Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows
April 12th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
1 year 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. Bethes

    500,000 drop out of the labor force and we are overly optimistic now?

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Nik

    So young people have high unemployment, are stressed and have huge amounts of debt but they are also doing well?

    Make up your mind CNN!

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOREVER

    Main stream media propaganda at it's finest.

    As for young people, they are generally optimistic until they get out into the real world and need to pay back those student loans, car loans, rent, and whatever else they could avoid while living with their parents.

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Nic

    His first term: undo the damage done by the reps
    His second term: make real progress.
    Way to go, Obama!

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. PS Miller

    What is there NOT to be optimistic about? All these twenty-somethings appear to have clothes, a roof over their head, food, a vehicle and plenty of social interaction and entertainment. Most of them seem to treat the jobs they do have like an irritating distraction.

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Rosalynd

    I live in Memphis & I just got a job after looking for 5 years! I have to travel an hour to work for a part time position so I am spending all my money in gas! If things are getting better please let me know where is this location so I can move there!!

    April 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. Not You

    article states "Those between 18 and 34 are the most likely to be optimistic," is'nt this the group of people with some of the highest unemployment? guess things are going well if you are on unemployment, welfare, SNAP or any other Gov't handouts!!!!!!

    April 12, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. Mark

    What a sorry joke. It should say, "a poll taken within the White House" ...............

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. amac

    I laugh at the idiots that still blame bush/cheney for everything and believe obama is doing his best to help the country. If you can't see that obama is as bad/or even worse than bush/cheney then I have to say that your feeble little mind has been controlled

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. YeahRight

    The opinion of young people is meaningless. They're happy because we have a leftist government that wants to buy their votes and give them what they want by taking it from older people who have worked their whole lives to make something of themselves.

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. George

    LOL, I wonder what people look at to judge how well things are going. Housing? Jobs? Social Security? Global warming? College tuition? Crime rate? North Korea? Any of the optimists want to help me here?

    I GOT it! Obama's golf game and Michelle's vactions!

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. gemery007

    ROFL!!

    Dance Puppets – DANCE!

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. KeenObserver

    Must be all that free stuff they are getting. That and living at home with food, shelter and mommy and or daddy to wipe their collective behinds. Oh, and what mommy and daddy miss, our government will take care of.

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Yeah. Let's get rid of the stupid old republicans, and then we will just have one party who knows everything that is best for us, and then things will be cool, and everyone will take care of everyone. Yeah.... Oh I have to go now and pound more rocks and get another cup of Kool-Aid.

    April 12, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Get Real

    Hey liberals......WHERE ARE THE JOBS we were promised from $900B in stimulus spending......?

    April 12, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. j

    What poll are they taking?

    April 12, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Beth

    How young are we talking, because I am 30 and have never been more pessimistic in my life (well aside when I depressed in college). Already stuck in a dead end job, living pay check to paycheck.

    April 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. CJ

    Of course they are optimistic... the media keeps telling them they should be and young people don't know any better. We'll ask the same question in 30 years when they go to retire with the direction this country is going. The new budget proposal says the government wants to determine how much is 'enough' for us to retire on.

    Speaking as a young person... if you had asked me that question 5 years ago I would have been optimistic as well. Once I got into the real world and began paying attention to how broken our government is... I won't be fooled again.

    April 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Joseph

    College grad here. I'm filled with debt and working at Macy's on a COMMISSION ONLY basis. Where are the REAL jobs?

    April 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. really?

    Are you serious? LOLOLOLOLOL

    April 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. dorsh44

    lol yeah down to 6.7% because half a million people just quit... gave up... these polls are a joke...

    April 12, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Mr Slate

    Awesome, if everything's hunky dory, then that means we don't need to pass any more stupid laws tied to confiscating weapons and providing amnesty to foreign invaders.

    April 12, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Think 4 Yourself!

    I'm just glad Romney lost! Imagine the gloating he'd be doing taking credit for this report if he was now POTUS! And the nay-sayers here would be singing a different tune to the same music if Romney had won!

    April 12, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. Homer Simpson

    Crazy, oh so right, now, realize this is exactly what the gop wants, all your money going to the top, we are exasperating the problem. breaking up the banks MUST happenif were to make a recovery, record compensation, aand still no jobs. every factor that led us here is worse, bigger banks, less regulation, no regulation is the real truth. how do you make billions in trading, pas sec investigations for trading, turns out you never even traded, bernie showed us all how corrupt your govt. really is, nothing has changed

    April 12, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. Wheres the H a te Republicans

    Wheres the republican obstructionist stating the World is ending. Faux news and hot blonde girl... why no slurs on the commander in chief..

    Rand Paul? Mich Mc Commie? John Boehnerbrain?

    Share the luv folks..... LOL!

    OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA! :-)

    April 12, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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