October 22nd, 2009
11:41 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Is the worst of the recession over?

The number of Americans who think the country's economy is currently in very poor shape is on the rise.
The number of Americans who think the country's economy is currently in very poor shape is on the rise.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The number of Americans who think the country's economy is currently in very poor shape is on the rise, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday also indicates that a growing number of Americans think the worst of the recession is over.

Forty-two percent of those questioned in the poll say they rate the economic conditions in the country today as very poor. That's an increase of seven points since August. That figure had been dropping steadily since the spring. According to the survey, 16 percent rate the current economic conditions as good, a drop of 5 points from August. That figure had been steadily rising since the spring.

But the poll also indicates that a third of Americans think the country's still in a downturn, a drop of 7 points from June. Half the people questioned say the economy's stabilized, an uptick of 2 points from June, with 17 percent feeling the country is starting to recover, up 5 points from June.

"Americans don't like where the economy is, but they seem to be hopeful about the direction it is headed in," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Two-thirds think the economy has stabilized or has started to recover. That doesn't mean they think it's in good shape now - but it might be in the foreseeable future."


The survey's release comes as the number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance rose last week, snapping two weeks of significant declines, according to a government report issued Thursday.

The latest Federal Reserve snapshot of regional economic conditions reports that the economy has shown signs of stabilizing or modestly improving in recent weeks, especially the housing market and manufactoring activity.

"Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines," the Fed said Wednesday in the most recent edition of its Beige Book. "But virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered."

According to the survey, 43 percent think that President Barack Obama's policies, such as the federal stimulus program, have already had a positive impact on the economy. Another 13 percent say the president's plans aren't working yet, but will make the economy better in the future, and 42 percent say Obama's programs won't help at all.

"Skepticism about Obama's economic program is highest in rural areas and in the Midwest," says Holland. "That's where we may see some real battles for House seats next year."

The CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll was conducted October 16-18, with 1,038 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN Polls • Economy
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. jack

    What one group took 8 years to destroy will take another group at least that long to fix.

    And anyone that votes for the GOP in 2010 & 2012 hoping to "throw out those who caused our problems" remember this. It was the GOP that has destroyed this nation both at home and abroad.

    If you must vote, do it for an independent, green, or libertarian candidate on you ballot. Just don't pull the GOP lever.

    You'd be better off pulling the trigger on that gun against your head.

    October 22, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. leet222

    I cannot believe all the crap blaming previous administrations for "sending jobs overseas". If we Americans would buy our own stuff, this would be a moot point. I'm amazed that people will spend 2,000- 3,000 dollars on a big screen tv made overseas, yet won't spend an extra 10 dollars for a pair of jeans made in the US. The jobs will continue to disappear until we change our buying habits. And please don't tell me that nothing is made here anymore. if we demand it and refuse to buy the other stuff, they will make it here.

    October 22, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Bay Area 1

    I don't think so, come see Sacramento they is no work and even the city don't have enough employee to clean the street!

    October 22, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Mark

    Poll: Obama is an inexperienced idiot and the U.S. continue to lose jobs and eventually go bankrupt..

    October 22, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. demwit

    "Two-thirds think the economy has stabilized or has started to recover.."

    Great job Keating!! Want to be Focus Group Czar??

    October 22, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. mike florida

    Absolutely not, What have they done to help us out, Unemployment increased last month, forclosures are about to go up because the plug is about to be pulled again, small business is going to be taxed to death along with everybody else that has a job or owns a business, drives a car, has electricity or natural gas, health insurance, anything you buy in a store!

    How does this help? Doesn't help anybody except the peope that get the money we pay in taxes that Obama and the left care to give it to without strings apparently.

    wjhen the money stops, and there ain't no more! and inflation hits double digits, they wil still put a happy face on it. Too little too late!

    October 22, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Lil Jimmy

    They should probably poll the 10% + of unemployed Americans to see how they feel about the progress of the recession.

    October 22, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. PREDICTA

    You people who like to rewrite history crack me up. It was the Clinton administration which started on the path to forcing banks to make mortgages to those not qualified to receive them. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were the ones insisting that it was discriminatory and racist not to do so when the Bush administration tried to reign in Freddie and Fannie back in 2005. To go one step further, we had 6 years of growth under Bush after being attacked on 911. That in itself was no small accomplishment, so stop bashing Bush already and start to hold the empty suit responsible for getting nothing accomplished in 10 months.

    October 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Not in my view. About 2014, should be about right.

    October 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Carmelle

    How are we supposed to see jobs creation/growth go up, when it was only 2 or 3 months ago that companies were annoucing the job cuts? What you think they changed their minds in 2 or 3 months? Do yourself a favor, take an economics class and learn something.

    Job creation can't be done unless you can create new markets like clean energy (but it can't pass cap and trade with the party of no, never) or healthcare which will take time.

    Remember he did NOT do this. Bush and Cheney did. DON"T FORGET!

    October 22, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. JOE

    thank GOD we has a president who acted instead of waiting for the house to burn down. clearly, the economy has stabilized and the stimulus helped but no one will be satisfied until people get back to work. keep up the excellent job mr. president!

    October 22, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Janette Garside

    The recession is at it's most vunerable time. You have a cycle that needs to be broken. One third of the working class in the US is out
    of work. Unlike the great depression where the government steped
    up to create jobs for the American work force which put us in the cycle of a big boom bust. This Administration has put a deaf ear unto it's working class people. This Administration comes with the same baggage the last one had...public elected officials that have to much money in there pockets from large corporations/lobbyist's. Without jobs and decent pay more will default on their mortgages, credit responsibilities and more companies will fail...then they want us to
    pay more for health care, yet they do not have a job or roof over their head.

    October 22, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. jennifer

    NO!! My husband will be layed off next week. A thousand people will lose their job when the plant closes permanently. What's left is minimum wage, if you can find that. I was told, last week, at Walmart that they are not hiring.

    October 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Tate

    Retired army officer if you think cheerleading will bring anything back then sit back and hold your breath. Typical liberal waiting for the goverment to do your job. Get better educated or get another skill then go work. The goverment is the reason we are in the mess, every city in the country are full of people with zero work ethic and wait for goverment wellfare. The demcants experiment has failed. look at california that is what Owhiner and big mamma want.

    October 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Wake Up America

    The worst is definitely not over. I work for a large corporation. They are following the "Gartner" guidelines for outsourcing all of IT. The corporation I am working for is telling everyone the IT helpdesk is being outsourcing is to IBM. New flash, it is really going to India. The company I work for took over the commercial side of Boeing. The parent company is a foreign company. Since that happened, wages have gone down significantly, benefits have also been reduced and now, the outsourcing to foreign countries beging. The middle class is quickly becoming the lower class. Soon we will be a country of rich and poor. The middle class holds up the economy, when it crumbles, the top will go with it, but then it will be too late to fix the problem. Greed was a major factor in the Depression and it is a major factor with our country right now. The Democrats and Republicans dont run this country, BIG BUSINESS does. They will outsource as much as they can as long as it makes their bottom line look good and they get their big checks. Hold on, this is just the beginning of so called "Globalization".

    October 22, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. chris

    i'm taking obama's slogan CHANGE.........does anyone have any spare CHANGE???

    October 22, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Meh

    I think we are on an upswing. Remember, employment is a lagging indicator.

    October 22, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. i love democracy

    if corps stop shipping off our jobs then maybe we will grow under stand to all right and left most of bush era policy is still in effect and will be for 2-3 more years tax cuts and jobs removals and predatory lending still lives have a good day

    October 22, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. JayG

    I cant comprehend how people say the recession is over. We are almost 10% unemployment and because we are slowly not losing as much jobs as we were, somehow we are not in a recession??? Take a look at the market from a 3 year outlook and tell me we are'nt.

    October 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. JayG

    I cant stand how people keep trying to blame Bush for all this. Take a look at the market for the pasy 10 years and you will see the economy was thriving under him until end of 2007. We had a housing boom under him and yet somehow some people love saying Obama has done more in 9 months????? What has Obama done but make it worse???? you people are just pure Bush haters.

    October 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Tina

    NO!!! The worst of the recession is far from over. How can you even ask that when thousands of people are losing their jobs everyday and the job losses will continue in the future. The REAL unemployment rate is 17% and it's going higher, especially with American based companies still being allowed to off-shore jobs as fast as they can.

    President Obama, if you want to do something to help taxpayers who still have a job, stop rewarding companies who off-shore jobs with tax credits. These companies should be severly penalized for every job then send out of this country!!

    October 22, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Dax

    That's great news.......I'm still unemployed..........

    October 22, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. tom

    Of course the worst isn't over. This is all being driven to keep the Wall Street ponzi scheme going...once again it'll be individuals who'll get burned the worst.

    October 22, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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