Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows
April 12th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
2 years ago

Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows

(CNN) – As the stock market continues to show record highs, the number of Americans who say things are going well in the country has reached 50% for the first time in more than six years, according to a new national survey.

But that doesn’t mean the country is entirely out of the woods yet. The CNN/ORC International poll released Friday indicates that an equal 50% say the country is in bad shape.

“The number continues an upward pattern since the summer of last year, when only 35% were optimistic about the country’s conditions,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While Wall Street shows positive growth, last month's unemployment numbers showed hiring slowed sharply in March, with the economy adding only 88,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain since last June.

The unemployment rate still slipped to 7.6%, according to a Labor Department report released last week, but that's because nearly 500,000 people dropped out of the labor market.

Nevertheless, Americans haven’t been this optimistic since January 2007, when 57% felt the country was in good shape. That quickly fell to 48% by April of that same year. For more of the next four years, the figure hovered in the 20’s and 30’s, and stayed mostly in the 30’s and 40’s last year.

Breaking down the new 50% number further, senior citizens and rural Americans are those least likely to give a thumbs-up to current conditions. Those between 18 and 34 are the most likely to be optimistic, with 60% things are going well.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: How happy are you? Add your opinion below.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (428 Responses)
  1. nhismage

    CNN, you should be ashamed of yourselves! You keep information from the people and then you lie with polls like this, deceiving the people of this country into thinking that most people are happy about Obama trashing our constitutional rights, wanting to put a cap on our retirement money and that poor excuse for healthcare, better known as Obamacare. When Obama gets his way and America becomes a socialist country, you'll probably still be reporting that things are great. I will never, ever trust you as a reputable news source again!

    April 12, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. mark ducharme

    It makes sense, now that 50% of the country is on some form of relief. LOL CNN or should I say CNN LOL.

    April 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Thank you President Obama!

    April 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Dave

    "While Wall Street shows positive growth, last month's unemployment numbers showed hiring slowed sharply in March, with the economy adding only 88,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain since last June...The unemployment rate still slipped to 7.6%, according to a Labor Department report released last week, but that's because nearly 500,000 people dropped out of the labor market." So, please explain to me why young people say that things are going well. I don't get it. No jobs are being created and people are dropping off the labor force. And, to make matters worse, young people are not finding any meaningful jobs only part-time employment with no benefits or unpaid internships. Please, explain to me how 50% of the population is optimistic about the future.

    April 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Jim

    The stock market is high now because it's on a sugar high. Ben Bernanke and the Fed are keeping interest rates extremely low so that more people will pump money into the stock market. Not necessarily a bad thing, maybe yes, maybe no, but this keeps the "savers" out of luck. Also, there's QE, Quantitative Easing, which in plain English means, printing money. Third, this is a CNN poll. What a low class news network CNN has become. Puh-lease, don't be such sheep and think that your Lord Obama is the reason for this.

    April 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Devin

    More leftist propaganda. Everything is getting worse or totally stagnant. The liberals are just happy because we are focusing on side shows such as gay rights and gun control instead of focusing on the real problem-economy and erosion of morality.

    April 12, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. mark ducharme

    ,,I,, you know what that is CNN?

    April 12, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Noway

    are you kidding me ive never seen people so depressed.Take a poll from these comments and you will see the truth

    April 12, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Oh Dear! How are the tighty righties going to spin THIS? LOL – Dominican Mama & Sniffit, pass that popcorn over here!

    April 12, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. tony

    COMPLETE LIES....the market will be back at 6500 again soon....just like the last bubble illusion

    April 12, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Llyd

    I can't believe some people in here congratulating Obama on making the Economy better!!! Really??? This article just stated that they added less jobs the past month in a year! And even admitted that the only reason the unemployment rate went down is because Half a Million People stopped looking for a job!!!! Wake up people, this country isn't getting any better. Open your Eyes.

    April 12, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Publius Novus

    the first wave of Baby Boomers is beginning to retire, thus removing themselves from the workforce. Note to conservatives, libertarians, GOPers, and other doomsayers: removing oneself from the workforce due to retirement generally is a GOOD thing. Shrinkage of the workforce due to BB retirements is also going to accelerate, because it is only the leading edge of the Boomers who have retired so far.

    April 12, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. INBREEDERS

    What a left based, put lipstick on a pig article. The economy sux, more people on food stamps than ever, the lowest participation rate of people actually working from the Carter administration, 63% of people think we are going in the wrong direction, and 500,000 people last month stopped looking for work. 16 trillion in debt (140,000 per family), and the fed printing billions per day of funny money. REALLY PEOPLE?? What would U expect from the Communist News Network.

    April 12, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. lottie

    seems the only complaints are from the repos and nothing will make them happy until they have a republican in the white house and the economy is in the toilet. Sorry guys things are improving and would move faster if we didn't have the congress od No

    April 12, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. bencoates57

    We've been through this already. Up. Down. Up Down. For 2 years. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. What's gotten better?

    April 12, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. InvisibleHand

    CNN tools – did you look at the market indices and economic feeds this morning?

    All the Obama Fanboys – the stock market is at its highest because Uncle Ben's Greenback printing presses have been working overtime. I voted for Obama, but I'm disappointed with everything he's done with regards to the economy.

    Forget the Democrat/Republican labels and think like sane, pragmatic individuals – neither party is willing to work for us.

    Time for a third party.

    I'm a Gen Y'er, and am willing to take a haircut on social security and medicare obligations. That's the only real way to fix the deficit... leverage is what brought Wall Street to its knees in '08, and leverage is what will bring down the US economy (along with the Congress).

    April 12, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. John

    Not since the Carter Administration have we seen this few jobs i.e. the American Workforce. This poll must have been take in the DC Area...

    April 12, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Bill

    This is a joke what is going good for our country lack of employment.To much spending of money and Mr Obama are gave our kids $54,000 each kid owes to the feds and only going higher.All I can say is shame on you Mr Obama and the dems.You have put us at risk of going broke.And shame on cnn for not looking at the truth of the matter.OMG !!!

    April 12, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Regularguy22

    Was the timing and web page placement of this poll meant to counteract today's release of the consumer confidence index? The Thomson Reuters &University of Michigan poll indicates that consumer sentiment has reached a nine month low. Not good news at all.

    April 12, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. DaveinIL

    Biased news reporting leads the young and liberal to believe all is well; until the next economic disaster.

    April 12, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Carmine Barone

    Its arrticles like this that lead me to believe the Liberal Media has finally won. Journalism is dead, and unbiased 'reporting' has gone the way of the Dodo. The market is up, but what about debt, both federally and individually. I have an relative who paid taxes on a gross family income last year of $300,000. He has no savings, and still has creditcard debt. He is not the exception. CNN, get back to the news and not the agenda.

    April 12, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Karen

    Withthe "elite" ,in Wash. perhaps, But, not in the REAL WORLD !

    April 12, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. korkea aika

    nhisimage is a religious reference, and the opinion in that post is yet another narrow religious point that separates us.

    April 12, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. crooket

    CNN reports are lies, pure and simple. CNN is garbage so don't read it. Write to CNN and tell them what a low life network it is. Take action and let CN know the public is not buying their BS any longer.

    April 12, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Grampa

    My Gosh, this must be annoying to all of the Obama haters who want desperately to believe they're in the majority. and the country's circling the toilet. Just might be the country's coming back fine from the Bush nightmare and they're the ones circling the toilet. Yep, mighty annoying.

    April 12, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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