CNN Economy Poll: Are you better or worse off than last year?
June 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 months ago

CNN Economy Poll: Are you better or worse off than last year?

Washington (CNN) - Call it a mixed bag.

They're still a minority, but an increasing number of Americans say economic conditions right now are good, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday morning also indicates that a plurality of the public says they are personally worse off than they were a year ago.

Thirty-five percent of those questioned in the poll say that economic conditions in the country right now are "very" or "somewhat" good. There has been a slow, steady rise in CNN polling on the percentage who say things are good right now, from 26% in December to 31% in March, 33% in May and 35% now.

But nearly two-thirds say they currently rate the economy as poor. And that may help explain, on a personal level, why 44% of Americans say their financial situation is worse today than it was a year ago. Thirty-six percent say they are better off and one in five say their personal finances are about the same. The numbers are little changed from a CNN poll from May of last year.

"Americans are no more positive about their own personal financial situation than they were a year ago, suggesting that American households don't necessarily see good news on Wall Street as good news for Main Street," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

How will things stand a year from now?

There are almost exactly as many optimists as pessimists in the general public, with 50% saying economic conditions will be good in the summer of 2014 and 49% forecasting a poor economy. That's about where Americans stood in 2010, and is definitely more optimistic than 2011, but appears to represent a big drop from 2012, when two-thirds said conditions would be good in a year.

"The 2012 numbers, however, were heavily influenced by the presidential election, when both Democrats and Republicans thought conditions would be better in the following year, probably because both sides thought their candidate was going to win," adds Holland. "This also happened in 2008 and appears to have happened in 2004 as well."

In non-presidential years, with a Republican in the White House, Democrats tend to be pessimists and Republicans tend to be optimists. With a Democrat in the White House, the reverse is usually true, and that pattern has reasserted itself again this year. In 2012, a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans predicted a good economy in 2013. That almost never happens except in presidential election years, leading to expectations that the optimism number would drop once it was clear who would be in the White House for the next four years.

"Sure enough, in 2013 optimism is now half of what it was among Republicans. Although economic optimism is down somewhat among Democrats and independents, the GOP change is the driving force behind a 17-point drop in the number of Americans overall who say conditions will be good a year from now," says Holland.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. Karlajustme

    We work on RV's and we have had a lot of work, our main business was construction and that one has being slow for years. But we can finally pay our bills and stay afloat. Economy I s definitely better for us in San Diego CA

    June 19, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Tim

    I became started a business in 2010 with a part-time job but now I'm fully self-employed and make way more money than I ever have. The bad economy forced me to find new ways to make money besides a 9-to-5 job so I'm grateful for the hard times. Made me think outside the box.

    June 19, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. rs

    Realy a survey of 1,014 adults nationwide? Do you understand the what the population of the United Stated consists of? This is not a statiscally significantsurvey. I wish you would stop publishing the results of insignificant surveys.
    ___________________________
    Well, yes it is. The Right needs to re-engage Science and Logic (related to your point-Mathematics). As long as the Right rather expresses the President as being some sort of Biblical evil, complete with imaginary plagues as proof on their Right-wing TV shows, I suspect they'll never understand complex data like polling results.

    June 19, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. oldpatriot

    More public opinion management from CNN, this isnt a poll stating the state of the economy its a biased poll confirming the propaganda about the economy.

    June 19, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Jake

    I work for a company that was a great employer for over thirty years. It was bought by a foreign company a couple of years ago. The new owner communicated that salaries will be adjusted so that the company could increase their profits. My last raise was just .38%! A lot of my peers didn’t get any increases. At this rate, by the time I retire, and the cost of living increases, I will be bringing home a lot less than I was hired. Starting last year the company increased the employee’s portion of health care costs by 2% and promised us that will happen every year for the next 8 to 10 years. We are told that we are lucky to have a job. Never mind the fact that most of the employee’s have college educations, worked & have years of experience in their fields and successfully interviewed for their positions. I am not better off, but my employer is.

    June 19, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. JF Spurlock

    2013:
    My annual salary is at it's lowest point in over 7 years.
    My Health insurance is the highest I have ever paid in my life
    .
    I once owned my own home and had two nice vehicles.

    Today, I am forced to live in a 400 square foot room, in a converted Motel,
    I don't even have a home phone,
    and drive a truck on which I am paying insanely high interest.
    I have no savings left, and creditors call me daily.

    Thanks to Barrack Hussein Obama

    June 19, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Guest

    Got a raise – better off than last year! The economy is getting stronger – housing on the rise, car industry booming, DOW highest in history so 401ks are growing. Thank you President Obama!

    June 19, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    morphy699

    the 44% are all Taxpayers. Obama voters are still on the take and getting their Obamaphones and FREE stuff. so they are going much better.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I'm an Obama voter. I must have been absent the day of the welcoming seminar. Can you direct me to the line where I can get my "Obamaphone" and other "FREE stuff"?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Oh yeah, and as an Obama voter, what IRS forms do I need to fill out in order to be exempt from paying taxes?

    June 19, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. nop

    AMERICAN families layoff and unable to get WELFARE CHECKS........ UNITED STATES OF DOOM....

    SOCIALISM. Rich Ghettos begging government for more money.

    June 19, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. tom l.

    @rs
    There are less people employed today then when Obama took office.

    It's so funny to hear people like you talk about "jobs bills" as if Congress can magically create jobs. Here's a news flash: the government does not create job nor does it create wealth.

    June 19, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. John Campbell

    The economy may be growing, however slightly. The real indicator is retail sales. Without demand, manufacturers won't produce, or hire. Banks are getting sweet interest deals from the Fed, while we deal with smaller packages for the same price, or higher prices overall where it counts. Food. If the basics cost more, that will mean less to spend on so called "luxury items". Wages have stagnated. The wage earner in the US has lost ground each and every year, so, I can't say the economy is better, and the stage is being set for a bigger collapse.

    June 19, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. blakenaustin

    Nothing but far left, pro-Obama spin in the interpretation of this poll. The numbers show that 8% (44% worse vs. 36% better) see things as worse. And that the same was true the year before. Things are NOT improving despite all the spin by Obama and the far left media.

    June 19, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Eric

    I found a job at one of the top software development companies throughout the entire world *BEFORE I EVEN GRADUATED WITH MY DEGREE*... Am I doing better than I was last year? Absolutely. Some people aren't doing the right thing clearly if they aren't obtaining any substantial income. Go get a 2nd job, go back to school, go get certified, find a job close to where you live, relocate for your job, you can do _A_LOT_ to improve your financial situation, but you need to be smart and disciplined.

    June 19, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. CAS

    While my pay has increased every year, the cost of gas, food, utilities and especially health care have gone up. Obamacare has done nothing to lower costs for the middle class. We have more people dependent on the government (food stamps).

    June 19, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. succulenttendrils

    Much better!!!

    June 19, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. dt

    I like how economic stability is now something based on a poll. I'll tell you the truth... It's worse. The debt is still climbing and the wealth gap is increasing. This economy boost is brought on by financing through debt. The money will find its way up to the top, and park there. Then we will have another recession that will probably be irreparable. All in the name of protecting the "job creators". And you all have bought it hook, line, sinker.

    June 19, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Anonymous

    @Furby

    Also, for those of you who think the economy is worse of – try and separate your life from the economy. You may have lost your job, but that doesn't mean the economy sucks, it just meant you lost your job. It may have nothing to do with the economy (even if it was downsizing).
    -------------
    The question is: Are YOU bettter off? People can only answer based upon THEIR experience. There is no right or wrong answer. It is personal experience. If someone has lost their job, they would be worse off! How is someone going to seperate their life from the economy?

    June 19, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Data Driven

    May I gently recommend to all of you here complaining about your lives that you stop blogging here all day and go do something that will improve your lot in life? Because griping here will not change your situation.

    June 19, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. Me

    Malory Archer

    Patrice Ferris

    Realy a survey of 1,014 adults nationwide? Do you understand the what the population of the United Stated consists of? This is not a statiscally significantsurvey. I wish you would stop publishing the results of insignificant surveys.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In other words, the facts don't fit your narrative so the results are insignificant.

    My family is a bit better off. Both my husband and I managed to hold onto our jobs, and we both received a small increase. Granted, our property insurance and electricity bills have increased, but those increases can be laid directly at the feet of our illustrious governor who does his best to stick it to Floridians while feathering the nests of Conglomo, Inc.
    ___________________________________

    Malory, if you had any knowledge of statistics, you would understand the FACT that it is not statistically valid sample. YOU are the one stating an opinion!!! If you want a poll to have any meaning or significance, you must take a statistically valid sample otherwise the poll is meaningless and worthless. (and yes I am a data analyst)

    June 19, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. M.E.

    I own investments which has made me a bit better off, depending on the day. If I didn't have that I'd say there's been no change for me personally. Overall I'd say what's good for Wall St. is good for Main St. if Main St. happens to own any investments. If you own any sort of account more interesting than a checking account, there's a fair chance you're at least not losing money.

    June 19, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. BetterOff

    I'm better off now because of the work I've done MYSELF! I'm 26 years old, I'm educated, work very hard and have been promoted twice in less than three years because of no one else but me. It has NOTHING to do with Bush/Obama – Republican/Democrat... You are responsible for creating your own reality.

    June 19, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. hillbillynwv

    Twenty-one years ago when I married my wife our cable bill was $15/month. Now, it's $75/month. Our incomes haven't quintupled in 21 years!

    June 19, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    JF Spurlock

    2013:
    My annual salary is at it's lowest point in over 7 years.
    My Health insurance is the highest I have ever paid in my life
    .
    I once owned my own home and had two nice vehicles.

    Today, I am forced to live in a 400 square foot room, in a converted Motel,
    I don't even have a home phone,
    and drive a truck on which I am paying insanely high interest.
    I have no savings left, and creditors call me daily.

    Thanks to Barrack Hussein Obama

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    President Obama took you job? Stole your house and life savings? Got you into extreme debt, then reposessed your cars and forced you to pay exorbitant interest rates? Wow. Just... wow.

    June 19, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Bill

    Let's see...taxes have gone up; costs have gone up; salary was reduced 10% in 2009; one 2% increase in 2011; and 401K has finally returned to 2008 level. Looking at this realistically rather than with rose colored glasses, I'm far worse off than anytime since 2008.

    June 19, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. rob

    Once again CNN's political Unit puts a ridiculous spin on BAD NEWS for the Dems and in particular President Obama.

    June 19, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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