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. Mikey

    What do you expect. The Republicans have spent most of the last 3 decades tearing down every regulation in sight and hampering almost every Government Agency.

    Now we are reminded that common sense regulation is not only beneficial, but absolutely necessary. The regulations not only protect consumers and individual businesses from abuses by more powerful individuals and organizations, the protect the very fabric of the markets – insuring the trust that is required for markets to function.

    Now we will get the knee jerk overreaction from all the politicians who will make a quick about face and pretend to be champions of the people and regulation – you know, like that former champion of deregulation, JOHN MCCAIN.

    September 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Chris

    Aren't the poll numbers skewed? These research firms only query people with home telephone numbers. with Sen. Obama's record of voter registration and the fact that he is carrying largely urban populations and educated professionals, how many of these folks only have mobile phones that are not listed in the phone book ro online? I think the polling is flawed and they are not reaching an accurate sample across age and demographics.

    Can someone clarify this for me? I understand polling and sample sizes, but this reporting has me concerned.

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. ANGIE

    lets go america WAKE UP FROM THIS BUSH NIGHTMARE lets take our country back NO MORE DEREGULATION NO MORE LOBBISIT IF WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK ITS TIME AMERICA ITS TIME TO COME TOGETHER LETS SEND OBAMA/BIDEN TO THE WHITE HOUSE VOTE FOR BARACK AND JOE!

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

    God Bless every true American

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. JB

    all things bad for the us are always positive for democrats.. go figure?

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. GARY

    OBAMA IS NOTHING BUT FLIP FLOPPING FROM PICKING BIDEN AFTER TRASHING HRC FOR THE WAR BIDEN VOTED FOR TOO. OBAMA LIES AND HIS LOST MINDED SUPPORTERS BELIEVE EVERYTHING HE SAYS. OBAMA WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET VOTES AND MONEY DONATED. MCCAIN AND PALIN ARE THE ONLY STRAIGHT FORWARD CANIDATES.OBAMA HAS NOTHING BUT A FOLLOWING OF HATERS.THREATNING RACE WARS IF HE DONT WIN. BRING IT ON. OBAMA HAS BROUGHT BIG CHANGES BACK 100YRS. OR MORE,HATE,RACIST AND DIVISION.IF THERE IS GOING TO BE A CIVIL WAR BECAUSE OF POOR SPORTS ,WELL THE SOUTH MIGHT RISE AGAIN. THATS WHAT OBAMA BROUGHT. MCCAIN/PALIN COUNTRY FIRST REFORM SECOND

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. tim

    Has anyone noticed everyone on cnn web site is a liberal just like the shows. If you libs are smart you wont listen to cnn if you could trust them john kerry would be president dont be surprised and claim a copnsiracy like a bunch of losers when it dont work out for the carter/obama retreat and play nice ticket.

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Ron

    Yet the DEms are now holding hostage the government's plan to restore solvency to the market with "everyman" provisions. This is a blatent political move to posture as the "peoples advocate" to give OBAMA an edge. While Rome burns the Democrats a fiddeling. McCain needs to jump on this posturing before the Dems blame him for the ensuing disaster that awaits while the political jockeying goes on. Just look at today's market results – while Dodd presents his proposal. heaven help us because the democratic congress will not. They are too intersted in getting their man elected and to hell with the public welfare.

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Get Real!

    CNN you just open a discussion board on Palin says Obama is lying then not 10 minutes later you close it.... Give us the time to submit our comments and voice our opions.......

    CNN – POST THIS COMMENT!

    I live in Alaska and for those voters out there that think you have a gem just because she's a women or because she is a Republican or what ever reason you justify to yourselves that she is a good choice let me tell you, here in Alaska we has Alaskans are learning more and more each day about this women. She has lied why she fired Walt Monegan, she has made bad economic choices for Wasilla, leaving them in dept. Wake Up, if Alaska is getting smarter then so should the rest of nation! Educate yourselves and just think, "Do I want to leave this country better or worse then it is now for our children and grandchildren?"

    September 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. pan

    TOGETHER WE WILL CONQUER support OBAMA/BIDEN

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Eddie Wright

    Mary,

    Do you think Obama should win because he is black? The media have been behind the "Messiah" since the primaries. He has no experience and will destroy this country!

    McCain-Palin 08!!!

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

    Electing Democrats to solve a financial crisis is like hiring a Burglar to watch your house while you are out of town.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. James, Brooklyn

    Yep, one can say that loud, Mcsame is going to win this election based on his color but not his plan for this country. Stupidity will lead us to chaos, and that is where we're heading without a doubt.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. shawn - ga

    Polls are meaningless guys. Once these people get educated to the truth and Friday night after McCain completly destroys Obama the polls will swing again. in the end 11/4/08 is all that matters.

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

    Are Americans ready to set their racial prejudices aside and vote the candidate most qualified to lead this country out of the mess made by the last eight years of corrupt and incompetent Republican rule? Or will Americans allow themselves to be divided and conquered once again by the smear machine of Bush/Rove and its newest operators McCain/Palin. This election will determine the course of this country and its realtionship with the rest of the world for the next century. We can move forward with Obama/Biden or march backwards into the future with McSame and Bush in a dress.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. California Gold

    This is when McCain's last 26 years in Congress and his speeches haunt him. Deregulate is the McCain chant and it kept him in office for way too long. Bet Arizona is also wondering why Alaska and all the other states got "pork" and McCain put Arizona on a "pork free" diet. He's pathetic.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. PUMA-PAC - Murphy

    America please wake up!! The matrix has you!!

    "My fellow Americans, you are the change that you seek!" – Obama

    Move things forward!!

    Former Republican for Obama!

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. J.P.

    Hellooooooo!? Democrats are in charge of Congress. You know, the "do nothing" congress!

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

    There is still enough racism in the US to keep it close.

    So maybe if McCain adds a female to the ticket he may still have a chance.

    Hope Americans are smarter than that.

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

    McCain would be a disaster for the economy. He's way too ignorant of economic principles, his running mate is patently corrupt, as are most of his economic advisers. He hasn't put forth a plan of any kind, and is constanly changing his position of the economy.

    McCain also repeatedly tells blatant lies about Obama's plan. It's one thing to question individual concepts within a plan as ineffectual, but McCain just makes stuff up. Vile lies as has been detailed by Factcheck, and even CNN (!!!) has exposed McCain's lie-telling with regards to Obama's economic policy.

    People are now scared of what McCain/Palin might do to their retirement/social security, as well they should be.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    Obama is supported by former SEC chiefs, Republican and Democrat alike. They are staying away from McCain.

    When the crisis hit, Obama went to the people who brought us Clinton-era prosperity and stability for advice.

    McCain scurried to the same people who brought us this tragedy.

    There is no question.

    Obama 08

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Sandi

    All I can say is if McCain wins this election it has to be because of racism and stupidity.

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

    are you kidding me? American should blame republican for all those problem like 8 year of bush and congress republican for supporting bush all the time and mcbush for vote 90% for bush poor policy . now look the mess we have thank to mcbush.

    September 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Jesse from Berlin

    If what the polls say is true, then why don´t we vote for the better candidate? we all care about our Economy... this should not be about race.... it should be about the who´s the best to lead...

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. JohnLee

    I'm tired of the republicans. You can put lipstick on them and have them flip flop all you want, but this republican is not going to vote for McCain! I've had it!

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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