Notes Poll Showing Bush Blamed for Economy, Skips One Showing Voters Favor GOP On Issues

Yesterday the Gallup organization released a poll showing that Americans trust Republicans over Democrats on most major issues heading into the general election season. Today the same polling outfit released a poll that found a large number of Americans blame George W. Bush for the faltering economy. 

Guess which one Gallup partner USA Today hyped?

Here's how USA Today staffer Susan Page began her September 2 online story (filed at noon today):

Nearly two years after Barack Obama was elected president, Americans still are inclined to blame his predecessor for the nation's current economic problems.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, more than a third of those surveyed said George W. Bush deserved a great deal of the blame for economic woes and a third said he should get a moderate amount of it. Not quite another third called that unfair, saying Bush warranted not much or none of the responsibility.

The 71% saying Bush should get blamed was a modest decline from the 80% who felt that way about a year ago, in July 2009.

A search of the website failed to turn up a story specifically devoted to the September 1 Gallup poll that gauged voter preferences for the parties based on the issues.

Staffer Susan Page did make a brief reference to the poll in a September 1 "analysis" article regarding President Obama's Oval Office speech about the end of combat operations in Iraq, but that occurred in paragraphs 17 and 18 of her 20-paragraph story:

But the Iraq war is no longer the driving issue for Americans facing job layoffs and home foreclosures. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,021 adults Friday through Sunday, those surveyed rated the economy, jobs, government corruption and federal spending as the top issues shaping their vote in November's congressional elections — and preferred congressional Republicans over Democrats on handling the economy by double digits.

The war in Afghanistan ranked eighth in a list of nine issues.

Here's an excerpt from's website regarding the top issues poll:

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Americans saying the Republicans in Congress would do a better job than the Democrats in Congress of handling seven of nine key election issues. The parties are essentially tied on healthcare, with the environment being the lone Democratic strength.

The Republicans' advantage on most issues is an indication of the currently favorable political environment for the party. Of particular note is the parity between the two parties on healthcare, an issue on which Americans historically have viewed the Democrats as superior.

A similar USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in October 2006, just prior to Democrats' major gains in that fall's elections, highlights the potential implications of these findings. That poll, which includes several issues measured in the current survey, found the Democrats leading on all eight issues tested at that time, including some usual Republican strengths like terrorism and moral values.

In more bad news for liberal Democrats, released another poll today that shows that "Republicans Hold Wide Lead in Key Voter Turnout Measure":

PRINCETON, NJ -- Two months before this year's midterm congressional elections, Gallup finds 54% of Republicans, compared with 30% of Democrats, already saying they have given "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the contests.

This "thought" measure is an important variable in Gallup's well-established classification of "likely voters," which is put into use closer to Election Day. The current gulf in thought between the parties mirrors the partisan gap in Gallup's voter enthusiasm measure that is tracked weekly.

We'll have to see how USA Today covers this later today or tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath for the paper giving it much attention, if any.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.