CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise
August 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET
2 hours ago

CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans still say that the economy's in poor shape. But the percentage who describe economic conditions as good continue to slowly but steadily increase, and now stands at its highest level since before the last recession, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll indicates that 58% of those surveyed rates the nation's economic conditions as poor, with 41% saying they are good.

The percentage who say things are good is up from 29% last October to 32% in December, 36% in February, 38% in May and 41% now.

"The 41% is the largest number of Americans with a positive view of the economy since Barack Obama became President, and it represents the highest rating for the economy since the last recession officially began in December of 2007," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

CNN poll economic conditions graphic

The poll's Friday release preceded the Labor Department's report on July unemployment.

And it hits two days after new data showing that the economy bounced back in the spring, growing at a 4% annual pace in the second quarter. That's better than what economists had expected.

U.S. economy bounces back sharply

Revised numbers from that Commerce Department report also showed that the economy's winter contraction wasn't as bleak as first reported.

When it comes to perceptions about the economy, the CNN poll indicates a geographical divide.
"People in the Northeast, Midwest and West all appear to see some improvement in the economy. The number of Westerners who say the economy's in good shape has nearly doubled, and there are 15-to-18 point gains in the Midwest and Northeast.

"But it's a different story in the South, where the number of southerners who give a thumbs-up to the economy has remained stubbornly stuck at 34%, suggesting either that better times have yet to visit the South or that southerners have yet to perceive that things are getting better," Holland adds.

The poll also indicates a small gender difference as well, with economic optimism growing more rapidly among women than men.

Economy impacts midterms

Perceptions about economic conditions will be an important factor in November's midterm elections, as the economy remains the top issue on the mind of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released last week, 49% of those questioned said it was extremely important for the President and Congress to deal with the economy, higher than any other issue tested.

Key races to watch in 2014

More than a third of the Senate and the entire House are up for grabs in November.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

In the House, the Democrats would need to pick up an extremely challenging 17 Republican-held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Obama said Wednesday that "there are a lot of good reasons to be optimistic about America. We hold the best cards. Things are getting better."

But when it comes to the economy, the President and congressional Democrats blame the GOP in Congress for putting up roadblocks to measures that would help the middle class. Congressional Republicans return the fire, saying that Obama's economic policies are not working.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20 with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
Michelle Obama: More than 58,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. is ‘a stain on our nation’s soul’
July 31st, 2014
07:47 PM ET
12 hours ago

Michelle Obama: More than 58,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. is ‘a stain on our nation’s soul’

(CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama called the number of homeless veterans “a stain on our nation’s soul,” urging local officials to continuing working to fight the problem.

At an event in Washington on Thursday, Mrs. Obama told a packed room, “as Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country’s uniform spends their night sleeping on the ground should horrify us. So it’s truly our duty to right this wrong and put an end to veteran homelessness once and for all.”

FULL POST


Filed under: Michelle Obama • Veterans
Bill Clinton: ‘I could have killed’ Osama bin Laden
July 31st, 2014
06:56 PM ET
13 hours ago

Bill Clinton: ‘I could have killed’ Osama bin Laden

Washington (CNN) - Bill Clinton, just hours before planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, reportedly told an audience in Australia that he almost killed Osama bin Laden during his presidency.

Speaking to a group of businessmen in Australia on September 10, 2001, according to audio aired by SkyNews Australia on Wednesday, Clinton said that he "nearly got" the al Qaeda leader but didn't go through with a missile attack because of the collateral damage that would have come from it.

FULL POST


Filed under: Australia • Bill Clinton • Osama bin Laden
July 31st, 2014
06:34 PM ET
13 hours ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for July 31, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 31, 2014 | 5 p.m.
—  n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … TEMPORARY MIDEAST CEASE-FIRE: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State John Kerry say the U.N. hasassurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. It will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday and will last for 72 hours unless extended.
FULL POST


Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
July 31st, 2014
06:25 PM ET
13 hours ago

Stuck on immigration, House GOP delays August recess

Washington (CNN) – On what was supposed to be the last day before summer recess, dysfunction reigned in Congress.

House Republican leaders called off a vote Thursday on their $659 million emergency response to the border influx from Central America overwhelming immigration resources, unable to agree among themselves about what to do.

FULL STORY


Filed under: 2014 • House Republicans • Immigration
Rubio heading to Iowa this weekend
July 31st, 2014
05:05 PM ET
15 hours ago

Rubio heading to Iowa this weekend

(CNN) – Marco Rubio's heading to Iowa this weekend.

The first-term Republican senator from Florida will be in the Hawkeye State to campaign for state senator Joni Ernst, Iowa's GOP Senate nominee.

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Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Joni Ernst • Marco Rubio
Christie's 2014 trip with 2016 implications
July 31st, 2014
03:43 PM ET
9 hours ago

Christie's 2014 trip with 2016 implications

(CNN) - Chris Christie's jam packed schedule on Thursday afternoon and evening in New Hampshire was advertised as being all about the 2014 midterm elections.

But the visit by the Republican governor of New Jersey and potential GOP presidential contender also had plenty of 2016 implications, as Christie tries to get beyond the bridge controversy back home in the Garden State that's hurt his political standing.

FULL POST


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Chris Christie • New Hampshire
Christie urges bail reform in New Jersey
July 31st, 2014
01:32 PM ET
15 hours ago

Christie urges bail reform in New Jersey

(CNN) – Republican Gov. Chris Christie called on New Jersey's Democratic-controlled legislature to pass a series of bail reform proposals, saying the current system creates a "debtor's prison" for poor people charged with nonviolent crimes.

"We are failing when we have a system that works against the very people in our society who need us to fight for the fairness they often cannot fight for themselves," the governor said Thursday.

FULL POST


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
Maggie Gyllenhaal sours on Obama: 'Not sure what he believes in anymore'
July 31st, 2014
01:07 PM ET
17 hours ago

Maggie Gyllenhaal sours on Obama: 'Not sure what he believes in anymore'

(CNN) – Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, one of President Barack Obama’s biggest backers in 2008 and 2012, has grown disillusioned with the President, she told Time Magazine in an interview released Thursday.

The actress said, “I really believed in him, and I’m not sure what he believes in anymore.”

FULL POST


Filed under: Hollywood • President Obama
Applying for new job? Clinton tinkers with her bio
July 31st, 2014
11:47 AM ET
17 hours ago

Applying for new job? Clinton tinkers with her bio

Washington (CNN) – Just like anyone thinking about applying for a new position, Hillary Clinton – or people close to her – have tinkered with and beefed up the promotional biography she uses at different events.

Since leaving the State Department in 2013, Clinton's speaking agency provided organizations before which she was appearing with a variation of the lengthy bio that she uses at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The organization would, in turn, use some or all of the bio in promotional and press materials.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
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