(CNSNews.com) – With the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, a new Rasmussen poll shows that voters are just as likely to blame President Barack Obama for the nation's current economic woes as they are to blame his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
Obama faces the most skepticism from Independents, who blame him by a margin of 52 percent to 44 percent margin.
Rasmussen asked 1,000 likely voters whether the actions of President Bush or President Obama were mostly responsible for the nation's current economic problems. Forty-eight percent said the blame lies with the current president, while 47 percent blamed his predecessor.
Only 4 percent of voters said that they were not sure who bears the most blame.
According to the Rasmussen survey, Americans rate the economy as the most important issue on a "Top 10" list.
Defending his administration’s taxpayer-funded bank bailouts under the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), President Bush told CNN in a 2008 interview that he was forced to intervene in the economy to save it from “collapse.”
The bailouts took place under the direction of then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
"I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system," Bush said.
The Rasmussen findings come at a time when President Obama is defending his economic policies as a necessary way of correcting the Bush administration’s policies.
Obama has said that the congressional midterm elections in November could come down to “a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and my policies that got us out of this mess.”
Under President Obama, however, the TARP program has been allowed to continue, a “Cash for Clunkers” auto bailout was passed, and the $787-billion stimulus package was approved.
Only 25 percent of voters said they believe that the stimulus package has created jobs, Rassmussen reported.
Americans also are evenly divided over whether the economy is creating jobs, as the Obama administration insists it is.
At the end of this year, Congressional Democrats and President Obama must decide whether to continue the Bush-era tax cuts, which expire in January 2011.
Voters, according to Rasmussen, are skeptical that they will see lower taxes and are cold to the federal government’s current spending habits.
Concerning taxes, 44 percent of voters expect them to only go up under the Obama administration. Sixty-four percent of voters believe that government spending also will go up under the current administration.
Rasmussen found that 62 percent of voters trust their own economic judgment over the president’s, 27 percent trust the president more, and 11 percent aren’t sure.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 30-31, 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.