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. Greg K., PA

    Most economic indicators are positive and unemployment is a lagging indicator, which means it's going to take a while for it to reflect Democratic programs. It's looking like unemployment should be back on the up and up early next year. By Election Day 2010, I'm thinking we'll see a much healthier economy and that's probably bad news for Republican candidates.

    November 20, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Lucullus

    Proving once again just how stupid the American people are. Have they forgotten that for in the last 30 years we've had 22 years of Republican Presidents, all of whom ruined the economy. From 1994 to 2006 the Republicans controlled both houses of congress and for 6 of those years the Dim Son Court Appointed Boy President was in charge. These people have destroyed this country. The Democrats do share some of the blame for being a bunch of spineless wienies and not standing up to them but anyone who things that the Democrats are responsible for this mess is a moron . . . or a moran as the teabaggers like to say. God help America with a citizenery as informed as ours.

    November 20, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. LIP

    It always takes a while for the truth to emerge. Political analysts said a long time ago that Bush's favorables would improve with time and they have. Remember when President Obama and the Democrats insisted that Bush release the Tarp funds before he left office. This was done so blame could be attached to Bush.

    November 20, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. conservativeTEXAN

    you know it is nice to have a seat at the table but when it get to the point you have to decide what bill you are going to skip this month you know something is wrong....and that did not happen just this year, that happened last year and the year before and so on.....AMERICAN people do the math.....it adds up to Bush, hello GOP. not in denial, we did this. now we are going to have to regroup and come strong in 2012.

    November 20, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. seebofubar

    It was inevitable that people would start to see the truth. The colapse of the financial institutions and housing market was due only to the democratic party putting pressure on lending institutions to lend to lend to individuals who would normaly not qualify. This started with the Clinton administration. Unfortunately Bush did not have sense to put a stop to it. Only the liberal democrats are responsible for this economic disaster.

    November 20, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Chicago Mob

    So they're figuring it out. All you have to do is look at the stimulus bill to see it was never intended to improve the economy, just political payback. The dems want our economy to decend to the level of Afganistan's in the name of social justice. The people that will suffer the most are the poor and minorities.

    November 20, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Dave in Wisconsin

    I lost my job under a Dem President, a Dem Congress in a state that has a Dem. Governor and a Dem. controlled Legislature.

    The tax and tax and tax and spend, spend, spend policies are killing the economic engine in this country.

    We spend nearly $1T for job creation, unemployment explodes and now they want more money for a "jobs bill".

    I wanna waterboard every darn one of them.

    November 20, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Independant Vet

    His stimulus of going green for the state of Texas Wind Farm, 1.5 Billion , Gives them 30 permanent Jobs, But gives China 2000 Jobs MFG> Turbines .

    So where are your Tax Dollars going .

    And the Taxpayers are to approve this . While looseing there jobs , and going to be taxed more an more .While Obama is out photo shooting ,

    November 20, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    The blame lies 75% Dem and 25%Rep. The root of the evil lies in all the social engineering schemes dreamed up and overseen by the democrats through the ages. This current economic situation has taken decades to ferment.

    November 20, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Jack in Florida

    Anyone who blames the current administration for the economic crisis are idiots. After 8 years of the Bush/Cheney spending, that was rarely questioned, here we are cleaning up their mess. DON'T EVER FORGET HOW WE GOT HERE!!!!!

    I feel the current administration is doing a remarkable job of "multi tasking", trying to fix the mess we are in. We did not get into this mess in 1 yr and we will not get out of it in a year either......patience is a virtue and I believe this administration will turn this country around and we will be better off because of their hard work!!

    November 20, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Mark

    First of all Clinton signed off on most of the deregulation. Second there was a democrat controlled congress in place while all this was going on. Why didn't they say something??

    All in all I don't blame either party. Its People wanting more than they can afford and banks not doing their proper screening.

    November 20, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. montag24

    Both parties are completely controlled by the big corporations and both parties are responsible for this mess.

    November 20, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Scott

    You can't blame the recession itself on the Democrats. This has been a long time coming and relief doesn't come over night or even one year. Everyone needs to realize just how deep the creek we're all up actually is.

    November 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. David

    In a similar poll, 98% of Americans expect instant gratification for everything. Duh.

    November 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Carlos

    Just wait untill the numbers come out in about 2010, these would look good to them.

    November 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. chris case in texas

    Plueaseeeee! It did'nt take George Bush eight years to take this country on a path of destruction. He pretty much did it in two years. Spent the surplus and threw us into a illegal war where we spent billions of dollars destroying a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. We got nothing for the bucks that he spent, other than deaths of our great boys and girls who serve our country. How many Iraqi men, women and children lost their lives or were displaced by this insane war? Does anyone out there believe that one life is worth all the money spent on this crazy war ? I do. I cry for all the lives lost to this venture of Bush and Cheney. It will take the Democrats and President Obama another eight years to get this country back on track. This is not a 30 minute sit-com. It's real life.

    November 20, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. chubby

    This is nobamas and the democrats fiscal mess due to their uncontrolled tax and spend attitude. You can no longer blame it on the past administration unless you are either stupid or not paying attention.

    November 20, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. B

    If you look at the facts, things plummeted under the Bush administration and leveled off under Obama. These facts cannot be disputed. People are just stupid and think whoever is leading at that very moment is responsible for everything that has ever happened.

    November 20, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Fnord-a-saurus Rex

    Maybe people are realizing that there is not much of a difference between either party. The GOP will try and spin this, like they have started some big movement. They haven't. People need to learn some patience. You cannot fix everything overnight, in a year, or even 4 years. Everybody is so conditioned to want everything right now. Real life does not work like a microwave dinner or movies on demand. More importantly, to fix this is going to require (gasp) effort on the part of the public. It's time to start being part of the solution or shut up. As much as I disagree with the Tea Party movement, I at least respect the fact that they are trying to get thier voices heard. Now if we can get the intellectuals of our country to step up and do something. If the only voices out there are from morons, we will get a moronic result.

    November 20, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Lee Bartholomew

    Oh for the uninformed. For the most part it would take until next tax time for anything to change. We're still working on Bush's fallout. It'll take forever to fix. Albeit, the incumbents aren't exactly doing themselves any favors.

    November 20, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling

    what kind of twisted question on a poll and completely out of reason interpretation for the result has led to this conclusion

    8 years of abuse to the American people is the one and only reason we are in the mess we are in

    down with the GOP

    November 20, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Absolutists must prevail!

    Well, PR works when truth won't.

    I just can't see how the GOP is working for the good of the country over the good of the party.

    November 20, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Alex

    Both paries share the blame. There's no real news here because it was known a year ago that eventually this would become Obama's recession. The fact his plans haven't worked as well as hoped is more a sign of how deep the recession was established before he was elected than anything else ... but both parties are still to blame. Advantage: no one.

    November 20, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. big deal

    its bush's fault, dont you know? lol.

    you liberal dufus's, all your "plans" are just thories and ideas. that is the great scam of liberalism, your junk doesnt work, only on paper, in thoery, not in reality.

    we are going to fix it, by "we" i mean the hard working people who play by the rules. the rest of you are in big fat trouble....

    November 20, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Just Biding My Time

    Well, well, well. Looks like the sheep are starting to wake up and realize that all the problems actually originated with the Dumb-o-craps.

    November 20, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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