On economy, Americans hoping with Obama

A new poll shows people don't blame the president for the economy, and that quite a few think things are looking up.

Published March 31, 2009 3:15PM (EDT)

When it comes to how Americans view President Obama's handling of and role in the economic crisis, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll has some pretty astounding data. In short, for the most part, people blame Wall Street and President Bush -- not Obama -- for the situation, they approve of the job Obama's doing and a surprising number even think things are turning around.

The president has escaped the anger about the economy largely unscathed. 80 percent of respondents said banks and businesses generally deserved at least some of the blame for the current crisis, while 72 percent blamed consumers and 70 percent blamed Bush. Only 26 percent identified Obama as blameworthy. Similarly, when asked who they were angry at due to the economy, only 21 percent identified the current administration, compared to 68 percent who said they were angry at banks and other financial institutions and 60 percent said they were angry at the Bush administration.

Another noteworthy bit of information -- towards the end of the Bush administration, the "right direction/wrong track" number had dipped to a fairly astonishing low, with 90 percent of respondents saying the country was on the wrong track last October, people are more optimistic now. Now, only 57 percent of respondents say we're on the wrong track, and 42 percent say the country's headed in the right direction. And 27 percent say the economy is getting better. That's the highest number for that answer since December 2004.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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