The financial crisis of 2008 made it inevitable that unemployment would rise sharply through 2009. It also caused the budget deficit to skyrocket...
Most voters, of course, don't follow these issues closely enough to gain a detailed understanding of cause and effect. They just tend to notice that unemployment and the budget deficit have risen while President Obama has held office.
Gallup, April 21, 2010:
Chait has provided useful reminders more than once that poll numbers for Obama and the Democrat are mainly a function of the state of the economy, especially the unemployment rate. It would be a mistake to assume, though, that this close correlation means that the electorate is on autopilot or has no memory.
More than a year into Barack Obama's presidency, Americans are more likely to say George W. Bush is responsible for today's economic problems than they are to say Obama is responsible. Gallup shows a significant uptick since last July in the percentage of Americans blaming Obama at least a moderate amount (from 32% to 50%), but little decrease (from 80% to 75%) in the percentage blaming Bush.