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. BHO: Ignorance is Bliss

    Sad part is, the democrats in the senate and congress will ruin the Financial Bailout for political purposes... THANKS BARRY....

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

    America is losing its status as world leader. Our economy is crumbling and we are in a war to nowhere. Every once in a while in history, we need a fresh face to lead. Obama represents that. Lets give it a try. What have we got to loose?? This is not a time to vote for or against any candidate based on color. There is too much at stake. Lets seriously look at the candidates platform and there is a clear choice for Obama. Enough of the Bush McCain nightmare.!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Obama has to be up by more then mccain if he has any chance. We all know there are about 10% of racist voters (white and black). So obama has to be ahead going into the election.

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    All one need do is take a look at the history of handling our money by the GOP, and your choice is clear.

    OBAMA / BIDEN – 2008!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Open Your 3rd Eye

    LOOKS LIKE 47% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO GET THEIR HEAD OUT OF THEIR AZZ.

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

    I don't know why so much emphasis is put on these polls when we all know that they fluctuate and aren't accurate. Carter had a steady lead in the 1980 election but Reagan ends up winning. The media should say more on the issues and less on day-to-day functioning of the campaign.

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. PROUD AMERICAN

    WOW! HAVE AMERICANS FINALLY HAD ENOUGH OF THE REPUBLICANS CAUSING OUR ECONOMY TO CRUMBLE AND OUR STANDING IN THE WORLD TO A JOKE.? AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT OF JOKES, HOW CAN ANYBODY POSSIBLY THINK THAT PALIN IS QUALIFIED TO BE VP. I KNOW THAT IN MCCAIN'S BOOK HE SAID HIS GREATEST ASPIRATION WAS TO BE PRESIDENT. WHY SHOULD HIS ASPIRATION BE AT THE COST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. SENATOR MCSAME SHOULD FORCE GOV. MCSHAME AND "THE DUDE" TO TESTIFY IN ALASKA. WHY ARE THEY ABOVE THE LAW???? OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA!

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Mr Brown

    McCain is flip-flopping. Thats why he is losing. Other reasons why;

    -He has no grasp on what the economy is really about
    -He's not a good speaker
    -He's part of the party that made this mess
    -He's not really about change. He's not a maverick. Thats like saying you're a thug; If you really are one, it doesn't need to be said.
    -People are coming to grips with Palin-maina and that she's actually a horrible pick for VP
    -He can't even fill a bingo hall without her
    -He's not open-minded unlike Obama, who is and people can look at as someone who won't pull out their guns to solve every problem

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

    Derugulation,deregulation, deregulation!!! it's too bad that Mayor Bloomberg of NY isn't running, but I'm sure he'll back Obama.

    It's a wrap. Republicans have screwed this country up!!!

    Palin? Are you friggin kidding!!!!
    I guess McCain is trying to shore-up the white-trash vote!! Shame on you dude-give American women more credit than that!!!!

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

    If you don't fix the country's finances, well be the USA (a wholly owned subsidiary of CHNA)

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

    I sense success in the air for the Democratic Party in 2008! Less than 6 weeks to go to see this all come to fruition!

    BO & JOE 2008!

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. You should have voted for Hillary!!!

    The Democrats have had control of the house for the past 2 years. Where is their "change"? We seem to be going from bad to worse.

    September 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. The fundamentals if McCain's economy are strong

    All though the rest of us are screwed. America seems to be waking up. Don't worry McCain you can still count on the "bubba" vote and those who think that God is a Republican.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Randy

    The problems with Wall Street should be a wake-up call for independents and ex-Hillary supporters to vote for Obama. Even those who identify themselves as family values voters should vote their pocket book and cast their lot with Obama/Biden.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Eating Buffalo Wings in Heaven with Russert

    Si I see CNN refuses to mention the Congress's ongoing all-time low polling #s, but of course it's ALLLLLL the fault of big bad Bush. It's shameful to see you fools fall for the media's nonsense and editorialzed versions of the "news", including CNN, aka the Obamabot Press.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. PUMBU

    AMERICA, PLEASE MY FELLOW CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT NATION. WE ARE SMART AND WE CAN NOT ALLOW 4 MORE YEARS OF REPUBLICANS DISASTROUS POLICIES. FIRE MCSAME PLEASE, PLEASE. I AM A SINGLE FATHER WITH TWO KIDS AND JUST LOST MY JOB. THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD, PLEASE, PLEASE HELP FIRE THIS GUY. HOW CAN YOU OWN 7 HOUSES AND 13 CARS AND EVEN HAVE AN IDEA WHAT A POOR GUY LIKE ME IS GOING THROUGH??? PLEASE, I AM ABOUT TO BE HOMELESS, I'M CRYING AS I WRITE THIS COMMENT. GOD HELP ME AND BLESS AMERICA.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Sue

    You go, Barack! Between this crisis, which does lay squarely at the feet of the Republicans, and Palin's iffy background and easy-to-check lies, the McCain Lying Express is headed in the wrong direction. Palin dares to call Obama and Biden liars, when as late as yesterday I saw a McCain ad still promoting the bridge lie. Come on, Americans were idiotic enough to allow George W back int he White House in 2005, but even the dumbest are awakening on the heels of the mortgages, gas prices, and now the plunging of America into the next Depression. We don"t need Palin wagging her manicured finger at us while she lies about earmarks and polar bears. Life in America is about to change, and only Obama has the brains to dig us out. This is about economic security, not about bombs.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. johnkezie

    Mcain is a fluke...Americans better wake up before it is too late..Thats all I got to say....WAKE UP AMERICA!

    Country first" is voting for OBAMA who actually has a vision for the counrty

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. TheTruthHurts

    I didn't care about polls when down and not while up. Let's get to work and throw the bums out. At this point we need darn near a revolution because we have to keep our eyes on the Dems as well. None of these folks can be trusted alone. That's Obama's message - Yes WE Can!!

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

    McCain is 4 more years of Bush policies.

    McCain knows little about economics. His chief advisor brought you this financial disaster in the banking sector...Phil Graham....

    McCain himself was involved in the Keating Five scandel from the Savings and Loan crisis.

    America vote your pocketbook. It is getting picked daily by Bush and his buddies.

    Forget about Social Security, Health Care, and retirement if McCain wins.

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Jinny Lee

    Thank you God....we are finally waking up!

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Obama/Biden '08, '12!!!! Yes WE Can!!!

    CNN, why show a photo of McPalin supporters. Photo editor, stat.

    GO OBAMA/BIDEN, GO GO GO!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. ela

    And now democrats in congress will do Obama campaign instead of duty to country. Enough is enough with these dysfunctional people in charge (and now they want also the executive branch!!!!)

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Time to send the Greedy Old Party to the Elephant Graveyard for good!

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Team America

    The debates are critical. It'll be interesting to see if Osama can handle the pressure of the questions. My guess is not very well. Bottom line is I want a President with a military background in the dangerous world we live in..not some hotshot lawyer.

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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