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. Reny

    This just shows Americans are stupid. they expect everything to be fixed immediately. If we had protested Bush during the last 8 years or got rid of him in 2004 then perhaps we wouldnt have been in this mess. You get what you vote for and you all voted in Bush for two terms now reap what you sow.

    November 20, 2009 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  2. Dave

    I'm sure the GOP is ecstatic about this. The problem here is that under eight years of a Republican President who couldn't spell "competent" without flashcards, we went from record surpluses to the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. We had a Republican-controlled Congress that, for six years, waived through every one of Bush's policies with a wink and a nod. Now, we have Congressional Republicans who have no ideas and solutions of their own and all they do is try to block legitimate efforts to fix a situation that they caused.

    The situation we are in now took time to fester and it will take time to heal. People need to be patient and the GOP needs to own up to their disaster and work with others to fix it instead of constantly whining and obstructing. Then again, all they care about is power and will stop at nothing to get it back.

    November 20, 2009 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. GI Joe

    Wrong – Bush spent the surplus and took us into debt. He has his retirement and couldn't care less about this country and it's people.

    GOP tax cuts tax cuts – where is the tax base with all the cuts he gave his wealthy friends? GONE

    November 20, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. payback

    ....That's why the public voted for "w" and the gop...They are clueless, and believe the world will end in 2012. Like they believed it will end during Y2K.......

    November 20, 2009 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  5. David

    This recession has it's roots in the 1980's, with the deregulation policies begun by Ronald Reagen, then built upon by Bill Clinton. There is blame on both sides, but never, ever forget, the chickens came home to roost on W's watch. Human beings must be regulated... they are a species that cannot be trusted.

    November 20, 2009 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  6. billy123

    Please President Obama has been handed a depression coming in the White House from President Bush. Please the GOP is the party of ;NO:

    No meaning "NO JOBS, NO HEALTH CARE, and NO Votes on everything else!

    November 20, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  7. demsrulz

    Who was in charge 2 years ago and even earlier leading up to the recession? Who squandered a budget surplus from the clinton administration. I guess 10 months to cure us of the worst recession since the great depression is just unreasonable... People who vote republican get what they deserve... More war and isolationism and greedy tax breaks for the dirty stinking rich... Unbelievable...

    November 20, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  8. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    You can't blame any particular party or person for this recession here in the US. Everyone had a part in making this mess, blaming one person or party is immature and childish to say the least. Why don't we grow up, get our heads out of the sand, and start being part of the solution. The president cannot do this alone, he needs OUR help as Americans. I know that some of you,right or left, might find what I said offensive, but as my mom says a lot of the time, "tough luck buddy." The first step that we can take to solve this mess as Americans is give Wall Street the parental spanking it deserves.

    November 20, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  9. terry,va

    The Dem's have been in charge or congress for several years now. When are people going to realize that the economy is their baby? I bet that if you took a poll the day after the world came to an end, 30-40% would say it was George Bush's fault.

    November 20, 2009 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  10. Travis

    All this does is confirm that people are sheep. They see what is in front of their face. I'm a Republican and I could care less who the people want to blame for starting this. It is EVERYONE'S fault. We all got ourselves into this, so it's going to take all of us to work together to get out of it. From past trends, I can say that won't happen.

    November 20, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  11. Brian0901

    It started under the GOP. People need to realize that Obama inherited a double digit recession and it cannot be turned around overnight.

    November 20, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  12. Marion/Alabama

    The Tax Payers are finally doing their own research into how the housing fisaco was started by Jimmy Carter and prepetuated by Bill Clinton,along with the Democratic Committees who were in charge of the oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac....Along with ACORN

    November 20, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  13. Sandra,Atlanta

    With all the lies and hyprocisy of the Republican party and the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, and others, a lot of people believe exactly what they hear from the nut jobs and nothing else.
    That is their main goal is to blame the Democrats and not to take any responsibility for any of this mess. Corrupt is what I call them. I don't like a lot of Democrats either but the Republicans level of hypocrisy is astounding.

    November 20, 2009 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  14. jody in NY

    Are you serious there is no one to blame except the banks that invested in those sub-prime mortgages. Stop with the BLAME GAME.

    November 20, 2009 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  15. buckwheat

    You wanted a third world government now you have it.

    November 20, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Stop with the blame game CNN. This recession happened under a Republican President and his failed economic policies. Period!

    November 20, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. dave

    i cant believe it you guys have polls for everything!!!!!!!!!!! You live your life by polls how pathetic!

    November 20, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  18. CJ

    That's because they are both to blame. Re-elect NO ONE!!!!

    November 20, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  19. once upon a horse

    the party in power ALWAYS gets blamed when times go bad so this is not really new. I will say this if the Republicans can turn this thing around and get back to where it was before they took over last time, then I'm all for it. Maybe they are keeping all the answers that they don't seem to have hidden until they get more control. We'll see.

    November 20, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  20. Robert in Austin

    Over the last 20 years, the Republicans have given us 2 Bushs with 3 Recessions, including the worst ever. Enough is enough!

    November 20, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. Josh

    Who to blame? That is just stupid, why is that when something goes wrong we are always looking to blame someone. We really just need to look at ourselves. We are all to blame for the recession. We all stopped buying local goods years ago and started shopping at Walmart and Meijer, all these stores have goods from China and Taiwan. If we would all be willing to pay a little more for an American made product and shopped locally it would bring the economy back, but the question is, is it too late?

    November 20, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  22. Greg, MN

    We are yet to see the worst. When health care gets passed, the Chinese government will tighten up like a constpated mule. They will not buy anymore of our debt. They made that pretty clear to Obama on his visit.

    That means no more loans, stimulus or government spending. Think California

    November 20, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  23. Andy from CA

    Goldman Sachs. No one else.

    November 20, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  24. suzi

    the american public is fickle & dumber than a box of rocks.

    November 20, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. J.

    We have such short memories. Both parties are to blame, none of them listen to the people who voted for them. They only help the lobbyist who donate to their campaigns'.

    November 20, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
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