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. All the news that's fit to omit

    The 36 percent that say his plans have improved things are the Dorito eating, Oprah watchers that sit at home and wait for the mailman to come witrh their "hard earned" checks.

    The other 74 percent that work for a living know that he is an empty vessel with empty ideas.

    The LIBERALS have been in charge of the purse strings since 2006, what has happened since then, anyone, Bueller, Bueller?

    The nitwits are just realizing that the Dumocrats are in charge, where have they been for THREE YEARS?

    Bush was bad, but this gutless fraud is beyond bad, his is an Obomanation.

    November 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. ggb

    It is about time that people realize that Bush had a democratic congress so they had a very strong hand in our economic demise. How can you blame Bush? Obama has succeeded in more than tripling our debt since January, unemployment exceeds 10% and is more realistically like 17% since they do not take into consideration those who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits.
    I need someone to explain how the dems are not and have not damaged our economy.

    November 20, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Tammy

    But but but the Democrats have 'saved or created' jobs and pushed unemployment to 10.2.

    November 20, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. New Yorker

    When will the American people wake up and smell the reality – President Obama (though he thinks he is doing the right thing) seems to have one main goal and that is to put the U.S. in it's place... and that is NOT at the top but somewhere alongside third world countries or maybe a bit lower.

    November 20, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    George Bush and the neo-cons did a pretty good job of starting the recession, but Obama has wasted vastly more money over the last ten months than Bush did in the prior four years–it's definitely Obama's recession now. Add to that his insistence on addressing the recession with the long-debunked, but ever the Democrat's favourite, tax-and-spend, Keynesian approach, and people are right in shifting the blame to the Democrats.

    November 20, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Tom B

    Key words – the numbers of Americans EXCLUSIVELY holdng the GOP responsible for the recession has been falling. Well duh....

    November 20, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. GenXer

    This poll shouldn't have been evaluated based on party lines, but rather along generational lines.

    While the Bush administration's asleep at the wheel approach to the economy certainly led us down this path, the real culprit for this mess is the baby boomer generation. From day one this generation did nothing but take for themselves, leaving little to nothing for future generations. Mine and future generations have now been left with mountains of debt, oceans that have been treated like toilets, air pollution, deforestation, extinction, not to mention a powder keg waiting to go off at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. This "greediest generation", who only lived for today, and didn't plan for their own futures (let alone their children's), were the driving force behind the speculative and over-leveraged behavior that caused this down turn in the first place.

    November 20, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Clint

    Pointing the finger at either political party is a waste of energy. America is no longer the industrial giant that exported quality goods to the world with blue collar jobs to support a healthy middle class. Those jobs are now in China, the rest of the Pacific rim and Mexico. Our capital goes overseas to invest in these industries which makes the investors and the foreign factory owners rich and reduces the American public to consumers who no longer have the money to spend. With the two political parties screaming nonsense at each other, who is going to get America back on the right path?

    November 20, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. JP

    There is fault by both parties. The root cause is the federal government's social engineering that required banks to make loans to people who should not have gotten them (community development reinvestment act). Then the government had Fannie May and Freddie Mac buy the loans so the banks could make more bad loans. Groups like ACORN were in the middle all this helping people get fraudulent loans, see for your self do a search on ACORN fraud NINJA loans. The liberals who brought you this banking mess now want to run health care.

    November 20, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. gt

    ya think ,,, how bout this,,, guys like ,,,sen dodd,, and rep , barney frank,,, these two are ones who started the credit mess anyway,, democrats,,,,,

    November 20, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Stupid Americans.... The recession is all the fault of Bush/Cheney and their GOP majorities in Congress that allowed the spending of TRILLIONS of dollars of the Bush Wars as well as secret government.

    Obama's administration has not been stellar yet, but let's keep the blame where it belongs: Bush/Cheney!

    November 20, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. russell

    it's amazing where you people draw these polls from , anyone that keeps up with current events and the media and has some sane thinking knows that republicans are truely responsible for this mess , but we all know that some groups of people will believe anything as long as the LIE is told enough they'll start believing it...........

    November 20, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Sgt. USMC

    27 percent of people being polled need to have a mental evaluation.

    OBAMA 2012

    November 20, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Black Viper

    A new recent Poll shows :

    58% of people think CNN/Opinion research do stupid polls for their own rating
    80% of american people have amnesia
    30% of American people are incrediblely Stupid

    November 20, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    What a wonderful world we live in both parties are responsible for the economic mess. American people the recession started at the end of President Bush last term. President Barack Obama is trying to clean up the mess he was left with. What a wonderful world we live in.

    November 20, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. victim of republican greed

    Republicans put forth no ideas, refuse to work with the democrats for the American People, and obstruct at every juncture,so Obama will meet his "Waterloo." Talk about a garlic milkshake.

    November 20, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Big John

    Who's to blame? Well let's see... President Clinton left a 10 trillion dollar surplus when he left office. pResident Bush squandered it all and left nearly the same as a DEFICIT to President Obama. Now in the 10 months he's been in office he's supposed to fix the economy that shrub took 8 years to destroy...It seems pretty obvious to me.

    November 20, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. ICARE

    Well, I didnt mean to say Hill and Bill will turn aruond by now. I meant to say they would have both full speed put on the recovery button on 200 MPH.

    With Obie, we're clocking at 100MPH and with the REPUBLI KON, stopping him, we're moving at 25 MPH. We GOT A LONG WAY TO GO!!!

    nOW, IF it was McCain, we would have been clocking at -100MPH.

    November 20, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Hugo

    Plenty enough blame to go around for both....I just can't wait until the elected elitists get a taste of unemployment themselves in 2010 and 2012. Maybe some of the patriots that run and get elected in 2010 on an Independent Common sense CENTRIST ticket can immediately enact legislative action to cut and curtail the golden government meal tickets to these prior public servants that have ALL forgotten whom they work for and done their best to deliver us in harms way! Remember when Crooks went to jail and rapists and murders got the death sentence?

    November 20, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Nellie Bly

    What people are not understanding is that the stimulus package was not to directly save or create private sector jobs but government jobs such as teachers, police officers and firefighters. In Minnesota alone, over 1200 school jobs were saved or created. I've seen private contractor road crews in MN and ND working on the interstates because the states received ARRA funds. It's slow but it is working. The stimulus package is keeping thousands of people employed and in turn, they'll be spending.

    November 20, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Fed Up

    Uh oh. Someone's in trouble.

    November 20, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Rob

    Well it should, its time to stop blaming everything on the old administration. The stimulus hasn't done a thing to help this country

    November 20, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. conservativeTEXAN

    i have to be honest, WE messed this one up......8 years of Bush Jr. did this to the economy.....the American people are into name brands Bush and now Palin.......neither could help the economy any more than President Obama. the economy should be our main focus since so many peolpe are in crisis and then maybe healthcare reform. crime is increasing tremendously, not only because of the approaching holidays.

    November 20, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. Democrat No More

    The Democrats have been in control of Congress since 2006. Legislation is written there, bottom line. Too bad Dodd, Frank, Obama, and the liberals blocked tightening of the regulations to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Bush tried to do. They received the most in campaign contributions from them. This could have stopped the sub-prime mess. Too bad ex-Clinton administration officials, and including Rahm Emanuel, took high paying jobs at those two institutions and sucked the tax-payers dry. Too bad ACORN had a seat at the table, forcing banks to allow people who couldn't afford a mortgage to get away without paying PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), that would have reduced the lender's losses. Letting Insurance Companies, Investment Banking Firms, Tax Preparer Service Companies, General Motors, etc. to get into the mortgage industry diluted the specialization of the trade. The kids on Wall Street should have stayed on Sesame Street.

    November 20, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Four and The Door

    The administration and congress brought this on themselves when they passed the partisan $ 1 trillion Stimulus bill and claimed it was all about jobs, or if I can quote Speaker Pelosi," jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs...".

    Not only has that not happened, but it has gotten worse in a big way. Now of course there are huge discrepencies even with what they post on their web site to show how many jobs were created or saved.

    They pushed through the Stimulus bill with strong and essentially unanimous Republican opposition ( i.e., the party of NO ), so now the Democrats own the results.

    November 20, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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