September 22nd, 2008
04:03 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP takes brunt of blame for economy, Obama gains

The nation's economic woes appear to be taking a toll on McCain.
The nation's economic woes appear to be taking a toll on McCain.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll suggests that by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the financial crisis that has swept across the country the past few weeks — one factor that may have contributed to an apparent increase in Barack Obama’s edge over John McCain in the race for the White House.

In the new survey, released Monday afternoon, 47 percent of registered voters questioned say Republicans are more responsible for the problems currently facing financial institutions and the stock market, with 24 percent saying Democrats are more responsible. One in five of those polled blame both parties equally, and 8 percent say neither party is to blame.

Watch: No 'blank check' for Wall Street Obama says

The poll also indicates that more Americans think Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, would do a better job handling an economic crisis than McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. Forty-nine percent of those questioned say Obama would display good judgment in an economic crisis, 6 points higher than the number who said the same about McCain. And Obama has a 10 point lead over McCain on the question of who would better handle the economy overall.

Watch: McCain calls for oversight board

These numbers appear to be affecting the battle for the presidency. Fifty-one percent of registered voters are backing Obama, who now holds a 5 point edge over McCain, at 46 percent. McCain and Obama were tied at 48 percent apiece in the previous CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. Obama's advantage, while growing, is still within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Where did Obama make his gains?

"In two core McCain constituencies: Men, who now narrowly favor Obama. And seniors, who have also flipped from McCain to Obama," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

When including only those people most likely to vote, the results are pretty much the same: Among likely voters, Obama has a 4 point lead, 51 percent to 47 percent.

The new CNN poll of polls also shows Obama with a similar advantage — 49 percent for Obama to 44 percent for John McCain.

"The economy has always been considered John McCain's Achilles’ heel, and the CNN poll of polls started to show an Obama edge in the middle of last week - just as the financial crisis began to hit home for many Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll also expands to include third party candidates. When included in the results, Obama has the backing of 48 percent of likely voters, three points ahead of McCain at 45 percent. Independent Ralph Nader has the support of 4 percent of those polled, with Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney each at one percent.

A couple of other factors in the survey appear to be contributing to Obama's slight rise and McCain's slight drop in the polls. Fifty-three percent of those questioned say McCain, if elected, will mostly carry out the policies of President George W. Bush, who remains extremely unpopular with most Americans. That's up 3 points from our previous poll.

The survey also indicates Obama's recaptured the advantage on "change": Just after the Republican convention, Obama's lead had shrunk to 8 points when voters were asked which candidate would be more likely to bring change. It's now up to 14 points in the new poll.

Another factor could be McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Thirty-five percent of those questioned have an unfavorable opinion of her, up 8 points from our previous survey. And two-thirds believe she and her husband should testify in the Alaska investigation into her firing of a state official.

"Change has always been Obama's strong suit, but McCain and Palin clearly made inroads into that issue during the GOP convention," said Holland. "Palin, in particular, was seen as an agent of change when she made her first appearance on the national stage. That may be changing now."

The poll also sheds more light on how Americans feel about the financial crisis. Twenty-two percent say they are scared about the crisis, with two-thirds concerned. Eleven percent say they are not worried.

Most Americans think that the programs to deal with the financial crisis currently being worked on by Congress and the Bush administration will be unfair to U.S. Taxpayers - but they think those programs will ultimately help the economy.

In general, six in ten believe that federal government should step in and address the financial crisis; 37 percent say the government should stay out. But when it comes to last week's bailouts, support slips to 55 percent - and given the concerns about how future programs will affect taxpayers, it conceivable that public support for the plans that Congress and the administration are working on could fall even lower.

The survey comes out just four days before McCain and Obama face off in the first of three presidential debates. Will the debates make a difference? Probably, since the poll finds that 14 percent of Americans say they haven't made up their minds yet.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, and included interviews of 1,020 Americans, including 909 registered voters and 697 likely voters.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • John McCain
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Latina for Obama (nj)

    YES WE CAN!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. TESAP;SAVANNAH, GA

    UMMMMMMMMMMMM MAYBE BECUASE PEOPLE ARE REALIZING THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN IN CONTROL OF CONGRESS FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS... DEMICRATS HAVE BEEN IN CONTROL FOR 19 MONTHS AND NOW MUST CLEAN UP THE MESS LEFT BY GREENSPAN AND OTHER REPUBLICANS.WHO WERE AGAINST REGULATION AND REFORM.......... MAYBE JUST MAYBE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE FINALLY NOTICING THAT REPUBLICANS WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THE RICH RICHER AND THE POOR........WELL.......... THAT WOULD BE MOST OF US NOT MAKIN 5 MILLION A YEAR............

    "YOUR TIME HAS COME"

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Joseph in Dallas, TX

    $1 trillion Iraq War + $700 billion Wall Street bailout + $80 billion Iraq treasury surplus …..CAN WE PLEASE ELECT THE SMART GUY THIS TIME AROUND….MCDODIE BIRD GRADUATED 894 OUT OF 899!!!

    HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THAT THE ECONOMY IS BAD!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Just one of many reasons why there will be an Obama victory in November.

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. tulsa

    So the American people DO get it.

    One more thing John, Last week you said, "Country first or Obama first."
    You aren't saying that if we don't agree with you we don't put our country first, are you? How dare you. You above all others should know that you fought for the right of each of us to decide for ourselves which path is best for our country.
    You have lost your way.
    I will put country first and vote for Senator Obama,

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. john ippolito

    it is obvious that obama is the best choice. all the repubs can do is grasp for straws and continue lying!

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Motorbreath

    When did the economy start taking a turn for the worst?....two years ago??....when did Dems take control of the house and senate??? I think it was like two years ago? And the dems want to be play President...giggle, giggle

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. TESAP;SAVANNAH, GA

    UMMMMMMMMMMMM MAYBE BECUASE PEOPLE ARE REALIZING THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN IN CONTROL OF CONGRESS FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS... DEMICRATS HAVE BEEN IN CONTROL FOR 19 MONTHS AND NOW MUST CLEAN UP THE MESS LEFT BY GREENSPAN AND OTHER REPUBLICANS.WHO WERE AGAINST REGULATION AND REFORM.......... MAYBE JUST MAYBE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE FINALLY NOTICING THAT REPUBLICANS WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THE RICH RICHER AND THE POOR........WELL.......... THAT WOULD BE MOST OF US NOT MAKIN 5 MILLION A YEAR............

    "YOUR TIME HAS COME"

    POST THIS....POST THIS

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Rob from Honolulu

    McCain once again has shown he can cross over party lines and put together a panel of Romney, Buffet, and Bloomberg to oversee what Paulson wants to do. Obama is still with the blame game.

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Carl from MI

    I guess the de-regulation movement has finally paid off dividends!! Once again... Republicans and Dubya and McCain all show they know what's best for our nation by CRIPPLING it!!

    Republicans SHOULD take the blame... they should all stand up like Palin did and shout from the top of their lungs "Hold us accountable!!"

    I know what you're all thinking... they'll all agree to do that when pigs wear lipstick!!!!

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! VOTE SMART.... NOT SENILE!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    Good news that people are starting to think more about the issues! And after the debates, Obama's lead will grow even greater!

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Ex-Republican for Obama

    McCain advocating a socialist system for Big Business...where tax payers suffer and give welfare to the fumbling morons of corporations is a certain failure. You can not oppose socialism, and then endorse it when it comes to giving these hand outs to big business, oil companies and rich people.

    McCain is a disaster, a record of failure, morally bankrupt and unable to come to his own solutions...instead he is forced to steal Obama's slogans, solutions, policies and try to market them as his own. The only good ideas this punk (McCain) has had, are the one's he has stolen from Obama.

    Down with the deception, up with our flag. Patriotism before pandering, integrity before self, future before past. Comman sense above stupidity. Obama above McCain!!

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. HA! WE KNOW YOUR GAME

    FOLKS,

    EXXON MOBILE AD MONEY (look to your right) =
    CNN WANTS TO KEEP THE RACE CLOSE FOR MCLAME

    September 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Al from Georgia

    This is not surprising news. If there is one thing the Republican party stands for business wise is de-regulation. How many times have you heard Repub's say "get the government off our back?" How many times has McCain said something along those lines? How many times have Democrats been criticized for urging more government regulation?
    Maybe, just maybe, the chickens will come home to roost. Republicans do NOT care about the common man. They only care about the rich getting richer. And you fundamentalist Christian types, they are using you and your important issues for their own benefit.
    Wake up America!

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. R.I.F.

    Of course the republicans should be blamed. Bush has been president for the past 7 1/2 years and he's the one that apppointed all of his buddies to these positions. That's why I don't understand why anyone would turn the keys over to another republican who has the exact same people running his campiagn that Bush did and without a doubt would get high level positions in a McCain administration.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Justin, ny

    The smoke is starting to clear, and people are realizing that this election is about the ISSUES. And its clear that Obama has the average citizen in mind whilst running, while McCain has only his pockets, and those of his rich friends in mind.

    DON'T VOTE AGAINST YOURSELF

    obama/biden '08 – for the people.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    This is absurd...
    I blame all of our politicians for the situtation we're in.
    The Democrats haven't really done much to change things in congress–and they went in on a mandate of change. Bush, and Clinton before him...supported and turned their backs on the deregulation of the investment banking industry–and turned us into debtors of China.

    For the firs time in my life–I want to dis-enroll as a voter.
    I find the whole mess repugnant–as well as both political parties and their candidates.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. KATHLEEN

    With this economic disaster, people will STILL vote for Republicans.
    With this economic disaster, people will STILL vote for McCain Palin!
    With this country on the brink of "losing it all", people will STILL vote
    for McCain-Bush-Palin!!!!
    Should McCain-Palin win this election, Americans are either stupid
    or racists.

    Now we know how Bush won TWICE. Americans are stupid!

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Louis

    Duh–anyone except Republicans knew that huge tax breaks for the wealth, an unnecessary war, and deregulation of the investment banks would lead to disaster. I wonder how many of you Repubs would support those policies now as you watch your pension evaporate and you real estate collapse? Thanks for nothing you Republican morons.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. HA! WE KNOW YOUR GAME

    FOLKS,

    EXXON MOBILE AD MONEY (look to your right) =
    CNN WANTS TO KEEP THE RACE CLOSE FOR MCLAME

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. a southern bell for OBAMA

    WHAT NO BLAME FOR THE SCUM BAG THAT

    SUPPORTED THE DEREGS THAT LED TO IT???

    NOW HOW REPUBLICAN IS THAT ???

    BUSH SR. TOSSED OUR ECONOMY.

    BUSH JR. TRAMPLED IT & MCBUSH HELPED IT

    IN ANY WAY HE & HIS LOBBYISTS COULD.

    THEY SHOULD ALL GO TO JAIL.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Wal-Mart Mom

    Remember the Bradley effect. He was black and was ahead in the polls only to lose on election day. Whites are not telling pollsters the truth because they do not want to be seen as racist. But they are and it will show on election day as Obama is buried in a landslide.

    Too bad for Obama, Olbermann, and CNN. Ha, ha,,ha, ha.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Scott NYC Independent

    We are beginning to see the through the veil of misrepresentation and decite.

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Sarah

    Terrible. Obama even does not have Economy plan. He just gets boost simply because of current Bush Admin's failure. What a bad timing for McCain!!!! Sorry for him....

    September 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Mandy - South Carolina

    Okay, enough with the polls and the electoral map and the other polls! WHO CARES! November 4th is all that matters, anything else is hardly an educated guess.

    Lets hear the debates and vote already!

    Obama '08/'12

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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