November 20th, 2009
09:09 AM ET
4 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. Scott

    Just goes to show there are a lot of stupid people out there. The Dems didn't drag the economy down. You can still thank the Republiklans for the shape of the economy provided you aren't stupid.

    November 20, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. terminator II

    This demonstrates one major flaw in our current two party system. Marketing is used to garner public opinion, not action.

    November 20, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. Mitt

    I am not surprise because Americans have short memories. We are not patient and want everything to change now. The GOP will succeed in destroying America at the very next opportunity. Most Americans need to take Economics 200 and know that unemployment is a Lagging indicator. Stop being used by the media for ratings.

    November 20, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. Jim

    Look in a mirror, that is where you will find who is responsible. Americans should be focusing on buying American made goods, instead of letting our elected leaders send jobs overseas.

    Americans live beyond their means, and this is the result. We should attempt to turn this around by demanding from our retailers American made goods that will create jobs here, instead of sending our hard earned dollars overseas.

    Americans are the ones to blame!

    November 20, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. TOM

    Equal blame across the board. These polls are ludicrous.

    November 20, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    CLEARLY..... the economy did not start turning south until the democrats took both houses of Congress in 2006. And as a result, thanks to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd among others in the Pelosi legion, people who could not afford mortgages were able to get mortgages for homes they could not afford. Bush was a lame duck by the time the first bail out happened....he had no choice but to go along with the democrats in Congress because they would not entertain any more fiscally responsible solutions.

    The dollar is crashing. We're about to experience yet one more fiasco in the democrats spending spree... health care reform. My money is ALL in Gold. How bout you?

    November 20, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Panacea

    Trying to balance the budget during an economic crisis is counter productive.

    If the Federal Government had tried to balance the budget, the entire nation would be in the mess California is in right now: drastic government cuts, no government services, workers laid off or RIF'd, and unable to pay its debts.

    How valuable would Treasury bonds be if the Feds had to give IOUs to pay its bills like California did?

    November 20, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. Matt

    The failed stimulus package and corporate bailouts now make the struggling economy the responsibility of both parties. Over 40 companies who received bailout money have said they will default on the loans. Companies who got huge sums of money declared bankruptcy anyways, including GM and Citigroup. We are at over 10% unemployment, which means the stimulus package has been an utter bust. For those of you who disagree, just remember that Obama said the stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8%. This is a mess created by both parties and it will continue due to the greed and ego of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

    November 20, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. JA/TN

    the mess we are in didn't happen overnight, and will not end overnight, the socalled gatekeepers are the blame and that covers a wide range to spread the blame to

    November 20, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  10. Jerry

    The democrats are going into their fourth year having full control of congress. The democrats clearly own the economy now and the recession, two names quickly come to mind, Dodd and Frank.

    November 20, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    One benefit from divorcing oneself from an impossible situation is the satisfaction of gloating afterwards that your hands are clean of a mess you had no hand in creating. It may be a cheap satisfaction, but I have always tended to blame both parties while they blame each other. No one ever wins. No one is ever happy.

    Since human insignificance grows with population increase, thus correspondingly my opinion being worth proportionately less, would explain my lack of affiliation in majority political efforts.

    Expect that 27% to grow. Whether that translates into the intelligence needed for most folks to gamble on a third party vote would be another matter entirely, however.

    November 20, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Karen

    It would be nice if Obama would stay on American soil, WORK on the economic and jobless problems. He has no problem going out to work on the campaign trail; I only wish he had that much interest in the problems of this great country. After ten months in office, surely the democrats realize they bear a large responsiblity for the dire economic problems we face.

    November 20, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. The Dude

    Considering all of the money spent by the GOP in an effort to point fingers at the Democrats, duuuuuuhhh.

    November 20, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. R.B.

    It's because the Democrats can't get it together, or at least, they struggle to. No meaninful accomplishments yet, just trying to wade out of the muck that GOP left them. Some Dems are eager to vote with the GOP, forgetting who voted them into in office. One thing the GOP does well, like cults do, is adopt a group-think mentality. But for Dems, it's like herding cats.

    November 20, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Joe from Ohio

    In the words of my favorite Radical

    " The Chickens are coming Home to Roost" ! :0)

    November 20, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. J. Carroll Marsh

    It took the Bush-Cheney administration, and an unbridled Republican majority, eight years to grind the United States into the second-worst economic hole in its history and, arguably, its status as leader of the free world into disrepute,

    It takes more than 10 months to solve this.

    Whining isn't appropriate, but the Obama administration and the Democratic majority should never open their mouths on issues of the economy or foreign policy without reminding short-attentioned-span Americans of this!

    November 20, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. m jeff

    The Republicans destroyed the economy with their selfish greed by sending too many jobs overseas. It will take twenty years too fix their mistakes.

    November 20, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Kevin in MA

    The federal government has lived on the public credit card since the Nixon administration. From Reagan going forward that was combined with increases in spending, lowering taxes (income) and moving value added jobs (mfg) off shore creating even more debt (save a couple of years under Clinton) and crushing the middle class. The last 8 years of total mismanagement accelerated the downward spiral by allowing Wall street to gamble with our money that led us to the brink of a catastrophe. I think it's fair to say that the economy is on triage and the underlying problems have yet to be addressed. What are these people thinking that the fairy godmother will sprinkle some pixie dust on things and it will be all better? Folks, you don't 'kiss this boo boo' and make it go away.

    November 20, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. Michael

    Utter nonsense. The current economic depression was caused by Republicans and their corporate benefactors.

    The meltdown that occurred on Wall Street was the result of neo-conservative "free-market" ideologies that suggest businesses should be allowed to operate without government regulation. Wall Street was allowed to set up incredibly careless mortgage programs because there was little or no regulation. Billions of dollars changed hands, many wealthy investors became wealthier, and when these shady mortgage programs finally fell apart, Junior Bush came up with the first bail-out plan for the banks.

    The economic situation that exists today is exactly what one would expect when Wall Street and big banks are allowed to operate without oversight.

    Wake -up, tell the truth, and stop with the pro-Republican propaganda!

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

    Hardly surprising, given the non-stop barrage of hate, lies, filth, and slanderous allegations the Repugnants have been slinging since they lost control of the government! All all this on top of never, ever, once taking responsibility for the near destruction of the American economy and the world economy. But then...Repugnants NEVER take responsibility for anything, do they? Sure the blame is shifting. We have very serious problems in this country which they refuse to help fix, eventhough they caused most of them. President Obama and Congress are working on very complex issues to improve things, and this takes time. The American public in their ignorance, and stupidity have zero patience. Small wonder they place the blame in the wrong yard. We Democrats didn't make this mess! But our party is trying to straighten it out! To the Repugnants...pull your heads out of your backsides, and tell your Congressmen to lend a hand instead of providing nothing but obstruction, in their never-ending quest to bring about President Obama's failure. If he fails...we ALL FAIL!

    November 20, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. Rich

    I blame three groups for the recession. The republicans, the banks and the realtors. All three played large rolls in the systematic destruction of our economy. Sure there are others, but a majority of the blood is on their hands.

    November 20, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. Renee

    We are to blame the American people. We as Ameircan's sat on our lazy butts and allowed American businesses to be sent overseas to places like China, and India without a single uproar, or protest. We buy foreign cars, electronics, etc and we are making other countries rich. BUY AMERICAN.

    November 20, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. CR

    Here's the weekly CNN polling piece that attempts to inject drama or controversy where none actually exists. How about reporting the news instead trying to make it up?

    November 20, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. Bubble of Sanity

    The problems we have cannot be attached to a political party; they are the fruit of a joint effort of 535 elected officials who suffer immediate amnesia when they go inside the Beltway, and forget all the reasons they were sent there.

    Until we say a definite NO to their doing anything that is not specifically mandated by the US Constitution, our economy and overall well-being will continue to decline.

    All of them need to re-read the 10th amendment and learn to live by it.

    November 20, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. Texan

    Wow.... What is wrong with the people in this country. Brainwashing through fear is the tool of choice for the GOP party. How can anyone with any intellegence whatsoever NOT blame the GOP??!! Our Democratic president has been in office less than one year. The cause of the recession happened in the past 2 to 6 years.

    November 20, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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