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. iluvsam

    Obama is outrageously intelligent, and is as cool and collected a leader as I've ever seen. I will confidently put my trust in him to handle both the economic issues as well as the national security issues this country faces. Plus, I like the fact that he is being advised by Robert Rubin. Rubin is a financial genius that was the mastermind behind the economic expansion of the Clinton years. This is evidence that Obama will surround himself with a great team of advisors. McCain is not very bright and doesn't think before he acts. No more cowboys in the Oval Office please. Plus, he refuses to say that Phil Gramm, one of the architects of this current financial crisis, won't be his pick for Treasury Secretary. Not a good sign. Obama is our best and only shot at making this country great again.

    September 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    THE BUSH-CHANEY-MCBUSH ADMINISTRATION WERE

    HOPING THE OTHER SHOE WILL FALL AFTER THE ELECTION.

    THE FACT THAT OBAMA CAN SPEAK ENGLISH DOES ALSO HELP.

    THE FACT THAT HE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL PROFESSOR DOESN'T

    HURT HIM. THE FACT THAT HE APPOSED A WAR THAT IS

    BLEEDING US DRY IS GOOD TOO. THE FACT THAT MCSLEAZO

    IS AS IGNORANT AS AN OLD CRACKED WOODEN DOOR KNOB

    CAN ONLY HELP OBAMA. NEED I SAY MORE. THERE IS MORE !!@

    September 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Saad from NJ

    OK guys..... my fellow brothers and sisters.... come on now..... stop this nonsense! Senator McCain has himself stated he does not know much about the economy. How can you blame him for something that he does not know about???? LOL!!!

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

    And to think, after every thing that has happened they want Congress to sign a bailout plan that has no oversite and can't be challened in court for at least two years? Give me a break. They have lost their mind. I wish we could vote tomorrow.

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Jimi NY

    If McCain becomes president I am moving to Canada. I can not take it anymore.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!!!!!!

    THE LOGICAL CHOICE . . . THE ONLY CHOICE!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    BLAH BLAH BLAH POLLS BLAH POLL OF POLLS BLAH BLAH I'M CNN BLAH BLAH BLAH I SUCK AT REPORTING REAL NEWSS BLAH BLAH BLAH I SUCK A LOT

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. dan mac

    thanks for the update clinton news network,no way no how nobama!

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. samuel

    America is coming to its senses. no more GOP lies, no more cv embillishment. There will be only one party to rectify this mess.
    Democrats are back in business

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. KATHLEEN

    Piden is a bigger liar than McCain. And, my friends, that is hard to beat
    McCain's lying, explosive character!!!!1

    Obama-Biden 2008

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Don

    Why do Obamabots think only their candidate can bring change?

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Michael in Houston

    Glad to see that America is finally coming to it's senses. I think the margin is even wider than what CNN has suggested. Just from the vibe here in Houston, McCain is going to lose and lose badly. I am still curious about who is polled, and where are they polling because I still don't know of anyone who has been polled at all. But I happy that all of you have seen what we have seen from day one.

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Don

    McCain/Palin=Dukakis/Ferraro.

    September 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Michael, watching from Canada

    The real concern for the rest of the world is.......

    HOW CAN THIS ELECTION BE SO CLOSE?

    When the rest of the world knows:

    1. That McCain stated that, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong."

    2. Who has supported deregulation for years (not just for the financial markets, but for health care)?

    3. Who has publicly stated that he is not good in economics!

    4. That McCain's nasty negative attacks against the Democrats will not help him reach across the aisle.

    5. That if anything should happen to Mr McCain (I hope nothing does), the confidence in his VP to take on the most powerful job in the free world is very low.

    6. That there is growing concern about Ms. Palin and the truth about the bridge to nowhere, about earmarks and about troopergate.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Tom

    I'm surprised that 24% blame the Democrats for this. This has got to be the willfully stupid contingent who has been "energized" by McCain't's choice of Palin as running mate.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Daniel

    How could any sane individual think that McCain is 4 more years of Bush? The two haven't voted the same, nor have they gotten along! Do your research.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. sarah

    Finally, people are coming to their senses. Deregulation and trickle down economics does not work and it will not work.

    Obama-Biden '08!

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. indy chris

    Heart said it best: Barracuda as played at the RNC

    You lying so low in the weeds
    I bet you gonna ambush me
    You'd have me down down down down on my knees
    Now wouldn't you, barracuda?

    If the real thing dont do the trick
    You better make up something quick
    You gonna burn burn burn burn it to the wick
    Ooooooh, barracuda?

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. R. Cooper

    Just remember behind every pair of democratic lips wearing lipstick, there's substance not just a hockey mom!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Doug R.

    McCain/ Palin = Pathological Liars with absolutely nothing to offer this country and its citizens.
    Palin accuses Obama and Biden of lies...she should look at herself in the mirror.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Let's hope Bush doesn't start a war against the Martians to help McCain's chances.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Abbie

    The 2006 election resulted in a sweeping victory for the Democratic Party which captured the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures from the Republican Party. Where's the change Democrats boast?

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!

    By the way Palin, when you point a finger at Obama/Biden, four of your OWN FINGERS are point back at you! Go figure it out why! Who is the Queen and king of Liars? Answer: Palin/McCain!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. LUCYNA

    If McCain wins, specialy that his VP is that idiot Palin, it will only prove how dumb and uneducated people are in this country.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. SK

    Shame on the media/Obama/voters for suggesting that the Bush administration and republicans are to blame for our economic woes!

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    GO RON PAUL!!!! MCCAIN SHOULD EXPLODE!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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