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. K, Raleigh, NC

    The stunning misreporting by CNN has created a false perception on purpose!!! Wait until the real recession hits and it's the Democrats who caused it! They will lie about that too.

    October 18, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. spinstopper

    Although the rich traveling aboard will find things more expensive. The effects of devalued US currency are also benefitial to our economy. Exports become cheaper and imports more expensive, helping to lower the trade deficit.

    October 18, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. brian littleton , colorado

    Salil,
    don't believe everything the government tells you with bogus cooked book statistics.. unemployment is much higher.. after unemployment benefits expire- the government does not count those who still have not found a job..
    MORE PEOPLE ARE LOSING HOMES! because of the huge injections of money from the federal reserve which goes directly to the banks, which the banks use to purchase securities– this is why the dow is going up! a gallon of milk used to cost 1.69/gallon 3 years ago now ita approaching 3.00- inflationm is much higher than the stated 2% try 10 to 12% everything costs more.. food energy housing etc etc.. the Dollar has lost 60% of its purchasing power vs the euro dollar since 1999.. but were not in a recession?? what was the credit crunch that just hit a month ago or so and is STILL GO ON TODAY .. go watch cnbc even those biased morons admit it.. WAKE UP FOLKS THIS ECONOMY is NOT GOOD. since 1913 the dollar have lost 93% of its purchasing power.. what cast 1.00 in 1913 now costs 93!
    I don't know abouyt you but i'm tired of the government lies and deception it in their interest to lie about statistics! M3 which the government does not report anymore is exploding at a 13% rate.. and we wonder why we have inflation! time for a new change! Ron Paul is the only candidate who has the answers to these hard questions.. he knows what to do!
    Ron Paul in 08!! ronpaul2008.com

    October 18, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. JP, Tarrytown NY

    CNN can't say that there isn't in fact a recession because then the one take away from this article is that 69% of Black American's have no clue versus 42% of White Americans.

    October 18, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. DJ, Round Rock, TX

    I'm an informed American and I hear the reports of the economy "expanding". But who is it expanding for? I don't deal in the market (can't afford it). So MY economy is not expanding. The article did not state whether the economy was expanding or not, but that whoever they polled "felt" that way. I live in a middle class neighborhood, decent career, but I don't see any "expansion" that the reports state. Its all about "perception"

    October 18, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Barry Phoenix, AZ

    So nearly half the poll respondents are too dumb to know what a recession is. And certainly CNN is being so unbiased to not tell those dummies that the economy is expanding.

    October 18, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    What goes up will always come down (and will go up again). Remember real estate? Buy, Buy, Buy, the growth in equity is non-stop; Let's encourage people to use their equity as a piggy bank? Our country's debt is owned by China, folks. In fact, our economy is dependent on people going into debt so that they can continue to buy, buy, buy.

    This recession is coming but very slowly but it always is felt first among people with lower incomes and it trickles up. The time to tell will be around the holidays. It has always seemed weird to me that this country's economy is dependent on a supposedly religous holiday. That is one of the reasons I have never bought into all that stress filled Christmas hype. We keep it pretty low-key. If everyone did that our economy would collapse, I guess.

    It won't effect every strata of business though. The oil and gas industries will be making large profits this winter as people will have to make the choice between keeping their house comfortable, putting gas in their cars, and Christmas. Something tells me that for certain segment of society (well paid politicians and the wealthy) will not feel a thing but the middle to lower end classes are going to be really pinched.

    My impression is that the media is surprised that people feel this way (because those in the media are well paid). There is a real sense of forboding out there and if you do not sense it then you are in for a shock. I would advise everyone to keep your credit debt low and save your money.

    October 18, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Recession? That's putting it mildly. Here in the state of Michigan we're practically in a full blown depression. And yes folks...it's all going to India and China. So fast it would make your head spin. And we lay the blame right at the feet of G.W.Bush and his merry little band of Republican free trade extremists.

    Would you like to see millions and millions of square feet of vacant or abandoned industrial real estate and office space? Boarded up schools and police stations in what were once nice neighborhoods? Vacant or abandoned homes in what were once some of the nicer suburbs? Then come to Michigan! This is where state government in Lansing is on the verge of total collapse because there is no revenue to collect. Afterall, bankrupt corporations and individuals don't pay taxes. The number of bankrupcies ( both corporate and personal ) is at an all time high and still trending upward. We have the highest unemployment. The number of home forclosures is staggering...tens and tens of thousands. Thousands of homes are being sold at auction. Some families are handing the keys to their homes to the bank and just walking away. Others are leaving the keys on the counter and walking away in the middle of the night. I love the way the media and Wall Street blame the sub-prime mortgage mess on poor lending practices and irresponsible borrowers. Why don't they ever mention the hundereds of thousands of honest families who defaulted on their loans because their jobs were shipped overseas? (And this is not just a Michigan problem.) Many talented college graduates are fleeing the state before the ink is even dry on their diplomas simply because employment prospects are so dismal. This is free trade? We are paying way too high a price for those policies enacted in Washington which actually encourage corporations to outsource or move offshore. Why doesn't George W. Bush come to Michigan more often so he can see what he's done for us in the last 6 or 7 years?

    October 18, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. laurinda,ny

    These comments are unbelievable. I have no idea what is wrong with some of these people.

    October 18, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Jim K. Appleton, WI

    Shouldn't we be polling economists, or people in finance? Wouldn't that be a more accurate indicator of where we are headed? That poll probably wouldn't make good news, because most likely those people don't believe we are in a recession.

    But the media has made sure the average person thinks we are in a recession. The perception is better than the reality – especially when trying to make up bad news.

    October 18, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. josh

    To the "nearly half" that believe we are in a recession. Get the facts. Recognize! If you want to know what a recession is, take a look at what Bush inherited from Clinton. Because Clinton gave us a true recession by definition. Not mearly what stupid people believed to be a recession.

    October 18, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Miranda White, San Antonio, TX

    Guys, why are we so defensive about the poll results? Why is it about liberal or not?

    OK, say we are not in recession, we would love to say that we are not going to be ever in recession, BUT ..... our trade deficit is paramount and getting worse. How much money do we owe from China, for instance, do you think? Geeeee ......

    October 18, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Omar, Tulsa OK

    Could we get some real economic data here?? I guess CNN thinks if they can get 46% of the country to believe something, then it must be FACT. Hmm... sounds similar to their global warming arguments.....

    October 18, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Dave Dinelli, Bella Vista Ca

    Hopefully Fox/Business will help overcome the economic-financial knowledge information void created by our public education system and perpetuated by "news" outlets like CNN.

    October 18, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. D Schmitt, Weston, FL

    PROOF THAT CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOB... WE ARE NOT IN A RECESSION, BUT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS LEAD PEOPLE TO BELIEVE WE ARE...IT HAS TO BE THE MEDIA'S INTENTION TO MISLEAD...NO OTHER EXPLANATION WORKS!

    October 18, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. sparky noones, wayne, nj

    I've seen the idiot lou dobbs dedicate entire shows to how poorly the economy is doing. CNN are a bunch of partisan phonies who create their own news.

    October 18, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. D Schmitt, Weston, FL

    PROOF THAT CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOB... WE ARE NOT IN A RECESSION, BUT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS LEAD PEOPLE TO BELIEVE WE ARE...IT HAS TO BE THE MEDIA'S INTENTION TO MISLEAD...NO OTHER EXPLANATION WORKS!

    October 18, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. jason Cincinnati, Ohio

    Who really cares what the black population thinks. The leaders of crime and prison population. No wonder they don't like Bush. I'd like to see the figures of how many eligible blacks actually vote. I would be more worried about what the legal Spanish population thinks.

    October 18, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Richard Allen, New York City

    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.

    News reporters are totally oblivious to these stories.

    October 18, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Todd, Bloomington, MN

    What you are saying is that 50% percent of Americans are wrong! You point out that 50% of the people think we're in a recession,and then you define it. You are actively trying to mislead your readers by implying that we are in one – when anybody with more than 5 working brain cells knows we aren't! I wonder how so many people be could be so totally wrong about a subject? They probably get their info – and are stupid enough to believe it – on cnn.
    PS to all you cnn loving skeptics – you know we aren't in a recession, or cnn would be 24/7 on how Hillary is the only one who can get us out of this recession. They would of course leave out the fact that she has literally no experience! NONE! What real work economic experience does she have? None! – This is why so many people call cnn the Clinton News Network, and why their ratings are goin to continue to fall. They just don't learn! If she wins, the dems are gong to lose everything in two years – again – just like they did the first time the Clinton's got into office. She is by far the weakest general election candidate for the Democrats

    October 18, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Roninacreage, WPB, FL

    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."

    What a bunch of crap this definition is. So an example in their eyes is 10% growth in one year, slowing down to 5% growth over the next 3 to 4 years? There is still growth, just at a slower rate. A recession is NEGATIVE growth. These liberal decievers use the same phoney math with so called spending "cuts". There are never any "cuts", just a smaller increase than the greedy democrats wanted for their failed social programs.

    October 18, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Matt H. Nashville, Tn

    What does race have to do with this? I'm with the guy who commented 8th who cares America is America. There's no Black America and White America. If America is in recession we're(Black and White)all in recession. The government digs too deep into things.

    October 18, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Susan, Fort Pierce, Florida

    You Republican idiots who think that the economy is so great! Great for who? Great for the rich and the big corporations!! For the average American we ARE in a recession! The poor and working class are not feeling the benefits. Its all about the "investor class now" The gap between the rich and poor is expanding! That is NOT a good economy!

    October 18, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Weird. Where are all the Bush bashers on this topic?

    We have had 36 plus months of steady economic growth and a shrinking deficit (in spite of the war in Iraq). Seems to me the Bush tax cuts did their job.

    CNN is really fishing on this one.

    October 18, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Tom Miller, Windsor, PA

    Interesting to see all the people come out saying how can we be in a recession ...look at well things are going.

    I bet these are the same folks that have no idea how the feds create hidden inflation with their monetary decisions. All they here is Bush or Clinton mouthing words that are handed to them before they reach the podium.

    As the mother that lives in denial that her husband is a wife beating alcoholic, many people only want to believe that we are on a forever increasing prosperity path. Heck I doubt if many even know of the M1, M2, and M3.

    Modern inflation is a persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money. It can be caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.

    Anybody that purchases the family groceries (which I do)know and see inflation. The can of beans that two months ago sold for 35 cents is now 52 cents, eggs were $1.03 and now they are $1.44, milk is at record highs. Posters are expecting us to believe that it is all ok when inflation on food is 15 percent?

    Even from a common sense standpoint does anyone think that the recent rapid increase of gasoline isn't going to show up on the price of goods and service?

    Do ya think, just maybe, all those empty condos, the ones that were over built aren't going to affect anything.
    Try getting a home equity loan. Good luck on that one.

    Heck people think the DJIA, that small basket of stocks, somehow means that everything is OK. A certain percentage of Americans, the top 10 percent, owns most of the equity offerings in the USA. When they decide to dump, securities will slide.

    Once China decides to dump the USA debentures, look out. There is no way in this world that you can still deny what is looking you in the face.

    I live in an area that is still seeing hyper housing growth. We are 60 minutes from one of America's largest cities and we are still on the path of becoming the number one bedroom community. So contractors and those in construction are still seeing growth. Those in the manufacturing sector ...their dead in the water. Once the new construction stops, reaches its capacity, our local landscape will be filled with houses, fast food and retail. Those construction people will be looking for work but the only work will be at $9 an hour jobs. I think it is a reason that some people say, hey everything is fine, we are doing well. Yes, your sector of the USA may be doing OK but there are sectors that aren't doing well and will never recover. In the old days, the manufacturing days, that manufacturing was spread across the USA, it wasn't a sector economy. New housing has been the driving force behind the good numbers. From what I hear that driving force lost its wind @ last June.

    Don't pull the curtain back too far because you may not like what you see.

    October 18, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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