By a wide margin, more Americans blame former President George W. Bush for the national economic outlook than they do President Barack Obama, according to a new poll.
Numbers out of Quinnipiac University Thursday morning indicated that 54 percent of Americans say Bush is to blame for exploding the federal deficit and swelling unemployment, whereas just 27 percent believe it is President Obama's fault.
Those figures are bad news for Republicans, who are hoping to hang the nation's poor economic state around the president to defeat him in 2012.
By and large, Americans told Quinnipiac that they trust Obama on the economy more than congressional Republicans, despite a growing dissatisfaction. Fourty-five percent also said they trust the president to help the U.S. economy, versus 38 percent who believe Republicans could do a better job.
The poll also found that voters will largely blame Republicans, rather than Obama, if the debt limit is not raised. A further 67 percent of respondents said any debt deal out of Washington must include tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans.
Republicans, who voted nine times during the Bush-era to raise the nation's debt limit by over $4 trillion, have insisted that social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security must be cut to balance the budget, but they've refused to even consider going back to pre-Bush tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, which they had once planned to do.
After walking out on negotiations yesterday, President Obama said he would be willing to stake his reelection on securing a deal on the debt, offering to make some cuts to social programs if Republicans concede some tax hikes for the wealthy.
He's suggested that if the nation defaults on its growing debt, it would be tantamount to a "tax increase" for every single American. Lawmakers have until August 2 to secure a deal.