October 18th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
4 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. Jimma Carter

    "YES WE ARE IN A RECESSION……..Or why would employers on Craigslist still get 200+ resumes for a lousy $10 hr job in Manhattan?

    Plus its NO big deal anymore if 5000 people show up at Walmart for 350 jobs….thats 'JUST NORMAL" TODAY.

    That is a sign of economic growth, not a recession. Many of these people got pushed out of the welfare system, or have been displaced by illegal immagrants in higher paying construction jobs. During a recession these people would be fired because the store is not selling product.

    October 18, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Hank

    Wow, you can sure tell from all the ignorant comments here that this story is linked at Drudge. The conservative liars and deniers will be changing their tune next year, when the economic numbers from the 4th quarter show a continuing decline as the housing crisis strengthens, corporate earnings continue their slide and inflation becomes too big a problem to continue to ignore.

    October 18, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. James Strup - Catawba North Carolina

    Just like the media constantly says don't buy real estate. It is a buyers market and they tell people to hold off. Subsequently I am losing my butt trying to sell legitimate investment property. They want to economy to slow so the liberals can come to the rescue in 08. They want to hurt Bush anyway they can and if they hurt average Americans in the process OH WELL !! They are against what is good for Americans. Lets talk down the economy so people can lose their jobs and business. They are idiots.

    James B. Strup
    Catawba NC

    October 18, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. CR, San Diego, CA

    Nearly half of Americans allow the media to tell them what's what. Truth is, there's no recession. IF one occurs, it will be one the media precipitated.

    This is the media's recession, not America's.

    Wake up!

    October 18, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Michael K, Baltimore MD

    What is stunning is that some people think any reported fact has a bias if you do not like it. Is the economy is recession? Nearly half say so. Is CNN a 'Democrat' channel because they report that? (If so, where were they when Gee-Duhb was selling the war in 2002,2003?).

    The results do not point out that half the population knows economics and that half do not. It points out the entire sample probably selected randomly. Africans Americans scored that chances of recession were greater because they are poorer, which is partly because their leaders have convinced some there is no point in trying because 'the man' is out to get them. The whites scored the chance of recession lower because they learn they can do anything they set their mind to and they really are not wasting time and energy trying to 'get' anyone (for the most part).

    Political thugs trying to stop reporting of facts – now that's something I think we can all agree is happening. This article does not state a recession is happening, it is reporting that many people believe it is happening. That so many simply do not want that story told should inform our opinion of the threat posed to the constitution and our way of life by these close-minded, unscrupulous jihadist fascists.

    October 18, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Ryan Indianapolis

    Unbelievable how either gullible people are by believing the press or how simply ignorant people are. The economy is growing still, our GDP is historically unmatched, unemployment is low, we are cutting into the defecit quicker than thought possible cause of the tax cuts, the market is doing great, wages are increasing. People I know you hate GW but dont become such an idiot to believe everything these traitors I mean democrats are feeding you. If you matched our economy with the GREAT BILL CLINTON economy you would not be able to tell a difference, it is almost funny. Secondly shame on you CNN with your headline, so the 51% or the majority doesnt matter? Once again with your headline(and that is all americans usually read) you make it seem like the majority of americans think this, very misleading. My question to Black americans is this, you hate bush so much but under which president has more minorities been able to purchase a home? Now what happens to you after you purchase a home is solely up to you in making the payments and on time but come on Black america, stop being brainwashed by these crazy democrats that promise you the world for your vote and deliever nothing. WAKE UP.

    October 18, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Don DeVan, Knoxville, Tennessee

    Reasons for this are that hard core Dems won't admit the great economy and hard core media Dems never broadcast this list:If you are as sick of Bush bashing as I am then here is the other side: Top 30 – and counting – things W has done RIGHT: 1- Protected us – we have not been attacked again since 9/11; 2- Jobs for all, the economy is booming, greatest in history of nation, 49 consecutive months of job growth is longest in nation’s history; 3 -freed 50 MILLION people in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. 4 – freed the black African nation of Liberia – Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton never accomplished anything close- 5 – Lower interest rates have enabled many to afford their own homes who otherwise couldn't; 6 – *record wage growth that has also allowed record consumer spending; 7 – record low number of people joining unions which means more self-reliant citizens and better employers; 8 – IRA agreed to give up their weapons; 9 – Lybia gave up its nuclear weapons program the parts of which are now in Oak Ridge, TN; 10 – enabled millions of formerly oppressed women to pursue education, run for office, obtain jobs & professions; 11 – Turned Pakistan – a nuclear powered nation from enemy to ally; 12 – guaranteed a conservative Supreme Court for the next generation; 13 – cut taxes & attempted to eliminate the death tax but Dems won't allow it; 14attempted to privatize Social Security but Dems won't allow it; 15 – no child act has raised education excellence nationwide; 16 – inflation has been kept in check; 17 – restored strength and morale of our military; 18 – drove Syria out of Lebanon; 19 – North Korea shuts down it's nuclear program – really; 20 – stock market hits another record high and 14000 for first time in history. 21 – life expectancy reaches almost 78 which is highest in American history; 22 – American workers most productive in the world; 23 – record amount of money spent at box office (so why do you hate him, Hollywood?); 24 – North Korea gives up nuclear weapons program; 25 – Broke up the A. Q. Kahn nuclear proliferation ring; 26 – implemented a missle defense system – a major achievement by President Bush in keeping his promise to better defend his country and the citizens therein. 27 – Largest EPA settlement to reduce acid rain in U.S. history; 28 – highest sales of American export products in nation’s history; 29 – since the 2003 tax cuts, the Federal deficit has gone down by one quarter of a trillion dollars; 30 – good news on the cancer front: Death rates are dropping faster than ever, thanks to new progress against colorectal cancer.
    This list, rarely visited by the media – or your profs, ranks among the most prolific of all American presidents. And he’s not done yet.
    *Americans have huge reserves of disposable income: Microsoft said sales hit $170 million in the game's first 24 hours on sale in the U.S., surpassing "Spider-Man 3," which grossed $151 million in its opening weekend. "Halo 3" sells for at least $60 a copy, while the average price of a movie ticket in 2006 was $6.55, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

    October 18, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. ON TIME, SUISUN CITY, CA.

    THE IGNORANCE DISPLAYED BY THE MSM AND THE EDUCATION IN ECONOMICS OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS BASICALLY THE CAUSE OF THIS POLLS RESULTS.

    THE INFORMATION IS ERRONEOUS....

    October 18, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Ken, Houston, TX

    Maybe the liberal media judges recession by their declining ad revenues. They just haven't figured it out yet.

    October 18, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    It looks like the economic "giants" of the republican party are out in droves on this article. Sheesh!

    While the term Recession as defined by the Fed states that we aren't in a Recession, it should also be noted that we are not in wonderful economic nirvana either.

    – Cost of Oil is approaching $100 a barrel.
    – Cost of Gasoline is interestingly no longer spiking in price along with the cost of oil as it has for decades now.
    (sounds like someone is trying to prevent riots in the streets.)
    – Housing market is in a tailspin despite being propped up by the Fed interest rate change. Talk about "bailing out" the investors of SubPrime loans. There should be charges filed instead! Sounds like the old Savings & Loan scandals.

    And through all these cost increases on products and services, we haven't seen any upward movement on middle class salaries. Only the CEOs are getting bonuses.

    So if you are an executive or a wall street investor you may not see a recession, but the rest of the working class see one because we are feeling it every day as the costs go up on everything, but we aren't seeing one dime in income. Just go talk to a Gas Station Owner as ask them about whether they think they are in a recession.

    Telling it like I see it,
    Wynter

    October 18, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Justin, Arlington Texas

    I think what a lot of people do not understand here is effects of expectations on the economy. Part of economic theory is understanding that what people expect can have just as large or even a larger effect then what is actually happening in the economy. In other words, if people strongly believe we are headed for a recession, then they will act like we already are in one. This will in turn cause us to go into recession.

    October 18, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Hand the keys over to Hillary and Democrats and we WILL be in a recession REAL quick!

    Baby Bonds: $20 Billion /yr (not counting illegal aliens)
    SCHIP Increas: $30 Billion /yr (not counting illegal aliens
    401-k Govt donation: $50 Billion /yr (not counting illegal aliens)
    Universal Healthcare: $100 Billion /yr (not counting illegal aliens)
    Amnesty of Illegals: ???? Billions

    Whine and cry about "Republicans" spending money to fight terrorists (Afghanistan/Iraq) – but the cost of the Iraq War will be pennies compared to the TRILLIONS we'll pay on these entitlement programs over the next decades!

    October 18, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Average Joe - Proud, but often embarrassed American

    HELLO? This article is so wrong; the poll is inherently flawed, horribly presented, and ultimately worthless. First, commenters are correct in that most Americans don't know the true meaning of recession. Stupid on you CNN. Try asking them "Do you feel your paycheck is going farther, or is falling shorter in the current economy?". Stupid on you commenters for your inane posturing to rebuke the poll results – siting the true definition of recession. It's idiotic to try to debate the pointless. Shame on you CNN, siting black American statistics alone is insulting and about as meaningless as what irish setter owners might think. If you are going to site any statistical breakdowns, do it proper. Shame on you commenters for using any and everything that may differ from your opinions as a pulpit for expounding your political views. Get a clue we already know the media is as biased as your comments are. Collectively this article and comments scream what is wrong with the media and America today. Grow up people and for goodness sake, sample multiple sources of news and use your noggen to develop you own balance opinion.

    October 18, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Jim Topeka, Kansas

    Okay, let's play make believe and say we are not in a recession. Yes, for some reason we can say the country is still showing economic growth, but that economic growth is NOT making it's way down to the consumers. It is not being eaten up in taxes, it is not getting eaten up in war spending (we are warring on credit).

    So from the consumers perpective we have a shoratge of well paying manufacturing jobs, we have fewer and fewer jobs that offer any type of benefits to their employees, we have energry costs that are out of sight (along with record energy profits), that effect every aspect of the national economy, from food on the table to the price of the shirt bought at Walmart. Wages have not been growing but prices have, but still we have ag rowing national economy, but we make nothing and export even less, but we have a growing economy.

    So my question to all of the upper 1%ers stating their views here that the economy is great, the sky is blue and the birds are singing is what planet did you come from, because if we are experiening good econmic time right now, I want dearly to return to the gloom and doom days of the 1990's when we could still buy something for a dollar and the economy was in the toilet.

    October 18, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Joe Realist

    I love to read posts from everyone who says things are great. Let's see: the govt reports inflation to be low, but pulls out costs for food and energy from their calculations. Unemployment numbers dont count people who have given up, are "unemployable" after a certain number of months. We have a president who willfully violates the Constitution and no one does anything about it. We have offshored most manufacturing jobs that paid well, but the govt hasnt reduced expenses to compensate for shrinking tax base. Its ok to ship jobs to other countries for savings to corporations but citizens arent supposed to get their medications from Canada to save money. Our govt is devaluing our dollar essentially robbing all us citizens here. Wall Street and mortgage companies cooperated to sell junk securities so that real estate could be sold to those who couldnt afford it, and now that the bubble is popping, Wall Street wants to insulate those who made money from the deal from the discipline of the free market. Of course taxpayers get to pay. Dont believe me. Get on the internet and do some searches. There are plenty of non paranoid sources of info. Prepare to get angry.

    October 18, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Tony Turnbow, Tennessee

    Why is your story not balanced by the actual GDP data, which shows that there is no recession? Your story leaves the impression that there may be a recession, when in fact your story is an indictment of your own failure to adequately report the news. If you had been doing your job the group that believes there is a recession would know there is not. Maybe you should encourage the doubters to switch channels to get the facts. They won't get them from this story.

    October 18, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Cary, Nash Vegas

    Raise my texes Dems!! That'll certainly make everything so much better...

    October 18, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Andrew Lea

    I would like hard numbers concerning our current economic status, however, the title says "Poll: nearly half think U.S. in a recession." it is also in the political ticker category, reserved for articles of this nature: tracking current plotical polls., not a headline news story.
    That said, I do believe that CNN is biased a bit conservative, and certainly not liberal as is mostly being suggested. The news about Congress approval rating was covered by CNN, and they don't harp on it any more or less than President Bush's approval rating.
    Fact is: We are in a recession. We have experienced a decline in GDP growth over the last three quaters, and the small amount of growth that we are seeing is not good enough to keep up with inflation percentage, population growth (GDP will always increase as the workforce does) and the percentage of slip US dollar, so, with all those factors figured in... the small growth numbers can't make up the difference, and basically, GDP relative to those other factors ends up in the negative.
    And if you don't want my word for it, then Alan Greenspan even said that we are entering into a recession, and he is a bit more knowledgeable.

    October 18, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. gh, LA CA

    I'll use an example to see how we get this view from the pollies. Our media can (over time) get any answer they wish to have - it's all about the daily delivery angle of the news, and it about how the polls are conducted.

    An example:

    When it comes to Charlie Gibson, and his friends in this "we hate everything about Republican administrations," it's not about his view of economics – rather, it's about his bias in politics.

    Back, earlier this year when the DOW crossed 13,000 (as is with every good bit of news), here was his view: ""But, Betsy, we've had four years of a straight bull market. Doesn't just the timing of this suggest that there might be a correction?"

    But back in Aug of 2000, when the DOW was off it's high by 1,100 points, the Nasdaq was down 58% from it's highs, unemployment claims were soaring, CA was in the midst of the Enron blamed energy crisis, the manufacturing index had been in a steep plummet and was nearing the low point in the cycle (continued down until April 2001); here's Gibson pushing the campaign of Al Gore because the economy is so strong:

    "The Dow has tripled, we've gone from deficit to surplus,' and that this will give Al Gore a chance to talk about the economy, a new chance to talk about the economy." Aug 3rd, 2000.

    What? The economy was dying in the moment.

    Many economists, even the MSM's favorite leftist economists, like Dean Baker, were – and had been – screaming about the dangers facing Americans (especially the working class), when that bubble collapsed. The reason that the federal (and states) budget deficit would quickly swing from surpluses to huge deficits was because of the historic bubble crash; the reason millions of Americans would loose their jobs was because of what was happening in that moment.

    Gibson and the MSM choose to ignore the news of what was happening, and instead, kept pushing his view of the great news simply for the purpose of keeping the Democrats in the White House. Simply put – he lied to the American people (or he is totally ignorant of the facts – take your pick.) There are hundreds of documented examples of how our media plays this game – and it is very consistent. They hide, or play down, the bad news during Democrat administrations; but during Republican administrations, they hype up bits of bad news during good times, and usually do not report the good news (or at least they find something bad to overshadow the good news.

    I too think that the economy faces serious problems. I felt that way in 1999 aslo. The media told and tells a different story, however.

    October 18, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. J. Muller, Cherry Hill NJ

    Of course we are in a recession. I have been unemployed for the last 5 months for the first time in 25 years. Two of my immediate neighbors are out of work also. We are all highly educated but can't find jobs. Many others I know are also out of work. I think President Bush has done a great job but that doesn't change the fact that our economy is hurting big time despite the attempts to pretend it isn't. Just imagine how bad it would be if a democrat was in the white house!

    October 18, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Dorian, Buffalo NY

    I think the bigger question is not "what is a recession" but how do we as consumers feel about the state of the economy.Whether we are experiencing a recession based on the exact definition is irrelevant. What I know as the primary shopper for my family is that everything I buy has gone up and there's no end in sight.
    Most people are not economists and don't want to know the exact definition of recession or depression. We want to know that we can continue to feed, clothe and shelter our families and still save a little for our retirments.

    October 18, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Uncle Bert, Houston

    I was taught in college that a recession was a downturn in the GNP for two consecutive quarters? Get it right CNN . You are like when Reagan included the military on his job rolls to inflate the jobs rate.

    October 18, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Ryan, Provo, UT

    This article represents the worst of the American news media. This is not an opinion issue! CNN, you're not just mixing opinion with facts, you're carefully avoiding objective facts entirely in favor of pure opinion poll worship.

    Listen, I'm no fan of Bush, but lets not delude ourselves into thinking that everything about America is terrible while he's in office. The economy is doing pretty well. There's some areas we need to keep an eye on of course, but these people who think we're in a recession are just ignorant.

    October 18, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Ray Coniglio Quakertown, PA

    I do not know what is worse, the frightenly lack of economic understanding by most US citizens or the obvious left leaning media that feeds them the all the gloom and doom in one of the best economies in history. In either case it is a very scary situation.

    October 18, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. NebraskaMilitia, Bellevue, NE

    What CNN intentionally forgot to reveal from the poll result is only 36 percent of respondents could accurately define what a recession is.
    Headline should read "POLL: 64 percent of Americans are dumb when it comes to recession"
    Nice try CNN your lies aren't working

    October 18, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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