WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests Americans are becoming slightly more positive about the condition of the country, but the vast majority still say things in the nation are going badly.
Twenty-eight percent of people questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday think things are going well in the country today, up 12 points from November. Still, more than seven in 10 Americans think things are currently going badly in the country.
"This poll question has a record of being a good political indicator," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "When the number of Americans who say things are going well is this low, bad things happen to people in power. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was thrown out of office. In 1992, the same thing happened to the first President Bush. And last year the Republican got wiped out."
The poll also indicates that 42 percent of people questioned think the country's in a serious recession, up 10 points from last October. Another 35 percent said the nation's suffering from a moderate recession and 12 percent labeled it a mild recession. One out of 10 said there's no recession.
Will things get better in time for next year's midterm elections?
Many economists believe the recession will end later this year. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned on May 18 that "even as growth starts to turn positive, which will happen, unemployment is going to keep increasing for a while and it's not going to feel better for a long time for millions of Americans."
"The last major recession ended in March 1991," Schneider said. "But unemployment kept going up for more than year. So what happened? In 1992 we got angry voters and a president was thrown out of office."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.