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. DT Wisconsin

    These polls are stupid. They amount to getting people who generally aren't fully informed on a issue to give their opinion on something that isn't opinion-based. There are economic indicators to tell us whether or not the US is in a recession. What people "think" means absolutely nothing.

    Then this poll becomes a news story. When did journalists stop being journalists?

    October 18, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. Jack, Indianapolis IN

    This completely fails to answer the question: ARE we in a recession?

    The answer is, of course, no. Every economic indicator shows that the economy is doing great. We can thank news agencies' hard work for convincing people of a total fabrication, and common people's complacency for not bothering to find out themselves.

    October 18, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. DT Wisconsin

    I forgot to add that once you throw in the race component, then it becomes an even "better" story.

    October 18, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. Georgiana Fritzgerald, Houston, TX

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

    October 18, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Donn F. Chester, NH

    This poll is seriously flawed. If African-Americans make up 12% of the population, why would your survey be comprised of 25% African Americans? We all know that the press and media want everyone under a Republican President
    to think all is wrong, but the economy is very good for about 80% of all Americans. If a Democrat was in the oval office, we would be talking about the records set on Wall Street, low unemployment and rising wages. Amazing how we never here those facts reported on a daily basis.

    October 18, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Jim, Riverside, CA

    Recession: Your neighbor is unemployed
    Depression: You're unemployed

    October 18, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. mike e. cooney pt.place,ohio

    this makes perfect sense! since, the northeast newsreaders DAILY,and i mean DAILY ,report complete and total lies about virtually EVERYTHING!!pols indicate this,doom and dipare,daily! these are godless heathens who desire a country more like france than america!goebbells had it right,lie often enough and it becomes the TRUTH!! and dim-o-rats and their treasonist friends in the media do it goebbells-like DAILY!!

    October 18, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. John, Charlotte, NC

    For those that don't think there is bias in the mainstream press...this is a perfect example of it....oh yea, I forgot that it's possible it's just total incompetence on the part of the pollsters and CNN for publishing it..

    40% of the survey is comprised of people with a skewed view that is not representative of the whole.

    The sampling of these skewed viewers represents over 3 times their percentage in the population.

    So if you take a poll witout correct sampling...the poll cannot be correct, and this is a gross error because when a certain population of respondents is 330% higher than their representation in the population you are trying to poll, it's either gross incompetence or gross bias....not slight or overlooked.

    October 18, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. Chris, Columbus, Ohio

    In addition to what people think, how about reporting the numbers. Is there a recession or not? What do the statistics say?

    October 18, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. BT Davenport, Alpine, TX

    Since the black population is about 12 or 13 percent, why would your survey poll double that number without disclosing that the results will be skewed?

    October 18, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Kevin Maguire - Boston, MA

    It might have been helpful to include the real economic data – which shows that the 46% are wrong.

    How about a story about how so many people have been mislead into this false conclusion?

    I wonder which party these clueless people (46%) are registered. Perhaps they are Democrats?

    How could we be in a recession with 6 years of straight economic growth and full employment?

    Facts would be helpful – unless you want to perpetuate the ignorance.

    Bush's low approval rating among "white people" has to do with him not being conservative (spending, lack of border control and inability to articulate why we are in Iraq). We want someone who is more conservative than Bush.

    October 18, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Cindy, Aguanga, CA

    Well, that just goes to show you that half of the people in the USA are idiots.
    Anyone who thinks this roaring and booming economy is in a recession is truly ignorant of the facts.

    October 18, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Mark, Phoenix AZ

    The poll is all well and good...but it is garbage in and garbage out! The economy is clearly not in a recession....and financial person will be able to tell you that! If you ask people something they do not know the definition of.....of course they may try and sound smart by saying "why yes the housing market is down..we must be in a recession"
    I also love the continued attempts at racial divide by breaking the poll into black and white numbers....great job CNN...I am sure Al and Jesse are happy....why not break it down further and add Hispanics to the mix....they are the new minority.....

    October 18, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Jeremy, Denver CO

    Are you kidding me?

    "The recession numbers may be having an impact on President Bush’s approval rating."

    What recession numbers? Do you mean your flakey poll numbers?

    Your expert is great at spinning the definition of a recession with this statement "According to CNN’s Ali Velshi, 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, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. "

    The actual definition for a recession is "a recession is a decline in any country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year."

    Even if his were the definition of a recession, what is the current unemployment rate? The GDP? Income? etc...?

    October 18, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Ben, Richmond, VA

    If I landed from Mars and watched any news coverage outside of the financial networks I would think we are in recession too! Ten years ago, when the economic statistics were similiar (unemployment, job creation, GDP ect.) the news coverage was more positive for some reason. The African American middle class is larger and more properous than ever before and yet this poll suggests they do not have confidence in current economic policies? I don't quite get it. What is the alternative? Raise taxes and spend more and leave these same families with less?

    October 18, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. TLR, SmallTown, Indiana

    Wow!! The mainstream media machine should be quite proud of keeping 46% of Americans that ignorant. We've had incredible economic growth in the last 3 or 4 years in spite of record oil prices and the sub-prime mortgage debacle and yet the left-wing media salivates at every opportunity to tell Americans how miserable our lives are. You can say what you want, but I choose not to take part in your "recession" – I know better.

    October 18, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. R.Anderson

    Where are the poll numbers for the "Pelosi Do Nothing Congress"? 11% approval rating I beleive. The lowest in history.This recession talk just goes to show that if you tell a lie long enough people will beleive it.

    October 18, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. Talus Perdix, River City, TX

    The reason Americans think the country is in a recession is quite simply because the partisan media deliberately misrepresents the truth in a concerted effort to destroy the president. I imagine those who disagree with the premise that the country is in a recession also listen to independent media sources.

    Is anyone surprised?

    Is this article itself an attempt to further slam the president and undermine Republicans (by trumpeting his poll numbers and ignoring the democrat congress's role)?

    What transparent shills you are.

    October 18, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Will Decker, Skokie, IL

    While many people may believe that the U.S. is in a recession, the fact remains that we are not.

    This just shows the lack of economic education of the geberal public and the ability of the major media to capitalize on this ignorance for their own purposes.

    This story is an attempt to create a story instead of reporting.

    I wonder why the story has not corrected the public opinion with the facts?

    October 18, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. RG, Evansville, IN

    Gee, could that be because CNN and the other Democrat "news" channels play up even the slightest bad numbers, ignore the good ones, and don't bother to mention when the "bad" numbers are later adjusted upwards?

    October 18, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. JC, Detroit Michigan

    Soooooo are we in a recession or not?

    October 18, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. Ryan Reagan San Antonio, TX

    It is stunning how people could possibly think we are in a recession. This poll shows the danger of the negative economic focus of the mainstream news outlets that has clearly misled the public into this false belief. I know people have to also be responsible for their own ignorance, but when their sources of information are misleading it is hard to fault the fools of this poll.

    October 18, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. joseph, austin, tx

    what the hell does race have to do with this poll. what do asians and mexicans and muslims and jews think the country is doing. were anybody polled an economist. the average person doesnt know what it is to be in a recession other then what the doom and gloom media tells them.

    October 18, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Donald Ramakers, Tustin California

    I find it hilarious that news organizations are always posting polls showing the public to be negative on the economy. First, you never post positive economic stories when Republicans are president. Second, do you even bother to ask the people you're polling if they understand the question? For instance, do your poll respondents even know how to define a recession? By the way, in economics a recession is defined as a decline in GDP over two or more consecutive quarters, not what you claim.

    October 18, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. Dave, Buffalo, NY

    This story is ridiculous, at the very least a good journalist should include in here that we are definitely NOT in a recession, that the economny has been growing for something like18 straight quarters.

    October 18, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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