Why the Blame Game matters, cont’d

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released Wednesday, included the question that continues to surprise me: “Who do you think is mostly to blame for the current state of the nation’s economy — (1) the Bush administration, (2) the Obama administration, (3) Wall Street and financial institutions, (4) Congress, or (5) someone else?”

And as with all other recent polls on this, the public still isn’t blaming the president the way Republicans had hoped.

Few Americans blame the President for the economy’s current condition, however. Only 8% think the Obama administration deserves most of the blame for the state of the nation’s economy. More say George W. Bush’s administration (26%) and Wall Street and financial institutions (25%) are mostly to blame. 11% blame Congress.

Got that? On the list of relevant institutions, the Obama administration ranks near the bottom on the list of those getting the blame for the economy. What’s more, the numbers have been pretty steady on this for the last year and a half.

When I wrote about this earlier in the week, I got all kinds of angry emails from conservatives insisting that the poll I cited was wrong. It couldn’t be true that Americans are declining to blame Obama because … well, it just couldn’t.

But I’m just the messenger here, and all of the surveys say the same thing. The latest polls from McClatchy/Marist and NBC/WSJ show the exact same thing as the CBS/NYT poll: Americans are angry, frustrated, and pessimistic about the economy, but most of the public just doesn’t see Obama as the main culprit.

One need not like the results to see the results as they exist.

If it makes the right feel any better, this dynamic may well change. The economic circumstances may reach a point where public impatience boils over, and the blame shifts.

But for now, the “he made it worse” crowd isn’t persuading many people.