While acknowledging bad news for Democrats in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Thursday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante worked to find a silver lining: "But when it comes to who's at fault for the rotten economy there's a disconnect. 37% say the Bush administration is most to blame. Only 5% blame the Obama administration."
Following Plante's report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill spoke with political analyst John Dickerson and wondered: "37% of those in the poll said that fault for the bad economy lays with the Bush administration. 5% said it lays with the Obama administration. Does that mean that this Democratic message is getting through?"
Dickerson explained: "People don't blame the Obama administration and they also, in our poll, believe the Democrats have the better policies to deal with the economy and, also, they believe the Democratic position on tax cuts. Nevertheless, they want to throw out the people who are in power and the problem is there are just more Democrats in power."
One finding that was not highlighted was the fact that 53% of registered voters in the poll were in favor of smaller government providing fewer services.
Here is a full transcript of the September 16 segment:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
ERICA HILL: The President's problems. President Obama looks to rally his party before the midterm elections but faces a battle from the GOP over the economy and tax cuts. This as his approval ratings continue to sag, according to the latest CBS News poll.
7:05AM ET SEGMENT:
HILL: We want to take a look now at politics and the problems facing President Obama. The latest CBS News/New York Times poll finds the President's approval rating is now just 45%. And with an election coming, he is trying, of course, to turn that around. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has the latest for us this morning. Bill, good morning.
BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. And his disapproval rating is 47%, so it's an almost an even split. And with Congress back in session and things looking pretty bleak for the Democrats in November, the President went on the attack against Senate Republicans, whom he blames for holding up things that could – bills that could help the economy.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Problems For The President; New CBS News Poll Shows Approval At Just 45%]
BARACK OBAMA: We don't have time for any more games. I understand there's an election coming up. But, the American people didn't send us here to just think about our jobs. They sent us here to think about theirs.
PLANTE: The President has no bigger problem than the still sluggish economic outlook. In a CBS News/New York Times poll, 51% disapprove of his handling of the economy. Only 35% of Americans think Mr. Obama has made progress in fixing the economy. And 53% say he has no clear plan for creating jobs. But when it comes to who's at fault for the rotten economy there's a disconnect. 37% say the Bush administration is most to blame. Only 5% blame the Obama administration. And dissatisfaction with the performance of both Republicans and Democrats now drives 54% of people to say the country needs a third political party. At the top of the President's agenda to help the economy, passing an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. Mr. Obama came to the Rose Garden following a cabinet meeting and attacked Republican leaders for not acting.
OBAMA: They want to hold these middle class tax cuts hostage until they get an additional tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. We simply can't afford that.
PLANTE: Of course, the White House is not deaf to poll results like these, in fact their own internal polling shows much the same thing. So you can expect the President to continue the campaign-style rhetoric in the months leading up to the election, trying to connect his message to the public. Erica.
HILL: Bill Plante at the White House this morning. Bill, thanks. Joining us now CBS News political analyst John Dickerson, who's also in Washington this morning. John, good morning. Some really fascinating things to pull from this latest poll, including the fact that Americans really believe Congress isn't performing well with their elected job. The approval rating really dipping for members of Congress. Clearly Americans are saying lawmakers need to step up here.
JOHN DICKERSON: That's right, Erica. I mean, the public does not like Congress at all and one of the interesting findings in the poll was there used to be a view where people would say that while they don't like the institution of Congress but they like their local congressman or congresswoman. In our poll, it turns out that that's not really so much the case anymore.
HILL: They're also, and Bill touched on this, but 54% of the country saying that this country needs a third political party. The Republican Party got a little bit of a wake-up call after the primaries, most recently, of course, Tuesday. But, in other ones that have come before that, who right now is seen as the face of the Republican Party?
DICKERSON: Well, the wake-up call is under – is a matter of debate in the Republican Party right now. Some people think it was a wonderful wake-up call for insurgent populace, others think it was a big problem, electing people who can't win in the general election but in our poll a huge number of people say there is no leader – above 60% say there is no leader to the Republican Party and that means Democrats, in their effort to tar the Republican Party, can try to find someone, make them the leader of the party. And they'll choose, of course, the most unappealing character they can find.
HILL: Both sides clearly have some calls for concern heading into November. How is that going to translate, though, when it comes to likely voters?
DICKERSON: Likely voters are angry about the economy, they want something done. They don't like either party and they are likely to just want to throw the ones who are in power out, and that hurts the Democrats the most.
HILL: In terms of the economy, it's interesting. Because the message from the Democrats, from the Obama administration, has been this is all sort of coming over from the Bush administration. 37% of those in the poll said that fault for the bad economy lays with the Bush administration. 5% said it lays with the Obama administration. Does that mean that this Democratic message is getting through?
DICKERSON: No, it means there's a disconnect in the polls. People don't blame the Obama administration and they also, in our poll, believe the Democrats have the better policies to deal with the economy and, also, they believe the Democratic position on tax cuts. Nevertheless, they want to throw out the people who are in power and the problem is there are just more Democrats in power.
HILL: Well, it certainly gives us a lot to talk about coming up on November. John Dickerson, great to have you here. Thanks.