As noted a few days ago, the Obama administration got through the month of March with the public still fixing the blame for the economic downturn on everybody else:
The number of Americans who believe that the nation is headed in the right direction has roughly tripled since Barack Obama's election, and the public overwhelmingly blames the excesses of the financial industry, rather than the new president, for turmoil in the economy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
And if you're keeping score at home, when it came to who should take a "great deal" or a "good amount" of the blame, the polling went a little something like this:
* 80% - banks/financial institutions
* 80% -large business corporations
* 72% - consumers
* 70% - Bush administration
* 26% - Obama administration
And that perception has been pretty constant, though God knows, it hasn't been for lack of trying! There have been numerous attempts to foist ownership of the entire debacle onto the Obama administration. Over the course of a few months, we've heard about "Obama recessions," and "Obama bear markets," and shown charts that seem to have forgotten when the economic downturn began. And of course, this has led the Obama White House to protest on numerous occasions that they "inherited" the economic downturn, leading your White House press corps to mutter and cluck over the increasing pettiness of such recitations. There was also that really fun period where the daily downward motion of the Dow was blamed by more and more people on the White House -- until, of course, the Dow trended upwards for a number of days. Then you didn't hear those theories about how one man could alter the market's fortunes so much anymore.
"This poll shows that despite what they are hearing from the media, the public overwhelmingly blames banks, business, and the Bush administration, not President Obama," said Erikka Knuti, a spokeswoman for Media Matters. "The media have repeatedly attached Obama's name to the economic crisis and all but erased the role of the previous administration from their coverage. The American people aren't falling for it."
Naturally, the lack of blame has come with the accompanying benefit of broad public support for the implementation of the White House's various policies to combat the economic downturn, from the stimulus package to the more recent toxic assets plan. Of course, that goodwill may yet come to nothing if these various plans only end up proving Paul Krugman correct!