November 20th, 2009
09:09 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Blame for recession shifting from GOP to Democrats

Washington (CNN) - Nearly two years into the recession, opinion about which political party is responsible for the severe economic downturn is shifting, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates that 38 percent of the public blames Republicans for the country's current economic problems. That's down 15 points from May, when 53 percent blamed the GOP. According to the poll 27 percent now blame the Democrats for the recession, up 6 points from May. Twenty-seven percent now say both parties are responsible for the economic mess.

"The bad news for the Democrats is that the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling by about two to three points per month," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "At that rate, only a handful of voters will blame the economy on the Republicans by the time next year's midterm elections roll around."

Thirty-six percent of people questioned say that President Barack Obama's policies have improved economic conditions, with 28 percent feeling that the president's programs have made things worse, and 35 percent saying what he's done has had no effect on the economy.


One reason for that, says Holland, may be the growing federal budget deficit: Two-thirds say that the government should balance the budget even in a time of war and recession.

The survey indicates that only 18 percent say the economic conditions in the country today are good, down 3 points from August. Eighty-two percent say economic conditions are poor.

"Some economic indicators may suggest that the economy has turned the corner - but try telling that to the American people," adds Holland. The number of Americans who say that the economy is in good shape - a number that grew steadily through the spring and summer - has now stalled, with fewer than one in five expressing a positive view of current conditions. More than eight in 10 say that economic conditions are in poor shape, with 43 percent calling them very poor.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinahauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN Polls • Economy • GOP
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Really? Eight years of the worst administration and eleven months of the one right after and they are blaming the democrats.
    Repugs – they all need to go to a sanitarium.

    November 20, 2009 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  2. Pragmatic

    No surprise here: in our "instant gratification" era ... it seems like Obama has been President forever ... major problems and no quick solutions ... and now it is time for Obama to own the problem.,, and he will.

    Interesting to note how few people state that they wish McCain/Palin were in charge ... or that McCain/Palin would be doing the job better. nndRemember McCain bragged about his limited economic knowledge ...and Palin might have quit by now ....

    November 20, 2009 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  3. IndyVoter

    Not surprised...Just proves that idiocy, ignorance and impatience are still in vast supply here in the good ol' US.

    November 20, 2009 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  4. Catherine Wolff

    It took George Bush nearly 8 years to destroy the economy. Why would it recover in less than a year? It's going to take years to emerge from this mess. Remember there was a huge surplus when GWB took office. He not only went through that, he dumped trillions into two useless wars, not to mention what amounts to the murders of our young men and women, and irreparable damage to the lives of those who have survived multiple deployments. We are all suffering because of the incompetence of the Bush administration.

    November 20, 2009 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  5. WIlly Brown

    As it should be. Obummer can't keep on blaming Bush for everything but please keep on doing it Barry.

    November 20, 2009 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  6. RDMCL

    The Bush administration turned the key on this one but it's the Obamians that slammed it into high gear and put the pedal to the metal. I believe their out to break all records and the country along with it.

    November 20, 2009 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  7. Big D

    How about putting the blame where it belongs; on greedy Americans. Greed lives on both sides of party afflilation and people living outside their means as well as those that prey upon people that live outside their means is responcible.

    November 20, 2009 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  8. Federalist Number 45

    They're both to blame. Wake up people and vote them ALL out in 2010. If you think otherwise, you're blinded by the spirit of party.

    November 20, 2009 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  9. m.c.m

    i think these men,Holland and Steinhauser are bent on killing any credibility of this administration with their biased polling numbers.idonot understand why you guys R doing this.......Ah iguess it is because BHO is the POTUS. But this man intends only to help the helpless, bcos personally heis an accomplished man he does not need to get rich off the US TAXPAYERS bcos he is already self made......he is just helping. SO pls be sincere to Ur poor vulnerable fellow Americans by giving this Godsent POTUS a chance to clean-up Ur great nation. thank you.

    November 20, 2009 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  10. Mickey

    The failed policies of the GOP is to blame for this mess. Period...plain and simple.

    November 20, 2009 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  11. Polly

    No doubt about it, disposal of nuclear waste is costly!

    November 20, 2009 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  12. David in NC

    Chaulk it up to American short-term memory.

    November 20, 2009 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  13. Mike

    Because most americans are stupid and get there information from 10 second sound bites

    November 20, 2009 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  14. Obama perpetual campaign headquarters

    It appears George Bush is being blamed less often.
    He wishes to extend his sympathies to Sarah Palin.

    November 20, 2009 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  15. dave

    this simply shows the fickleness and lack of lucidity of the American public. Republicans were in power for 2000-2008, controlled the House and Senate before that since the 'Republican Revolution' of 1994, went full speed ahead on the ill advised war and were hell bent on paying for the war withour raising taxes. The people reponding to this poll are morons with short memories

    November 20, 2009 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  16. Larry S

    It would be very interesting to have the poll also state if the people questioned knew that the Democtats controlled the Congress for the last 3 years. Congress spend th emoney!!!

    November 20, 2009 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  17. AEK

    Of course it is. While the Democrats are busy with the business of cleaning up the mess "The Bush Years" left, including the recession, the Republicans are scurrying around like beetles on a dung heap blaming everybody but themselves and offering NO solutions to the problem. Pretty typical Republican behavior as of late. Unfortunately when you scream it loud enough and long enough people start to believe you, right or wrong. Remember...some of the people, all of the time...

    November 20, 2009 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  18. Bob (Illinois)

    This poll emphasizes the fact that most of the population is just not paying attention. People need to review the history of the Bush administration.

    November 20, 2009 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  19. Jeff

    The Democrats had legislative control at the end of President Bush's second term. The second half of his second term is when things started to get bad. Of course, many voters only consider the affiliation of the President. I'm not going to say that it was the fault of either party necessarily, given that the world is in a downturn as well – we might be a superpower, but let's not be so arrogant as to say it was all our doing.

    The question now becomes which party (or general political ideology) will get us out of the rut.

    November 20, 2009 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  20. Mary

    Fortunately for the Republicans, the American public, by and large, has the attention span of a 3-year old and the intelligence of a brick. How else can you explain why an administration that hasn't been in office for a year is taking the blame for policies that have been in effect for years?

    November 20, 2009 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Mike Smith

    I hate it when news outlets do this. They report something bad, blowing it out of proportion. Then they interview their viewers and claim that the original bad thing is even worse because now "the public" also thinks so. CNN is like Fox in that respect, they try to drag down President Obama by all means available to them that can't be called outright lies. Disgusting! Left wing media? Haven't seen any for years! Oh, and by the way, if you succeed in destroying everybodys confidence in the future, how will YOUR future look like?

    November 20, 2009 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  22. cfrench

    Come the 2010 mid-term elections the republicans will blame the recession on the democrats. Funny, for the last two years the republicans have been saying there is no recession. How politically expedient of them.

    For eight long and horrible years the republicans blamed Bill Clinton for every single thing that was wrong with this country. For the sake of the country I hope there will be more intelligent people than morons voting in 2010 and 2012.

    November 20, 2009 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  23. Cliff Vegas

    Proof positive that Americans have a short memory, do not read, and prefer the quick stimulus of heated rhetoric and utter falsehood.

    November 20, 2009 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  24. Silence Dogoode

    Anyone in DC listening? Quit printing $$$$ and spending $$$$ we don't have! This is not a blue or red issue.

    November 20, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  25. Holly B

    If they are going to blame the Dems, they might as well hail back to the Clinton Administration policies where it all started

    November 20, 2009 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
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