Republicans for the current state of the economy has fallen below 50% for the first time since Bush left office, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday.
The poll (PDF) found that 34% Americans say “Barack Obama and the Democrats” are primarily responsible for the nation’s current economic problems, while 44% say “George W. Bush and the Republicans” are to blame. The percentage blaming Bush and the GOP has dropped in the last year and a half, while those putting the onus on Obama has remained largely unchanged.
In the fall of 2012, 57% blamed Bush and 35% blamed Obama. The percentage of respondents blaming both parties equally is at a new high, shooting up from 6% to 14% since September 2012.
When broken down by party identification, Democrats are unsurprisingly more likely to blame Bush and the GOP (75%) than Obama and the Democrats (15%). Republicans have a similarly predictable split, with 66% pointing the finger at Obama and his party and only 13% blaming Bush. Independents have a breakdown that more similarly reflects the overall population, with 31% blaming Obama and Democrats, 41% blaming Bush and Republicans, and 19% blaming both equally.
Tea party supporters are the most likely to blame Obama over Bush, 76% to 8%.
The same poll found Americans overall have a more positive view of the economy than they have at any other point in the last six years, but most still believe the country is in bad rather than good shape, 64% to 36%.
The snapshot of the general American outlook came one day before another underwhelming jobs report.