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. victim of republican greed

    For what it is worth, the republicans are responsible for the near depression, no matter how much they sugar coat it.

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. CraigB

    The Republicans, of course, got us here. Whether it was by 'ideology,' deregulation, inattentiveness to a burgeoning shadow banking industry, unsubstantiated faith in 'free markets,' sheer negligence, or outright incompetence will soon be moot. People will be looking, instead, at what could have been done about obvious problems [with seemingly obvious, but as yet unattempted, solutions] and asking why we've seen such a limited, uncoordinated response to so serious a crisis. Any guess as to who's going to get the blame for that?

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  3. kelly

    The truth is the Federal Reserve Bank is ultimately responsible for the crashing the economy just like it is for the great depression. Greenspan made the US dollar extremely cheap and expanded credit to anything with a pulse. speculators are to blame for driving home prices to unsustainable levels. We ourselves are to blame for drinking the koolaid and actually believing we were getting wealthier because our homes were going up in value (Paper gains), when our wages have been stagnent in comparison to the cost of living for decades. Our government is to blame because they no longer represent the people, only the extremely wealthy and corporations. while the banks take our dollars and loans it out to foreign investors to do business in foreign countrys, the people of this country is suffering greatly.

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. marlene

    The main reason, I think, that the blame game is shifting totally away from the Republican party is that their strategy of being the "just say no", "no idea party" is working. How can you blame someone who is doing nothing. The sad truth is that if the question had been who do you blame – Congress, the President, state governments, or the voters, we may have seen a real light come on for the answer.

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. beevee

    I bet there is a lot of bias in conducting the polls. What is the demographics of these polls. Were they mostly in GOP leaning states? How fair is teh poll. Either that or the American public has very short memory. The previous administartion did not have economic foresight. they were so occupied with Iraq war.

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Abe

    I can not believe people draw conclusions from polls. Republicans should not forget it was there party that put us in this mess. Blaming the democrats for the economic problem is ridiculous. At least the party and the president are trying there best to bring recovery. Trying to create confusion by taking polls and comparing parties is a political disaster. What we need as Americans is to work together and come up with a solution to slow down the recession. Whenever one party thinks the other party is at fault we mobilize in throwing them out of power. This is not a game it is a serious problem for everyone regardless of party. Polls do not include every household, it is only a sample. Shifting the economic problems from the republicans to democrats is ludicrous. Republicans should learn to accept there mistakes and join the band wagon to slow down the recession. This country belongs to all of us and our problems are not individual and has touched everyone.

    November 20, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. 12970

    At some point people will realize that the Democrats are far more responsible for the problems than they have been held accountable to this point. Regardless of the anger and distaste for Bush, the Democrats have been in control of Congress since the takeover in 2006, basically stopping any action by Bush. They have had control through this entire crisis. Their leadership this year with super majorities has been disasterous. With the economy so bad at the beginning of the year, the Stimulus bill was designed to have the greatest impact next year, just in time to elect the Democrats again. It may or may not work, in the meantime we the citizens suffer and are taken for fools. How serious can Obama really be when in December he will finally hold a jobs summit?

    November 20, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  8. heidi

    Who's to blame? try 8 years of the Bush doctrine to which end he lined all his buddies pockets with millions including Cheney the heck with the rest...

    it will take quite a while to undo the damage Bush act 2 caused

    November 20, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  9. Jim in Florida

    Who controls both houses of Congress?
    Who controls the White House?
    Who controls the Federal government apparatus?

    That is who to blame.

    Time to forget the Bush bashing. Was good whiel it lasted huh?

    I'll bet some of the brainwashed Bush bashers will be blaming Bush in 2012, along with out empty suit President.

    November 20, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Nathan,

    The American public is the most fickle group of people on the face of the earth. The politicians know this and they know how to exploit it. This is why after the devastating defeat that the Republicans sufferered just one year ago they knew that they would have a chance to come back because Americans want things right away and when they don't get them they blame whoever is in charge regardless of who created the problem. When we put the Republicans back in power and the economy is still teetering the American people will see what a bad economy is like without safety nets for those in most need. This economy will take a while to come back and we won't give it time before going back to the morons who made it happen.

    November 20, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    The Republicans can try to shift the blame all they want but it is their recession. Their total incompetence at running the economy has resulted in the mess we are in now. Ronald Reagan's trickle down economic theories were put into practice and they are at the root of this mess. The Democrats are trying the best they can to clean up this toxic spill from the radical rignt wing. Their efforts are working despite their being stabbed in the back by the Republicans at every turn. The Republican party has done so much damage to this country that we may never fully recover. It is up to real Americans to combat them and keep them from ever coming to power again!

    November 20, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    The Republicans can try to shift the blame all they want but it is their recession. Their total incompetence at running the economy has resulted in the mess we are in now. Ronald Reagan's trickle down economic theories were put into practice and they are at the root of this mess. The Democrats are trying the best they can to clean up this toxic spill from the radical rignt wing. Their efforts are working despite their being stabbed in the back by the Republicans at every turn. The Republican party has done so much damage to this country that we may never fully recover. It is up to real Americans to combat them and keep them from ever coming to power again! While CNN thinks that this is a duplicate comment it really needs to be said again until the point is across.

    November 20, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  13. Allan Gustafson

    The only President that took the National Debt and Deficit seriously was Clinton. At term end there was a budget surplus, something that's required to pay-off debt! The next party said "Who best know how to spend this money, you or the Government?" and with that we all voted ourselves a rebate check along with a new Republican President.

    November 20, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Kyle

    How is this possible? The economy is getting BETTER, not worse? idiots.

    November 20, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  15. Proc

    Obama told us that the stimulus package would cap unemployment at 8.5%. That turned out to be completely inaccurate.

    And with Obama, Geithner, Summers, and Bernanke (Bush pick), our economy is being run by 4 guys who have never held a job in the private sector, unless you want to count Geithneir's 3 years as a lobbyist. Think about that. Our economic livelihood is in the hands of 4 guys who have never worked outside government and academia. That is mind-boggling.

    November 20, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. historian

    Let's face it. Arizona is a Republican state and look what a mess it is in. Over 40-45% state workers are being laid off, unemployment is only $250 week maximum, raised certificate of operation fees so high many day care centers will have to close and poor families won't be able to work, home foreclosures on every street, guns on the street, no rest stops for tourists, immigration problems, streets eroding, etc. etc. If you will notice, President Obama is a pinata with a number of Republican Senators taking turns swinging at him trying to discredit him. I, for one, am sick and tired of the display of children to prove a point. Our senators really like "show and tell" don't they. Why can't they conduct them selves as adults. I hope Arizona turns a bright blue next election.

    November 20, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. sk of madison

    Both parties are equally responsible. The GOP deserves the most blame because they are the ones that always run on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and slam the Dem's as tax and spend.

    November 20, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. ran

    It took Bush and the GOP 8 yrs to get us into this mess. The clean up could be moving faster if the GOP would not obstruct every step President Obama and the Democrats do. So for me it still is the GOP that is preventing our economy from progressing faster because they want a bad economy for 2010/2012 elections. The GOP don't care how much the people have to suffer as long as they can regain power. It is a game to the GOP.

    Also, CNN try polling people other then those with land lines.

    November 20, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  19. Ilene

    What a short attention span Americans have! How naive to think that these problems were caused in just a year by a new Democratic president. How can anyone just dismiss the previuos 8 years of Republican leadership and 12 years of Republican congressional leadership - duh!

    November 20, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  20. Susan

    What an impatient, expect-instant-results, wishy-washy society we are! Do we really expect the horrible situation we found ourselves in during 2008 to "turn around on a dime"? Good grief!

    November 20, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. Chas

    So 38 percent blame the Republicans, and 27 percent blame the Democrats. That's 65 percent who blame a political party - i.e., 65 percent blame politics and government. Maybe they're not as dumb as I thought!

    November 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. jeffr

    The question is not who is to blame for the recession but who will get credit for the recovery.

    November 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Sniffit

    well, what do you know....

    are the chickens coming home to roost?

    November 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Right Leaning Independent

    The more that folks research and learn that Clinton and the passage of the CRA was the fuel that finally ignited this fire, the more Americans hold the Dems responsible! Barney Frank was warned about the roblems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and yet he and Maxine Waters chose to continue allowing them to operate without change until they nearly bankrupted our country. The reason for this, he simply wanted the continuation of forcing banks to loan money to poor people who would not normally qualify for a loan. Blame Bush all you want but we had 7 years of a very good economy and 1 year(2008) where the policies of Dems finally caught up with the economy. Their current drunken sailor like spending spree is sending us even further down the road of no return!

    November 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. CJ

    Who's to blame??? We all are. Those of who consume, who had to have everything and had to have it now, who had to have it bigger and better than anyone else. Congress as a whole.....no one in that hallowed place gives a rat's behind about the people that voted them in....they care about getting and keeping their own. And the fools that keep them in office.....Do you think they could go in as paupers and come out as millionaires if the public didn't keep sending them back? It's a hoot that I have heard the Congress needs to do away w/ or modify their own health and retirement programs.....you think they're going to vote to take away what they have in order to help the public??? What planet have you been on.....

    November 20, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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