Most American voters blame bad leadership for the condition of the economy, and think Democrats and Republicans alike have hurt more than helped the situation.
That’s according to a Fox News poll released Friday.
President Obama recently said his policies had gotten the economy “moving again” until a six-month “run of bad luck” set things back. That run included the earthquake in Japan, uprisings in the Middle East and the European debt crisis.
Still, by 6-to-1 voters blame the economy on bad leadership (75 percent) rather than bad luck (12 percent). That includes 89 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats.
Who’s providing that bad leadership? Almost half of voters -- 45 percent -- think President Obama’s actions have hurt the economy. That’s 19 percentage points more than the 26 percent who say he’s helped, while 28 percent say he has "not made much of a difference."
By a 28 percentage-point margin, voters are more likely to think the actions of Congressional Democrats have hurt the economy.
The assessment of Congressional Republicans is even worse: By 35 percentage points, voters think they have had a negative impact.
Lawmakers associated with the Tea Party movement fare better than either of the two major parties. Even so, by a 16-point margin, voters think they also did more harm than good.
The worst rating goes to corporate CEOs. By almost six-to-one voters think they have done more to hurt than help the economy.
Raising Taxes is Bad -- Except on the Wealthy
Two-thirds of voters (66 percent) think raising taxes during an economic downturn is a bad idea. There’s a wide 39-percentage point partisan gap on this issue: 86 percent of Republicans think it’s a bad idea compared to 47 percent of Democrats.
Independents are three times as likely to say raising taxes in a down economy is a bad idea (67 percent) as to say it’s a good idea (22 percent).
That said, 57 percent of voters think it is a good idea to tax the wealthiest Americans more because it will help grow the economy and reduce the deficit.
Yet most doubt the tax increases recently proposed by President Obama will be used to reduce the deficit. By a 61-26 percent margin, voters think that money would primarily be used to fund more government spending.
And neither side is winning the class warfare argument, as the economic policies of Obama (53 percent) and Republicans (51 percent) are about equally likely to be seen as encouraging conflict between the classes.
Gloomy Outlook on Jobs
Voters are pessimistic about job creation. By a 10-percentage point margin, people think unemployment will be higher rather than lower a year from now. That’s a reversal from last year when voters were more likely (by 6 percentage points) to expect unemployment would go down (April 2010).
In addition, voters today are much less likely to think it’s the individual’s fault for being unemployed for a long time. When someone has been out of work for two years or more, 36 percent think it’s the person’s fault -- that’s down from 52 percent last July. And 44 percent now think the economy is more often responsible for extended unemployment, up from 33 percent (July 2010). Another 16 percent think both the individual and the economy are to blame.
Younger voters are more likely to say long-term employment is the person’s fault, while voters ages 45 and older are more likely to blame the economy.
President Obama’s proposed tax and jobs plans are generally seen as being good for the country (48 percent) rather than bad (39 percent), yet views are mixed over whether the plan will create jobs.
While 38 percent think it will, 39 percent think it won’t make a difference, and nearly one voter in five thinks Obama’s plan will cause jobs to be lost (18 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 925 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from September 25 to September 27. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.