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. Critical Thinker

    It is regrettable that voters have such short term memories of who or what caused economic problems. Bush's tax cuts along with greedy CEO's combined to cause the problem. Now, Obama's trying to clean up Bush's mess and the blame is being unfairly shifted to him because people expect him to work miracles. Also, many argue to balance the federal budget...that would cause many private companies(starting with behemouth defense contractors and their subcontractors and suppliers) to go belly up since the federal government is the largest customer in the world. Everyone argues against federal waste, what about private waste? Not too many civil servants get to stay in Ritz Carlton hotels, etc. Hum.

    November 20, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. afmca

    I have to say, even as a Democrat, both parties need to take some of the responsibility. The root cause for the problem I think falls mainly on the Republicans. Their belief in market driven solutions and corporate America being able to police themselves was naive. The Democrats though crafted a bailout package with to few penalties against those that caused the problems and lacked even the most modest of reforms. Both parties are guilty of creating a Wall Street recovery instead of a Main Street recovery. More moneyt should have been funneled directly to the people instead of to the banks and government. That most of Wall Street has returned to their destructive patterns, are increasing tsalaries even more, and believe their bonuses are a right not needing to be earned is disgusting to the regular American worker. Returning to the American capialistic model of the 21st century will only cause more hardships; not less.

    November 20, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Speaking for Liberals

    Alternate headlines for this article

    CNN Poll: Many Americans have forgotten that this reccession was a direct result of Republican and Bush Administration economic policies.

    CNN Poll: Americans blame their problems on whom ever is available

    CNN Poll: Americans are starting to realize our polls are just lame excuses for real journalism.

    November 20, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Boston Guy

    The GOP will never take responsibility for their mistakes. They are very good at shifting the blame. It was the 8 years of the Bush administration that casued this recession. A war based on the lies from Bush not only has cost lives but billions and billions of dollars. All because he wanted to get even with Sadam for trying to kill his daddy.

    November 20, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Bill NY

    The lack The lack of patience displayed by the people of this country is mind boggling. We are willing to sit through eight years of having the economy destroyed by Republicans, yet are unwilling to give Mr. Obama one year. The real culprits are both parties and both houses. We live in an era where big medicine and pharmaceutical companies get gullible people who need healthcare, jobs, etc. to work against their own best interests. Also to blame is a culture of crime(fraud, fraud and more fraud) in this country where citizens and politicians who want to see the president fail no matter what are no better than terrorists and traitors to their own country.

    November 20, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. RahmAxleRod SuperTroopers

    Well considering, a good chunk of housing concern goes to the Community Reinvestment Act, and it will repeat itself till we get rid of this crap. In addition the protectionism of both parties in 2004/05 to Fannie Mae and Freddie MAC... But we got rid of of the crooked republicans... its time to get rid of the crooked republicans.

    November 20, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Biased

    Everyone says "spending under Bush for 8 years"....however most fail to mention that Democrats had the majority in Congress for those last 2 Bush years. That was when they promised if they got a majority they would end the war in Iraq and bring all the troops home by Dec. 2008. So democrats have been in charge over the last 3 years not republicans.

    November 20, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. VernisRobertson

    The recession has been going on for 4 yrs which the Bush administration lied to the american people telling us that their was no recession . These are the policies that the former administration put in place, where just feeling the affect from those policies. The 2 wars giving rich people tax cuts , high gas prices , stock market, stealing this country blind.

    November 20, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  9. Johnny DC

    These polls are ridiculous - the questions might as well be "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" Or even sometimes "Are you a black person or a white person?"

    I want to meet the 36% of the people who think "Barack Obama has improved economic conditions". I want to hear justification on that. What exactly has the president done to improve anything? Cite something. At the very least, if these people were to answer honestly, they'd have grouped themselves with the people who say he's "had no effect".

    It's amazing how some people, both Liberal and Conservative, will vote in polls based solely on fiction, skin color, and party allegiance. It renders polling obsolete, especially on CNN.

    November 20, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Mike Fairbanks

    I can't help but wonder who are these people who constantly swing back and forth in their opinions. Don't they know how to read and make in informed decision? Aside from that, the blame lands squarely on every citizen of this country. Had to have that plasma or LCD TV, the Xbox, and the heated leather seats in the Audi. And don't forget the 4000 square foot house with three-car garage for a family of four.

    November 20, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Jackson

    the problem is that nothing is made here...jobs are non existent because almost everything is made overseas..find a way to change that and our economy will get better.

    November 20, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Jim

    Unarguably, both parties share blame if for no other reason than that we had a Republican president and Democrat congress for the key period leading up to the recession. Additionally, many of the dominoes that fell were set up years or decades before hand - in particular, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac (the first domino to fall) were set up largely to help people get home even when no financial analysis would suggest they could afford it and congress (especially Democrats) fought vigorously for decades to avoid enacting ANY oversight/control.

    Now, the Democrats control all the cards and haven't done much other than add to the deficit and debt, which will cause their own negative impacts to the economy (though they'll largely be timebombs left for successors.

    November 20, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Eric

    Democrat or Republican they are all to blame for the recession. Everyone in Washington has had there hands in this mess. Whether it be Bush . congress or the Senate. For years they have all been out of control with spending and not worrying about national debt or the outsourcing of American jobs.
    But to blame President Obama is not fair. He has barely been in office a year yet. I think his policies have helped slow down the recession and in the end will help end it.

    November 20, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. Big John

    Who's to blame? Well let's see...President Clinton left a ten TRILLION dollar surplus when he left office. pResident Bush squandered all of it and left President Obama nearly the same Deficit and now ten MONTHS into office he's supposed to repair the damage that shrub did in eight YEARS. It's pretty obvious...

    November 20, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Pay attention, Dems. The "Bush's fault!" mantra is wearing thin.

    November 20, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Lacrosse Mama not for Obama from Bad Newz, VA

    Duh. Everyone wants to blame Bush. Rallying cry for the Democrats. Here's a simple lesson in American Politics. The Legislative Branch is responsible for policies. Not the Executive Branch. Democrats have had control of the Legislative Branch since 2006. Seems to me the economy was doing just fine when they took over.This recession began in late 2007/early 2008. With Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate.

    Finally, the American people are waking up.

    November 20, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Expat American

    The magnitude of Bush's lies and epic failures will be felt, possibly, for at least a generation. The ‘Republican Values' that are the cause for much of the economic hardships cannot be dismantled with a quick fix solution. The Genocide Party has offered nothing substantial either. You aren’t going to fit into a bikini if you think that all you need to do is take a diet pill….when you weigh 310lbs.

    While I am a democrat, I don't depend on the government, whoever is in office to fix my problems; I don't need too. I sacrificed and worked hard to achieve that on my own.

    Those standing in line at tea parties holding their copies of 'Going Rogue', or burning crosses and hanging effigies wearing their 'Country First' T shirts while waiting for their welfare check and food stamps are the same ones who stuff their faces at McDonald's and look for someone to blame because they are fat.

    November 20, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. RTB

    It took years of Republican policies to cause the mess we are in. Now it is still the Republican policy of obstructionism that is still causing so much damage.
    Republicans are afraid to see a successful administration. The Democrats need to pull together. The public needs to sort through these shifty politicians and get rid of the wolfs in sheep's clothing the likes of Lieberman and some 'Democrats'. They are really in effect Republicans and are a disaster to any true progressive initiatives that will be beneficial to the majority of the American people.

    November 20, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. kevin

    I blame the GOP and the Democrats for this bad recession, but most of all, I blame corporate GREED!!!!!!! Our jobs are going overseas,
    so how does this make us proud Americans.

    November 20, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. g ontario

    bush and dick cheney were depending on americans have very short memory,s republicans and there corperate leaders the real power inthe united states will slow recession until 2010 hope they can put there guys in power.like sacks putting 500 million in small business loans ,while investing billions in communist china, and india

    November 20, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. mkielm

    This is bizarre. We are a nation with zero attention span and less interest in the details and nitty gritty of self-/republic governance. Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past (but it's hard to believe the past would include the recent past of the last administration)? Both parties are to blame, but one party can't seem to free itself from the insanity of the other (and the insanity of the fear mongerers), to the detriment of the people of this country.

    November 20, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Michael in Houston

    ya right...democrats are too blame for the economy. Not the unprecedented deficit spending spree Bush and the republicans inflicted on the nation for 8 years, not the bailouts Bush pushed through in 2008, not anyone in the Bush administration that didnt see this coming and did nothing to stop it, and certainly not the Iraq war that approaches one trillion dollars.
    Ya its the democrats.
    Do you people think we are ALL that stupid? Apparently you do.

    November 20, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Norman

    Let's be honest. The GOP for 8 long years ran this country. The Democrats were just outsiders looking in. A war created by very bad intelligence sucked up our money like a vacuum cleaner. Domestic issues were sacrificed.

    Now we have a new administration trying to bring this country back and who gets blamed. The Democrats.

    Just look at the Health Care debacle fueled by the Right and it's supporters.

    Now tell me who should be blamed for this economy.

    Norman

    November 20, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Tom

    As long as we keep sending the same batch of idiots to Washington, things will never get better.

    November 20, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. Michelle

    dumb americans

    November 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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