Though more Americans see the economy in bad shape than did at the beginning of the summer, their views of whether to re-elect President Barack Obama have barely changed - and a majority blame George Bush for the problems, a new poll says.
Eighty-six percent of those surveyed for an Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday say that the economy is in "poor" condition, up from 80 percent in June. And, according to 49 percent of those surveyed, things have gotten worse in the past month.
With the economy struggling, Obama continues to get low marks for his handling of it. Sixty-three percent of Americans say they disapprove of his handling of the economy, including 48 percent say they “strongly” disapprove. Just 36 percent say they approve of his handling of the economy, the lowest it’s ever been in this poll.
While Republicans have pushed to cast the sputtering economy as Obama's fault, Americans place their blame elsewhere. Fifty-one percent say that George W. Bush is most to blame for the down economy, while 31 percent say it's Obama.
At the same time, 44 percent of Americans say that "a lot" or "most" of the blame should be put on the shoulders of congressional Republicans, while 36 percent say the same of congressional Democrats.
Still, Obama's reelection prospects have stayed constant in the poll. In June, 48 percent of those surveyed said they thought he deserves a second term. Now, 47 percent say the same.
Nonetheless, other ratings for the president have sputtered this summer. Fifty-one percent of Americans say he's a strong leader, down from 60 percent in June and 65 percent in early may following the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Even among Democrats, his leadership marks have suffered, with 76 percent calling him a strong leader, down from 85 percent two months ago. Democrats have also waned in their approval of the Obama's handling of the economy - 65 percent approved in June, but 58 percent say the same now.
The poll was conducted Aug. 18-22 and surveyed 1,000 adults. It has an error margin of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
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