Will Americans Blame Bush for the Economy in 2012?

Matthew Yglesias takes heart in polling showing many Americans still blame President Bush for the state of the economy:

One gripe I hear fairly often around DC is the idea that President Obama has failed to do an adequate job of reminding the public about the disastrous legacy of the George W Bush administration. The latest NBC/WSJ poll showing resilience of Obama’s political standing in the face of a bleak national mood suggests that this isn’t really the case and the public still puts lots of blame on Bush:

A third reason is that the American public isn’t blaming Obama for the current economy, with more than six in 10 respondents still saying he inherited the country’s economic problems from his Oval Office predecessor. Also, while a combined 47 percent believe George W. Bush and his administration are “solely responsible” or “mainly responsible” for the current economy, just 34 percent in the poll say the same of Obama and his administration

I wouldn’t put much stock in this. Campaigns are giant engines of political accountability that drive election results toward what we would expect given the fundamentals. For better or worse, Obama will own the economy by next fall, though it’s possible that he will be judged less harshly since Democrats just took back control of the presidency in 2009.

[Cross-posted at Brendan-Nyhan.com]

Brendan Nyhan

Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College.