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Gallup: Majority now blame Obama for state of U.S. economy

September 21, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Noah K. Murray / Pool Photo…)

For the first time in his term, a majority of Americans say that President Obama bears responsibility for the state of the U.S. economy, a new Gallup poll finds.

More Americans say former President George W. Bush is to blame, but that number is slowly dropping as Obama's is ticking upward.

The survey, conducted Sept. 15-18, found that 36% blame Bush "a great deal" and 33% blame him "a moderate amount." By comparison, 24% now blame Obama "a great deal" while 29% blame him "a moderate amount." That's a shift from an 18%/32% split in an April survey.

Still, one in five voters say Obama bears no responsibility for the economic problems facing the country, while just 9% say that of Bush.

There's a clear partisan divide in the numbers.Republicans  are evenly split in saying Bush bears responsibility for the economy, but 86% are ready to say Obama is at fault. Only 25% of Democrats say Obama is responsible, while 86% say Bush is.

Among independents, 60% say Obama is to blame, while 67% say Bush is.

The question of whether Obama "owns" the economy is one that may go a long way toward determining whether he can win a second term.

"The public may not see Obama as culpable for the economy to the same degree as Bush, but that won't be sufficient protection from voters' wrath if the majority -- including 60% of independents -- nevertheless considers him highly responsible," Gallup's Lydia Saad said in an analysis of the pollster's findings.

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