October 18th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Nearly half think U.S. in recession

The New York Stock Exchange

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly half of Americans feel the U.S. economy is in a recession, marked by a significant decline in economic activity, according to a survey released Thursday.

The poll by the CNN-Opinion Research Corporation found that while 46 percent of Americans hold that belief, 51 percent don't.

Black citizens were more pessimistic than whites, findings show.

Sixty-nine percent of black Americans feel the United States is in a recession, while only 42 percent of white Americans feel the same way.

The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP (Gross Domestic Product), real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales."

The GDP measures the economy's output. It represents the total market value of all goods and services produced in the United States during a specified period.

According to the bureau, "a recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity, and ends as the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief and they have been rare in recent decades."

The recession findings may be having an impact on President Bush's approval rating.

The CNN-ORC poll finds Mr. Bush's approval rating remains steady at 36 percent, but his approval rating among black Americans is just 15 percent.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says "a majority of whites also disapprove of Bush, although four in 10 have a favorable view of his administration. The president's approval rating has been stuck at 36 percent since late summer."

The sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all but the black vs. white breakdowns, which have a sampling error of 5.5 percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser


Filed under: Economy • President Bush
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. laurinda,ny

    Well, I think that this poll isn't working very well. If this is some kind of online poll then pranksters must be doing continual voting. If this is phoning than you must be calling alot of Republicans. Maybe if you'd hit the streets you could actually get the real poll numbers!

    October 18, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. JB, NYC, NY

    Well, if you feel that we are in a recession, it must be true. GDP 3.8% unemployment 4.6%..
    I hate when facts hurt feelings.

    October 18, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. scott Palm Bay FL

    what about the approval rating of congress about 11% funny how you left that out of the story. pelosi and Harry Reid dont have the USA feeling to confident either. Seems like Bush's numbers are higher then Congress

    October 18, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Chris, Atlanta, GA

    This article is a joke.

    First, it does not point out the simple fact that the country is not in a recession. The only reason people think there is a recession is because of CNN's garbage journalism.

    Second, the poll points out Bush's poor approval ratings, while ignoring the fact that Congress's ratings are even lower. Of course, CNN is cherry picking facts for partisan reasons, but that is par for the course.

    What do you expect from CNN? Honesty?

    October 18, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Roninacreage, WPB, FL

    Absolute idiots. 90% are probably democrats without an ounce of economic sense in their empty skulls. When 69% of them are black, you automatically know that they are most likely democrats. The more uneducated you are, the more likely you are a democrat. This poll proves it yet again.

    October 18, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. steven martin

    Opinion Research Corporation's parent company, InfoUSA, is controlled by Vinod Gupta, a noted donor to, fundraiser for, and supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    October 18, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Scott Thomas

    The other 54% are blind or stupid.

    btw, Milk is 4.29/gallon... but gubmint says NO INFLATION. YEAH RIGHT!!!

    We have obviously been in a recession for the last 3-6 months.

    Restaurants, Stores, Car Dealers, Housing... all sucking wind.

    October 18, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. Mike, Atlanta, GA

    Thanks to the moderator for censoring my post. I guess the only way to get posted is with a "Bush is bad" comment. Pathetic.

    October 18, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Jeff Daniels, Houston, Texas

    It shows the power of the media. Tell the lie over and over and over again and stupid people will believe it. When Clinton was President, economic performance like this was a miracle and the press just tripped over themselves to spread the word. The press has had nothing good to say during this entire expansion.

    October 18, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Michael McKendry

    So what you're really saying is, more than half of Americans believe the country is not in recession. There now, didn't that sound better? I know it accents the positive and could lead to optimism in the country and Bush's approval ratings could go up, and people would start to think republican economic policies are working and they might actually look at the economic data and find out it's true and.....OH! I get it now! Hey, good story on the Poll results!

    October 18, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. charles, rochester ny

    Of course people think there is a recession. Articles like this keep saying it. Lets just hope it doesnt become a self fulfilling prophecy. What more important, hating Bush or talking ourselves into a recession?

    October 18, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Nate Nashville, TN

    Since blacks represent about 10% of the population, why would this poll sample include a total of more than 20% blacks? Makes a substantial difference in the outcome of the poll, does it not, and is a 'misrepresentation' to say the least.

    October 18, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Alexander, Chicago, IL

    so... are we in a recession? I would think not!

    October 18, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. ted pierce, houston, texas

    It appears the main stream media has succeeded in is dismal portayal of America.

    October 18, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. unc2plo, Maple Grove, MN

    We are moving more and more towards style over substance. People feel things that just aren't so, and nobody corrects them. Nowhere in this story does it say that we are NOT in a recession.

    This just proves that people are dumb! They THINK we are in a recession, they THINK that global warming is going to kill us all in 10 years, they THINK that 9/11 was an inside job, they THINK that Katie Couric is a real journalist, etc

    October 18, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. Hank riehl

    Record employment, near-record low unemployment, record incomes, record consumer spending, record household net worth, record stock prices and record corporate profits and these people think we are in a recession? From what planet did they just arrive?

    October 18, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Lee, Atlanta Ga

    This is a ridiculous "poll" given that the mass media has been lying, and hiding news about how good the economy really is! It is amazing that CNN would report something like this, when CNN is a major reason there is this perception that we are in recession. And I am African American; we are NOT all ignorant to media tactics.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. Dan, Colorado Springs, CO

    So who is right? Are we in a recession or not? The article does a great job of defining a recession, but fails to mention whether or not the current economic situation meets said definition.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. Jim Plymouth Meeting, PA

    Scary how stupid Americans are. Why didn't the poll have a followup question: Please explain what a recession is. I bet less than 3% of the mental midgets polled could answer correctly.

    October 18, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  20. Marc, Louisville Ky

    We are now polling only white and black americans and that is suppose to represent everyone?
    This isn't a real poll it is a "how are you feeling" test.
    Since you threw in the Presidents approval numbers why not Congress as well. The real recession is in Washington and both parties are at fault.

    October 18, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. therealist

    Obviously those are ignorant democrats that watch CNN and think their getting trustworthy news coverage..

    October 18, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  22. Kieran J. O'Rourke Seville, OH

    Oops! There I go again! One day I feel so good about the intelligence of my fellow man, and then this type of thing pops up. Now I am weeping for the future. I hope these people do not vote until they pass 12th grade.

    October 18, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  23. NN

    What an ignorant, disconnected public we have in this country.

    October 18, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  24. Georgiana Fritzgerald, Houston, TX

    Well, it's not such a surprise, really. Alan Greenpan warned os likely US recession. Moreover, with a budget deficit of $240++ billion in 2006, US economy is highly challenged in many ways, isn't it? See what Greenspan said early this year about recession http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/26/ap/business/mainD8NHE4400.shtml

    October 18, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  25. Marc Peeper, Anthem, AZ

    Did they bother to tell them that the country is NOT in recession. Maybe if the MSM wasn't so biased against the President and would just report the news... we wouldn't have this problem. Of course most Americans are Sheeple and believe everything they are told and don't bother to do any research of there own. Kinda like the MSM. Hmmmm, that includes YOU CNN!!

    October 18, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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