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. Wendell Orr. OH

    The reason some of you do not know there is a recession is because you either work for the government, a school teacher. doctor or nurse etc. The rest of the population knows that most of USA has been in a recession for several years now and it does not look to get better as long as Bush continues to throw our tax dollars into a quagmire of Iraq. When we quit starting fights and stay home and mind our own business..America will get strong again. The rest of the world laughs at us stupid Americans.

    October 18, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. trapped in hickville indiana bibletown

    so the liberal media is responsible for the fact that people don't understand economics? And it's also their fault that some polls have over 60 percent of americans believing the bible is the direct word of god? Oh by the way, Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh never exaggerate or distort facts, thats why their RIGHT wing. And if you believe anything I have said, than also let me tell you indiana is the home of the most intellectual development in the union.

    October 18, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. InThebiz, Southern CA

    Friends, You all argue a definition of "recession". In truth, economics is little more than an intuitive Leap of Faith, a good educated guess using arbitrary indicators that can slant the View of the future in the direction of your predescribed beliefs. Shamans used to use bones to describe the future of thier tribes. Maybe you should start paying attention to the Restaurant Industry. This is the industry hardest hit by any economic swing; wether, good or Bad. It is the "miners canary" for the economy. Ask yourself, are you going to out to eat? How much are you spending in your local restuarant?
    I have an economics degree, and I own a restuarant. Large corporations are not an adequate measure of our Economy, but you keep believing the Spin. I have on average 10 people with great educations asking for Serving positions everyday. People from the realestate industry, teachers, contractors, and Retail industries. I am not talking about young college students, i am talking about middle aged hard working Americans!! Go to your local indepently owned restuarant and ask them how they are doing with the rise in energy costs, the rise in food costs, and the increase insurance costs. Not to mention that as the cost producing food has gone up, people have stopped spending. That is the measure of a recession...are people spending thier money. Do they have expendable incomes to dole out. Or are they simply buying in bulk and eating at home. Don't be foolish from your glass houses, becuase they are supported by the foundation of the Service industry, and if goes down, so will everything else.

    October 18, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Joe San Antonio, TX

    Democrats keep saying we are in a recession because they are hoping we DO have a recession, so they can, as usual, Blame-Bush.

    We add jobs every quarter and our growth never stops. Unemployment is at historical highs. Great recession!

    Yes I'm white. I also don't " Hate bush ". Somewhat dissapointed, sure. However thats the difference. People who blame-bush for everything will have a negative view of everything else going on also.

    Imagine that.

    October 18, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Paul,NY

    To all the previous commenters here that stated that we are not in recession, it is a fact, why did you not report that we are not in a recession and these 46% are below avg intelligence, stupid, blah,blah,blah.
    A recession can only be called AFTER the fact genius and so it is still an open question and a well known Survey of Professional Forecasters were asked in June 2001 whether the economy had entered a recession and 93% had said NO. We entered that last recession in March of 2001!! But don't let the facts get in your way. Keep spewing your ignorant bs.

    October 18, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Jon, Richmond

    Whoa, are any of you guys aware that economic news comes out months late?

    October 18, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. M Frost

    Oldest political trick in the book. In the run up to the election, the party not in power uses all of it's resources to convince people how "bad" their lives are. They can then pose as the "saviors." Since we are talking about the Clinton News Network here, what do you expect? For the person who questions why so many apparent Fox News fans enter comments on CNN, it's quite simple. We are studying the twisted minds of the liberal freak show. In our non-government school educations, we learned to examine the traits of the enemy, ever watching for new "twists." CNN's ultra-liberal bias is so extraordinarily evident, it's like watching a train wreck.

    October 18, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Matthew, Palmdale CA

    umm.. really if you're saying that we are in a recession because we have a dollar that has a low value versus the euro and pound.. then you really havent ever taken much more than a basic economics course. Having an undervalued dollar in our current global economic position and the new developing nation manufacturing/industrial age...an undervalued dollar is exactly what we are going for. Our government is doing this purposely to make our goods more appealing to other nations, thus increasing our exports and bringing in more money.The goal is to get us in to markets we previously weren't in, drive down the price of our goods so that we have a niche in many of the markets (maybe not a monopoly but definitely drive down the success of foreign competitors) and then get our dollar value to rise once again...thereby lowering our trade deficit (which by the way has recently dropped this quarter by substantial numbers)

    October 18, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Jim, Chicago, IL

    "Liberal democrats on the other hand want to censor any outlet saying things that are not liberal, will never even consider a thought, view, or fact that contradicts their ideology, and really are just interested in existing in a liberal democrat echo chamber. The funny part of it all is that liberals then call themselves tolerant and open-minded."

    This is really an unnecessary characterization which can only subtract rather than add to intelligent conversation. Such generalizations have been very lucrative for entertainers and straw man builders on talk radio, but let's face it, pretty much the lowest form of political debate – if it can be judged as a debate at all.

    Certainly culling news and opinion from many sources is important, but let's not forget to bring along an objective mind, or at least try.

    I would agree that probably the majority of folks out there do not know the true definition of recession. I wouldn't go so far as to call such a person an idiot or the equivalent, which seems to be the prevailing opinion of the commenters posting here.

    I'm oddly disturbed by all of this.

    October 18, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. Brett Skinn, Seattle, wash.

    Thanks to the disastrous war in Iraq requested by Israel that Bush has got us stuck in we are in a recession. Our health care is terrible, our housing is terrible, our education is terrible, our budget is meager, and Bush does not care about all that. All he cares about is Israel. But this recession is nothing with the one that we will be getting if Giuiliani or Clinton become president. Israel is already begging us to start another war with Iran and both of these candidates seem eager to help Israel with one more war that will drag us down. They are traitors, please America, wake up. Let not fascist zionism hijack our policies!!

    October 18, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Loise Pazda, Sun City, CA

    As Usual the liberal Media has the public fooled. If this were the case of recession, why has the cost of living remained low and how is it that my IRA investments have been doing so well? I can uderstand why the public beeives this because time and time again the news reports always spelled doom and gloom on the economic reports.

    October 18, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. Kevin, Burnsville, MN

    Well the Bushies are out, are we in a recession maybe not but folks, it ain't all good. The middle class is earning less than they did 8 years ago. Manufaturing jobs are moving over to our best friends Communist China. So you can buy your gameboy for $50.00 and your levies foe $40.00, Be proud America, we used to lead the world in innovation and manufacturing. Pay attention, the US dollar has plumited on the world market, we import more than we export and the god of all presidents is spending your tax dollars like a drunk sailor and you Bushies think that makes sense with no end in sight. Stop blaming Clinton for everthing from 9/11 to the price of low fat milk.

    October 18, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Matt, Dallas, TX

    We havn't been in a recession since March 2001, and it only lasted 2 or 3 quarters.

    October 18, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Aaron, Dee, St. Clare, Michigan

    Dear CNN, I used to watch your channel for the current news, however, I now will not even consider watching, even for one moment, your disgraceful agenda driven newcasts. You have become the voice for the DNC just as Pravda was the voice of the late Soviet Union.

    October 18, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Steve

    It saddens me that one has to conclude from the exchange above that the right wing has decided that bad news for them must not simply be spun as a "liberal conspiracy", but that they must also degrade those who happen to disagree with them. It doesn't make a wit of difference whether we are formally in a recession in true economic terms or not – we need to be concerned that homeowners are (and should be) worried that the current turmoil in mortgage markets may potentially impact the value of their homes...and may spill into other parts of the economy as well. Hmmmm....I'm not an economist...but doesn't The Conference Board release monthly reports on the Consumer Confidence Index for that very reason?

    October 18, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Eric, Michigan

    Boy, if only half of Americans were as intelligent and informed as most of you brilliantly insightful commenters are, America would be much better off...stop blowing yourself for a couple minutes about how ignorant people are and about how liberal the media is you might be able to take the article for what it's worth; another indication that millions of people are sick of the entire polarized political atmosphere, which includes Bush and Co. as well as Congress. The country has big problems, nothing is getting done and the middle class is paying the price...for all of you who think everything in the country is rosey and prosperous, come on out to Michigan and check out our booming economy you elitists

    October 18, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Economics has changed.

    Yes, the economy is doing better, but only for a select few. And, that slect few few will do anything, and I do mean ANYTHING to stay in power.

    October 18, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Enjoying the conservative implosion, Pittsburgh

    All you conservatives sound a might bit defensive about the article. I don't believe we are in a recession by definition either, but it's clear that people's paychecks are not going nearly as far as they use to. I guess you wouldn't mind a $3/gallon republican registered only surcharge on your gas fill-ups to pay for the Iraq war since you feel it is still affordable.

    October 18, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Nick Allentown, PA

    I would like these people to explain to me how the deficits are shrinking while we wallow in a recession? What is really scary is these people vote!

    October 18, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Thurston Howell IV

    CNN has done their part spinning economic news under Republican management as "bad" while the same economy with a dem President would be cast as "roaring". And they're surprised at the ignorance they have fostered?

    October 18, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Nate K, Owensville, IN

    I have to agree with what one of the guys said, The US is doing well in spite of high oil prices and if we can find a way to bring those down, this economy will really boom. Honestly in my opinion the price of Gas is my only concern as of late.

    October 18, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Sternberg, Mauldin, SC

    Gross domestic product has increased almost 50% under this administration. Federal tax revenue is at an all time high. Employment is at an all time high. Inflation, taxes, and interest rates are at historical lows, and yet CNN can find a poll that says the "sky is falling".

    October 18, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Kent Hatch, Agoura Hills, CA

    It is amazing only half the people think we are in recession with articles like these. You state your finding (fair enough), define what a recession is, but then fail to inform the readers we are not in recession. Intead, you let the readers assume that because many in the poll "felt" we are in recession, we are in fact in a recession.

    You are either morons for drawing such a conclusion or purposely misleading the readers. Which is it?

    October 18, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Charles Pippin ......St Paul MN

    Well, wait until we really have a recession (and it will come)....Then this argument will be moot....Since many whites and most blacks already believe that we are there, they can concentrate on something else...like locating Russia on a map....

    October 18, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Ike Bandallio, Chicago, IL

    All right, all right, we are not in recession AS YET. But, be aware of the fact that our trade deficit is phenomenal and getting worse. For the first 3-Q of 2007, our deficit with China is US$163.8 Billion. That's only with China, everyone. Can't we tell that sooner or later, if we do not improve our economics policy, recession is landed on our homeland.

    October 18, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
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