90 percent of Americans say economy stinks
September 30th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
3 years ago

90 percent of Americans say economy stinks

New York (CNNMoney) – Three years after a financial crisis pushed the country deep into recession, an overwhelming number of Americans - 90% - say that economic conditions remain poor.

The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama's presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.

Full results (pdf)

The persistent pessimism indicates that Americans are feeling a level of hardship in line with the official statistics. Unemployment stands at 9.1%, economic growth is barely above stall speed, and the housing market remains tied in knots.

For a White House now fully engaged in re-election efforts, there is one shred of good news: More than two and half years after inauguration day, Americans are still more likely to blame former President George W. Bush for current economic conditions.

Asked which administration is to blame, 52% of Americans blame the previous Republican regime, while only 32% point a finger at Obama and Democrats.

While there is widespread consensus that the economy is in rough shape, Americans have a split opinion of two of its biggest actors: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Bernanke - who leads monetary policy for the world's largest economy - is relatively unknown. Only 42% of Americans have an opinion of the Fed chief. Meanwhile, those with an opinion are roughly split between positive and negative views.

Republicans are less enthused with the Fed chairman than Democrats. Only 25% have a favorable opinion of Bernanke - a Republican who was appointed by George W. Bush and reappointed by Obama.

Both Bernanke and the Fed have become targets for criticism by the 2012 Republican presidential candidates, particularly Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Buffett, meanwhile, is more well known and more popular. Forty-three percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Berkshire Hathaway chairman, while 33% are unsure and 24% hold an unfavorable opinion.

Buffett has been more outspoken in his support of Obama in recent months - even holding a fundraiser in Manhattan. As with Bernanke, Buffett enjoys a higher favorable rating with Democrats - 47% of whom approve, while only 36% of Republicans give the same answer.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from September 23-25, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Economy • Polls
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Little Jimmy Truth

    That's Obama's job, not Bush's. Bush is retired. Obama fails to fix it.

    September 30, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  2. Name king

    These pesimistic people are destroying the America. Economy by not supporting this president and keep giving the repugs confidence to oppose anything this president want to do to improve our economy. They need to understand that we are living in a global society now, and we are grossly under dogged where the markets are concerned. Big corporations want to cut cost and save their share holders money. They fare way better to hire foreigners with higher education, with a way lower labor cost. The middle class in America is on life support if the government is taken from the equation.

    September 30, 2011 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  3. John, PA

    The historic election of Obama has lead to historic hard times for the American public.

    The historic election of Obama has lead to historic hard times for the American public.
    Unemployment increase of 50 % since 2007, home foreclosures rise by 75 percent since 2007, price of gasoline, increase of 50 % since 2008 , home sales have fallen in four of the past five years, the worst showing in 13 years, the Down Grade of Americas Credit Rating for the first time, Poverty in America Hits 52-year High as Economy Worsens,
    44 Million Americans On Food Stamps, increase of 74 percent since 2007.

    September 30, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  4. don

    And it will continue to stink until Congress decides to do something about it, like pass the jobs bill and get some people back to work.

    September 30, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  5. Mike

    Yes, the economy stinks. Congradulations Tea Party....Mission Accomplished!

    September 30, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  6. Anthony

    And it is going to stay that way because Republicans have decided that the best strategy for winning back the White House is to block everything. Of course, the Bush tax cuts will expire at the end of 2012 if Republicans succeed in blocking everything, because the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at that time. According to a CBO report released in June, the deficit will disappear on its own if Congress will just do nothing from then on (which means keeping Obama's health care program, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and not passing more doc fixes). Repealing Obama's health care program will not help because that also repeals the revenue that the program will raise. A repeal will increase the deficit, according to the CBO, presumably because the projected revenue from the program exceeds its spending. Maybe this is Obama's strategy: getting Republicans to block everything so that we can get the budget-busting Bush tax cuts off the book.

    September 30, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  7. FedUp

    I don't know why people continue to believe this. All they have to do is listen to Obama and the media. Everything is fine. It's getting better. People who don't have a job just don't want to work. Looks like the American people are smarter than the President and the media.

    September 30, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  8. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The problem is that most Americans refuse to accept the horror of what the US has become: a plutocratic kleptocracy that fights strongly to maintain the illusion that (a) our economy works for the betterment of all and (b) that their is something "exceptional" about our sick and twisted version of capitalism. The sad truth, and the unacknowledged horror, is that instead we have a rigged system designed to screw the poor, the elderly, the working class and the environment in furtherance of an insane death-cult of corrupt corporatism. Caring only for the greedy and not the needy is not the basis for a viable economic system or a viable political party.

    September 30, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Asked which administration is to blame, 52% of Americans blame the previous Republican regime, while only 32% point a finger at Obama and Democrats.
    -------------
    Someone conduct a poll asking who's to blame for our *continued* weak economy. Who is most responsible for fixing, Congress or the President? Etc.

    September 30, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  10. GI Joe

    Obama has tried - he is blocked at every turn by a Congress that WANTS him (and the country) to FAIL so they can get total control.

    Vote the obstructionists out n 2012. Compromise is NOT a nasty word. Republican IS a nasty word.

    September 30, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. Ed

    Democrats are funny. They are kind of like the old Southern Slave owners. They want to make a large part of the population completely dependent on them. They want their subjects to depend on them to provide their health care, their sustenance through food stamps, basic shelter and whatever other basic needs they can think of to keep them happy and loyal. Leftie Democrats are such fools. I think your loyal subjects are starting to wake up and smell the coffee. There is another emancipation looming. Hopefully, like the leaves of fall, you'll all soon be nothing but a memory.

    September 30, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. diridi

    stop blaming and staying in dark, and past, just do some thing for future. OK, Banks are robbing, it needs to fix, Banks want to charge for Debit Card Transaction, and Protection, etc, Watch out, this Wells Fargo...etc, B of A, etc,, Fix, o.k, Bring Manufacturing back, Oil Down, Energy Efficiency needed, do these, and talk...

    September 30, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  13. Tired of the nonsense

    Bush got us in this mess.
    Obama is trying to fix it.
    The GOP are trying to keep this country in the pits.
    Get rid of the GOP and let the president do his job.

    September 30, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. Donkey Party

    The economy was trending in the right direction, right up until stupid Americans put the GOP-baggers in control of the house. That fact is clear as day, no denying it.

    September 30, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    John wrote:
    The historic election of Obama has lead to historic hard times for the American public.
    Unemployment increase of 50 % since 2007, home foreclosures rise by 75 percent since 2007, price of gasoline, increase of 50 % since 2008 , home sales have fallen in four of the past five years, the worst showing in 13 years, the Down Grade of Americas Credit Rating for the first time, Poverty in America Hits 52-year High as Economy Worsens,
    44 Million Americans On Food Stamps, increase of 74 percent since 2007.
    -------------
    -Unemployment was 7.8% when Obama was sworn in. It is less than 1.5% higher today.
    -Again, Obama took the oath in 2009. It's a pre-existing condition.
    -We had $4.50 gas 6 months before Obama was sworn in. It fell as a result of the global financial crisis. Demand dropped, while production didn't. Classic supply and demand controlled the price because most of the Wall St speculators were either out of work or being closely watched. Current prices reflect a recovering global economy. Spin again.
    -Home sales have been falling since 2006. Selling prices were disconnected from actual home values. I watched prices jump 400%, to as much as 800% in some areas, between 1996 and 2006. It is called a contraction. Blame the house flippers trying to get rich quick.
    -the rating agency blamed the instransigent Congress on the downgrade. Sen. McConnell said "hostage taking is a weapon we will have to wield use again." We were down graded the next day, just in case you didn't notice.
    -I am surprised to hear you mention the poverty crisis. Many of those families used to be middle class, and they're out of work. This is the half of America that pays no federal income taxes.

    September 30, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. Squigman

    The remaining 10% are the ones responsible for the mess the rest of us 90% are in. The 10% group voted in the last election, and the 90% stayed home to watch the idiot box. The 10%, are highly motivated and have no problem voting their wallet and purse. The 90%, get confused by various parts of the 10%, telling them they need to pay attention to issues unrelated to their own financial well being. SSDD.

    September 30, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  17. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    my question is who are the 10% that think it's GOOD?? Must be that upper 1 or 2% that has done so well in this economy, so well that they are hoarding all their money.

    September 30, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    That means the other 10% are lying.

    September 30, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    A stinking economy AND a stinking Congress go hand in hand. Always have - always will.

    September 30, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. Hap

    Some fedup people need to turn off the faux news and open their eyes. American owned businesses are sitting on over two trillion dollars in an attempt to get rid of this President and have their way with American workers. If you are not fed up with the job creators we've given 10 years of tax breaks to your barking up the wrong tree. These people are serious about altering the american dream to their vision. Their vision, is no longer can or should you expect to a decent wage, health benefits for you and your family, and to be able to retire with dignity, that apparently is too much to ask. Especially in these tough times of record corporate profits, overseas job creation, and bare bones CEO salaries in the mid 8 figure range.

    September 30, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Malory Archer

    Actually FedUp, it's the teabags and rethugliban and their media lapdogs, faux infotainment who keep repeating the mantra that there are jobs out there and only the lazy are unemployed. President Obama is at least trying to fix things and has reached across the aisle (much to his own detriment among his supporters) only to have the rethugliban and tea baggers rip his arm off and beat him over they head with it. Looks like the American people are smarter than YOU and faux infotainment.

    September 30, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |