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. naive much

    it's a fact that 50% of the public are complete idiots...proven here again. the ever rising national debt combined with the billions of funny money the federal reserve continues to print gives us reason to trust all is well...yea right. the bullish stock market will prove to be a farce. you 50% continue to stick your head in the sand, and you should be in good position to take whats coming.

    April 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. JayEll

    For those of you speaking poorly of our younger generation having some hope for their futures, shame on you. You must really want our country (and the world) to fall apart if you wish despair on our youth.

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. rs

    This reflects we are learning to live without the GOP. A good thing.

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. GatorDude

    Optimism is a choice. If you are young, it's easy to make the adjustment to a smaller apartment and a less lucrative job. It's also easier to drive a smaller car when you don't know the value of crumple space. You can also get by with public transportation, a bicycle, or a moped. The younger generation has been trained to accept that a really nice tricked out cell phone is all that you need in the world. But, when you've had better, you've enjoyed more, and you see businesses make the choice to hire non-Americans at every opportunity, it's a tough and bitter thing to make do with less. Congrats to the young! When the world is running down, make the best of what's still around!

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Scott

    CNN and Obama out of touch

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. Cynthia Woodson

    17 TRILLION IN DEBT!!!! Only the bottom feeders that (hopefully) won't reproduce, are being optimistic, because they know that they, themselves, and their family won't have to pay for ANY OF IT. Hand Outs, I think burgerking has free bathrooms you leeches.

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. EDS Home

    Aren't these the same group that rank 25th in the world in education and mostly voted for Obama. Instead of Zoolander the word Idiocracy really fits

    April 12, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. romoownssteveyoung

    Without a college degree I make 40k a year work 50 hours a week got health insurance, a new car and all I could want. I'm 27, I could careless what rednecks and old people think. That's Glenn becks target audience, get off theblaze, update your skills to meet current needs and stop hiding Obama to mask the fact that you haven't added to your skills in 30 years. From where I'm sitting under Obama the future is bright. Gobama!

    April 12, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Anonymous

    We the small business owners are ecstatic. Our world is booming again. The recovery is palpable. Thank you president Obama for turning the ship around and getting this country back on a great economic recovery.... while Europe and the rest sink into deeper turmoil We the immigrant class are rewarded for our hard work........ This is great!. To the complainers here is a suggestion........ rise early, start a business... even if it is lowly work. We are like your ancestors...we get dirt under our finger nails, our children achieve greatness in advanced education. This place is not for the faint, lazy, or the people waiting for the someone to rescue them with the perfect job....... those days are over!!

    April 12, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. RReagan

    It is unfortunate that so many people believe in socialism. Young people are ignorant of the situation.

    April 12, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. jim

    "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."

    How many people in that 500,000 are baby boomers who hit 65 and retired?

    April 12, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. James PDX

    Ah, those clever Democrats and Republicans. They have successfully devided us so much that we no longer even take notice of them feeding off of the carcass of this once great country and leaving us poor and miserable. Sorry, it appears only 1/2 of us are miserable.

    April 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Robert

    I teach at a major research university (Big 10) and talk with a number of students about the economy. Some of them are indeed finding jobs but many are not; what's interesting is that their beliefs about the economy are primarily driven by news about the stock market. They see the "all time highs" as signs that things are going well, and don't realize the primary reason it's there is because of actions by the Fed.

    Hey, if the economy truly is improving, great. If it's not...if it's only continuing to be buoyed up by Fed and other actions, then when it tanks you can expect a significant backlash...even the mainstream media (and yes, even NNC which is COMPLETELY in the tank for Obama) will ultimately be forced to talk about it.

    April 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. JV12

    Ha.. Led by young people...? Do you mean the intellectually immature who regret most of their young choices?

    April 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. Mike

    Forget the CNN poll. The actual consumer sentiment reading released today showed sentiment at a 9 year low. Great job Obama. Check the reading on any respectable news or business site.

    April 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Get Real

    Am I the only one who notices that Liberals never talk about lifting up the "poor" into another tax bracket? There solution is to steal the money from the wealthy, try to bring them down to the level of the "poor," and disperse it in the form of handouts via govt registration and record keeping. I don't want govt assistance. I want the govt to get the hell out the way so i can move up the ladder myself.

    April 12, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. James

    Since CNN is a propaganda ministry for the left, headlines like this should scare the hell out of us. In actuality, it means things are getting worse and the media is trying to sway public opinion so their socialist leaders party remain in power.

    April 12, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. Al

    In a few years those young kids that are spend happy will be filing for bankruptcy. And they will be joining an ever growing list of people that can be added to the I D I O T list.

    April 12, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Naota

    On Bush's last day in office, gas was $1.68 a gallon.

    After more than 4 years of Obama, the labor pool is the worst it's been since 1979, and gas is close to $4 a gallon.

    The poll is a lie

    April 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. cbnnexus

    Favorite comment on this article: "Wow, CNN is so in the tank for Obama. You mean a whopping 50% of kids with daddy's credit card thinks things are ok? Who care what kids think? Do they own businesses? Pay Taxes? Worried about retirement? Only the liberal true believers will sop up this drivel." Last time I checked, 18-34 year old people were not "kids". Yes, I'm thirty, and yes, I own a small business, yes I pay (lots of) taxes, and yes I have planned for retirement... and yes, I work my butt off. Keep on blaming Obama for all your economic ills while we leave you behind in our dust.

    April 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Mike

    I'm doing better than ever. The housing market is up, markets are up nearly 90% from the depth of the recession, we're getting immigration reform, background checks, etc.

    April 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Joe

    Yeah, kids today don't have much too worry about. They can stay on their parents insurance until they're 26, live @ home until they're 30, and is this only segment with disposable income. If you've noticed, almost our entire economy is geared toward them because of that. Meanwhile, Wall street surges, and main street is dying – not just in the US, but globally. Oh, and this little to do with the current Pez., its happening all over the world.

    April 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -BigObummer

    As a translation service for low information voters......the actual story is "for the past six years that Democrats have controlled congress the majority of people think things are going badly".
    *******************
    Congress is split between the 2 parties: did you miss the mid-terms 2 1/2 years ago? Or was this a mis-translation by a no-information voter?

    April 12, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Rob Jones

    Wow, proof positive that half the nation are idiots. CNN proves over and over again that it is totally in the bag for Obama–more than ever under Zucker as it turns out.

    April 12, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Larry in Houston

    something doesn't smell right – the stock market is the highest it's EVER Been .

    April 12, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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