Pessimism overflowing in new poll
July 25th, 2011
01:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Pessimism overflowing in new poll

(CNN) - While most Americans are feeling a fiscal pinch, a new poll reveals a stunning amount of pessimism over the long-term outlook of the nation's economy.

According to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday, 84 percent of Americans feel the economy is in poor shape. While some expect economic conditions to improve, a majority-59 percent-believes the economy will still be in poor shape one year from now. It's the first time in the 14 years that CNN has asked the question that a majority has been pessimistic about the country's economic future.

Full results after the jump:

"That's a very significant, and very discouraging change in public attitudes toward the economy," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "It's unclear what caused this newfound pessimism. The length of the current economic downturn and concerns over the chances that the debt ceiling will go unresolved are probably contributing factors."

Full results [pdf]

Economic pessimism has hurt the re-election chances of some previous incumbents who presided over tough times. But that's not a guarantee that Obama will lose the general election next November. Despite the fact that Obama has been in the White House for nearly two and a half years, 57% of all Americans say they think that George W. Bush and the Republicans are more responsible than Obama and the Democrats for the country's current economic problems.

But when pollsters removed President Bush's name from the question, blame was spread evenly between the parties, with 38 percent blaming Democrats, 35 percent blaming Republicans and 22 percent blaming politicians on both sides of the aisle.

"That finding suggests that the Democrats need to pin the blame on George W. Bush, not the Republican party in general," says Holland. "Expect to hear Bush's name a lot in campaign ads next year."

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on July 18-20, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • Economy
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Martha

    Why is the amount of pessimism among Americans stunning? What is happening now that encourages an optimistic outlook? I have already resigned myself to two facts: that I will drop dead at my desk (since I will be unable to ever afford to retire); and, my grandchildren will never experience the quality of American life their grandparents and parents once enjoyed.

    July 25, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. MTATL

    I am not at all pessimistic about the economy improving. I think of this recession as an infection and America and our economy as the body and spending is the penicillin. If we spend than we are giving our self’s a shot of penicillin and we will get better. If we don’t spend then we are withholding the penicillin and the infection will gets worse and worse. So go buy that TV or that new car, of course pay your mortgage and light bills first and for goodness sake DON'T BE SCARED . I was unemployed for 6 month last year, almost lost my home and my car. Now I buy whatever I want as long as I don’t have to pull it from my 401K or from my savings. The economy would have improved a lot more if Republican Governors would have take stimulus money. Here in Georgia the governor at the time refused the money for education and then turned around and fired educators because they didn’t have the money in the budget to pay them. How stupid was that?

    July 25, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. New Yorker

    Hope and change really helped. We went further down.

    July 25, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. John Herzog

    Don't mean to upset your pessimism, but there are a lot of "cloud busters" on the horizon.....among them,
    ...since Obama came into office a 7 trillion $ increase in value projects to 1 trillion in additional revenue from capital gains taxes
    ...corporate profits are at an ALL TIME HIGH, portending more tax revenues next year
    ...New generic drugs will replace Lipitor & Plavix this year...about 20% overall reduction in Medicare Part D drug costs soon.
    ...The unemployment/recession bounceback will only fully take place when real estate bounces back, which absolutely will happen in 12-24 months, as we wind our way through the remaining foreclosures & short sales..the real estate upturn included "false demand", overbuilding, and excess profitability which is being "wrung out" in 2011-2012.
    ...This is the first time entitlements have been seriously addressed since the Clinton presidency..Debt will grow slower until the next boom hits in 2012-2013.
    ...Obama's "moderate" stance on economics may upset the far left, but the economic recovery will be more robust .
    In my mind one of the best presidents in the last 100 years right up there with FDR, Reagan, Kennedy & Truman.

    July 25, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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