December 8th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
8 months ago

CNN Poll: Optimism on economy fading

Washington (CNN) - Two years into the current recession, Americans don't see economic conditions getting better any time soon, and the steady growth in optimism that previous polls measured throughout the year appears to have stalled, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 34 percent of those questioned say that things are going well in the country today. That's 14 points higher than a year ago, but a dip of 3 points since November.

Full results (pdf)

"This the first time in Barack Obama's presidency that this number has gone down," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, 39 percent of the respondents say the country's still in a downturn, up 6 points from last month. Nearly half of those questioned say the economy has stabilized and a small minority, 15 percent, think the country is starting to recover.

"The recession has hit blue-collar families the hardest," Holland said. "More than half of whites who never attended college say economic conditions are still in a downturn. Most whites who attended college say things have stabilized or are starting to get better."

The poll's release comes hours before President Barack Obama delivers a major speech on the economy at the Brookings Institution, one of the oldest and most prestigious think-tanks in Washington.

It's clear why Obama is again addressing the economy: Although more U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan and the Senate is debating health care, most Americans continue to say that the economy is the most important issue for them. Four in ten say the economy is their top concern; 17 percent cited health care and 16 percent say that Afghanistan and Iraq are the country's biggest problems.

According to the poll, 84 percent of those questioned say the economy is still in a recession, with 36 percent saying it's a serious one and another 35 percent calling it a moderate one.

What about the chances of the recession turning into another Great Depression?

"Forty-three percent say that might happen in the next 12 months, slightly higher than the number who worried about a Depression a year ago," added Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 2-3, with 1,041 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percent for the overall sample.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN poll • Economy
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. vwrtb

    Its time for strong unions once again! Time for the middle class to thrive...

    December 8, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Duh! You think? We are sick of being lied to. We were told that the TARP and ARRA was about saving main street not Wall Street. But what has happened to main street, job loss, home loss, and an US Dollar that is worthless.
    While Wall Street and Corportate America, and Banking are all receiving record bonuses. The Federal reserve makes a profit.
    The State budgets are in shambles and taxes and fees are going though the roof, the federal debt is at a record of near 13 trillion dollars.
    Come 2010 Congress you are fired!
    Just vote NO to any Democrat or Republican. Both of these parties have sold the American people out over the last fifty years.

    December 8, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Bill from GA

    Blame the media for that. Fox 'News' is against anything the Dems do, CNN is against anything anybody does.

    The report quoted states that 14% more think the economy is improving compared to a year ago. However, 3% less think the economy is improving compared to last month. Which makes CNN's headline/

    Thanks, News Media, for doing your part to keep America down. Watching old movies on TCM, during times of war Hollywood and the press slanted their views in favor of America's cause. Now, it is all about profit, and bad news sells better.

    December 8, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Paul

    Economy and jobs are lookin bleak around here. Of course, I'm sitting in an area that voted George W. Bush in twice and still seems to idolize the nitwit. Therefor, around here we're reaping what we sowed. We deserve to be sitting where we are today, we opened our eyes way to late.

    December 8, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. P Adams Jr

    There's no reason for optimism, as Obama keeps rolling on for spending/spending/spending. Chee, you would think Americans don't know this means higher taxes (less disposable income) for hard working Americans. Obama needs to be impeached or he should resign immediately to spare this country total destruction of the economy now and for many years to come. It is not American that we should care about the country more than our own families' interests. We are here to care for our families first which we know if we all do that, that will care for our country by itself without Obama et al running us into the ground with governance which we don't need.

    December 8, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Carlos

    Even the lemmings are beginning to wake up now.

    December 8, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Olivia

    Ever notice that America has become the snake pit for scams. The American consumer is scammed at every turn. Sad. What has happen to America??!!??

    December 8, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    What we have seen so far is that companies have laid off as many people as they can while still being able to operate. The next unfortunate step is a large number of companies shutting down.

    Meanwhile, the Obama Administration, The House and The Senate have more important things to work on, like spending $1 trillion on health care reform. They think this is more politically important.

    December 8, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Bill NY

    Its hard to be optimistic about the economy due to the fact that we live in a country where there is a culture of corruption. Crooks are licking thier chops in anticipation of the next oppotunity to steal. Medicaid, construction, and goverment contract fraud cost more than most realize. Top that with greedy bankers(who take money from the goverment) who believe they are entitled to huge bonuses while thier clients lose everything.
    Everywhere you turn someone is waiting to rip you off, including your elected officials.

    December 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. katiec

    Of the two years of the recession, the first year nothing was done and we were told the economy was good. Mistakes, misinformation and ignoring the problems was continued until our new president was sworn into office.
    So much damage was done to our country these last eight years,
    cannot understand or accept those who think "miracles" should
    happen and put blame on President Obama that he cannot'
    fix overnight. It is time to realize and admit that it will take time to
    bring our nation back to the great country we once were.

    December 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Obama Victim

    things will improve un 2013 after this idiot is run out of office...........Brack Hussein Obama....national embarassment and one and gone

    December 8, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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