The Blame Game: Conservatives vs. the Public

Conservatives want to blame Obama for our economic plight and difficulties with health care legislation but the public disagrees, observes Ruy Teixeira.

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Conservatives love to blame Obama’s policies for everything, including our current economic problems and the difficulties of passing health care reform. But the public doesn’t see things that way. For example, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds just 20 percent blaming Obama’s policies for current economic conditions, compared to 63 percent who say this is a situation Obama has inherited.


A question in the same poll also asked respondents who was to blame for making health care reform legislation so difficult to pass. Almost half—49 percent—said “special interest groups such as big pharmaceutical and health insurance companies” deserved “a great deal of blame” and another 26 percent thought these special interests deserved “quite a bit of blame.” By comparison, just 18 percent thought Obama deserved a great deal of blame and another 20 percent thought he deserved quite a bit of blame. Almost three-fifths (58 percent) thought he deserved very little blame or none at all.

The conservatives may want to blame Obama for these problems but the public isn’t buying it. In fact, the public’s targets of blame—the Bush administration and big insurance and pharmaceutical companies—are associated strongly with the conservatives and their policies. That should make conservatives very, very nervous.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Culture page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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