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. Richie

    "Two-thirds say that the government should balance the budget even in a time of war and recession." and none of them are willing to pay more taxes. A nation of whining self-absorbed idiots that want someone else to pay for them.

    November 20, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Steve From NH

    Let's just make sure that we focus all the blame on the political parties, and not take any ourselves. Personal responsibility helps no one and it's way too difficult.
    And while we're at it, let's make sure that we demand that all these problems that we had nothing to do with get fixed immediately, and in such a way that everybody else has to change their behavior.
    For my part, I'm going to make sure that I listen exclusively to Glenn Beck, who only tells me the things that I want to hear.

    November 20, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  3. D. Tree

    People need to remember the last election was much about the economy.

    We elected a president who told us straight up: its not going to be easy, and it will likely get worse before it gets better, BUT if we put our shoulders to the grindstone and work together we can pull our country out of this mess.

    People need to just calm down, stop bickering, and let the President do the job we elected him to do!

    November 20, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  4. JonDie

    We Americans are idiots; we really deserved a 2nd Great Depression in 2008, and we certainly deserve to lose the war in Afghanistan.

    The Republicans spent 2001 to 2009 stealing us blind and doing NOTHING to solve our problems.

    Yet after only one year, people actually think that Obama is to blame because he hasn't yet fixed everything.

    November 20, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. sherry

    Tha republicans are. My 401K took quite a dive in 2008.
    It's actually going back up faster than I exspected. My son has also been called back to work. So yes I say the republican's are to blame for the recession because Bush put the U.S. into two wars that have been costly and unaffective. I see restaraunts and malls packed with people and plenty of people driving and clogging up the freeway's.
    Thing's look like they are on the upswing to me........

    November 20, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. Big Daddy

    this is easy....... The do nothing for the people, obstructionist, the republicans!

    November 20, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. victim of republican greed

    How quickly people forget how we got into the mess we are in.

    November 20, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    DUH!!!! CNN is sooooooooooooo bright!!! Wooo – I am SHAKING IN MY BOOTS with FEAR that we are heading to a DEPRESSION.................NOT!!

    What else is supposed to happen as we move further and further into Obama's administration and further away from Bush's?????????? President Obama also said that it WILL get worst before it gets BETTER!!! I believe the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts are more in trouble in 2010 than the Democrats because they are trying to capitalize on a situation that can ONLY get better..... WATCH!!

    I have NOT seen ONE survey as to what President Obama has accomplished since being in office?????????? Where's that survey?

    November 20, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Dave

    The economy is not bad. If you are still suffering from the economy then you had no plan to begin with and you should blame yourself. Stop waiting on other to solve your own problems...

    November 20, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Dave

    Whose to blame?
    The market and the people. The Politicians aren't really to blame. After all, we told them not to interfere with businesses. Not to limit the market. And not to tell us how to spend our (non-existent) money. They also can't fix it as fast as we'd like. After all, they can't make jobs, businesses do. Unless you want a socialistic government.

    November 20, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  11. Mike Syracuse, NY

    The Great Awakening of the American public has begun. Two thirds of American now relizes that Obama's policies on the economy have either done nothing or have made things worse. Chant for 2012: Bye, Bye Bama!

    November 20, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Dan

    BOTH parties are responsible because neither party seems willing to balance the budget and operate within our means. George Bush didn't help and Barack Obama certainly isn't helping. And Congress (with a few exceptions) is a joke on both sides of the aisle. And the media doesn't help when they raise a panic everytime the GDP doesn't grow at an increasing rate. Until we elect fiscal conservatives, the economy will continue it's downward spiral. And if the GOP is serious about regaining any power in the federal government, they need to figure out how to return to their fiscal conservative roots.

    November 20, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. Chipster

    The GOP will probably succeed because Dems appear to have absolutely no marketing skills while the GOP has a genius marketing machine.

    People are idiots if they don't recognize the huge deficit that the GOP created over the Bush years. Clinton brought the deficit down to $5 trillion and Bush doubled that in 8 years with borrow and spend policies.

    If voters expect Obama to turn that around in a few months, they'll be stupid enough to blame him and elect more borrow and spend Republicans who will simply dig the hole even deeper.

    I'd like to think voters will be smarter this time and Democrats will do a better job of presenting the facts but history doesn't give me much hope of that.

    Republicans convince voters to vote against their own best interest. It's astonishing.

    November 20, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. Romas

    Why is this always a political party issue? Obviously the financial sector of this country caused this recession and it took many years to reach the crisis state. So if you want to put a political spin on it then you have to trace everything back until you find which politicians passed the laws that let the financial sector run amock.

    November 20, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  15. Tina

    It makes sense that the Democrats would bear most of the blame. The party in power always bears the blame. Also, both Democrats and Republeicans have grown tired of the Obama adminstration trying to blame everything on Bush.

    November 20, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  16. victim of republican greed

    Fox and the wingnuts continue to obstruct efforts to fix this mess, and destroy health reform, but it will end up hurting the GOP in the long run. While they call the health plans out of the house and senate, "Obamacare," the GOP failure to help makes their plan, "Genocide," or, better yet, "Massacare."

    November 20, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. steve-o

    Just another thing handed to the Obama administration as Bush exits the white house. Two ongoing wars, at BILLIONS per month hasn't helped either.

    November 20, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. SLM

    Well it's about time people wake up and place the blame where it belongs. This recession should have been over, but the Democrats and their tax and spend ways are preventing the recovery. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.............and people are beginning to see through the medias cover ups for Obama and Co. Sorry, we are smarter than that.

    November 20, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. Dr. Empirical

    George and his cronies spent eight years destroying the vibrant economy Bill Clinton left him. It's insane to think that Obama can undo that damage in less than a year.

    November 20, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. Kahuna

    Unfortunately, 85% of Americans have a real short term memory. Phil Gramm is the one who's most culpable for our economic downturn.

    November 20, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  21. George

    You can NOT cure 8 years of ignorance in 10 MONTHS. The ones that caused it should all resign!!! Since the GOP loves lobby money from their wealthy friends in insurance, outsourcing industrial ceo's, wall street, banking, and others;
    how much would it cost us to buy you out and you all could go home?
    How about setting a price.
    Also how about those of you spending 1 million dollars a day to block insurance reform, put that money in to the free clinics around the country. Right now your greed is truly the DEATH PANEL. You say let them die, ignore them. It's not our fault they have 3 jobs but can't afford insurance. You are all slime!!!

    November 20, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. KJL

    People have short memories. Whoever is wielding the stick at the moment will be blamed for any pain.

    November 20, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Kate

    the GOP can spin this anyway they want to but the Blame still falls on Bush/Chaney, his administration and the Republicans......they blame everything on someone else, they never take the blame.......look at Sarah Palin a good example........

    November 20, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  24. Gary

    The day Bush came into office we had a recent tech bubble burst and a recession, then 9 months later a terrorist attack with a worse recession. You will not find speeches from Bush blaming Clinton for the recession or the terrorist attacks. He said "we are in a recession"..."we need to improve the economy"..."we were not aware of the terrorist threat" ..."we have to be vigilent"....etc etc.

    Ever since Obama is in office both he and Tim "tax cheat" Geitner refuse to take responsibility or ownership of the economy. They say Bush, Bush, Bush is to blame. They are wasting time blaming and not fixing the problem. They are screwing up and not taking responsibility. Obama needs to take responsibility for the economy and he needs to fire Tim Geitner. This is a world wide recession not a Bush recession. I wasn't crazy about Bush but I'm fed up with Tim and getting fed up with Obama. We need a third party that will be fiscally responsible.

    November 20, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. benvictor

    The rhetoric will work no more, for time has shown that nothing has worked and, indeed, gotten worse. In October alone, the deficit was $176 billion (just one month). The national debt has exploded and will skyrocket with such things as health care. While problems escalate in all areas, consumer confidence is dismal. If China stops buying our securities, the administration cannot dump more money out the door, and existing programs will be cut across the board. So, those in power are accountable and 2010 will be a major problem (already evidenced by recent gubernatorial elections).

    November 20, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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