CNN Economy Poll: Are you better or worse off than last year?
June 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year 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. knklhead

    So happy that Romney is not President. Imagine how he (and the wingers) would be touted better employment, housing improvements, great stock market .. Mitt, very sorry you missed this market!

    June 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. jimmorrisonmania

    I voted for the Dems in the last two elections and I kept hoping they were going to put forth infrastructure programs that would create real jobs in the US. Things have improved mildly in the economy (but not for me) and now it seems the Dems are far more interested in handing out amnesty to 11 million illegals, and starting yet another visa program bringing millions more into the US to compete for American jobs than they are at helping umeployed Americans. I think I will vote a straight Republican ticket next time.

    June 19, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. sniff

    the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming poorer.

    Manufacturing jobs are going away and have been for years. The fastest growing jobs around are all for 12$/hour or less. Most are sub $10 per hour. People can't live on that.

    I see the rich getting incredible top heavy and middle class is sliding down to a lower class.

    How can profits constantly increase without screwing the middle class? They can't.....

    June 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Best financial position yet. Bought our last house at the bottom of the market in 2009, just sold it for a $94,000 profit which I put down on a beautiful new house thanks to the low interest rates. Job is going well, but hoping sequestration doesn't affect my division. Things could obviously be better, but we're doing well. We were both laid off in 2005 when the real estate bubble burst, so we're finally back in good shape. Once something like that hits you, you learn to be extra cautious!

    June 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. pkfops

    Doing great.

    Salary up 24%; home I bought in 2010 up 20%; return rate on savings is 19%.

    You just have to know when and how to make the right moves; being educated really pays in tough times.

    June 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Arun

    Yeah, all these repubes bashing the prez would be praising the Mitt for the same results!!

    June 19, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Doug

    went from 30 per hour to 12 per hour you tell me doing the same job

    June 19, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    jimmorrisonmania

    I voted for the Dems in the last two elections and I kept hoping they were going to put forth infrastructure programs that would create real jobs in the US. Things have improved mildly in the economy (but not for me) and now it seems the Dems are far more interested in handing out amnesty to 11 million illegals, and starting yet another visa program bringing millions more into the US to compete for American jobs than they are at helping umeployed Americans. I think I will vote a straight Republican ticket next time.

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

    In other words, you weren't old enough to vote or care about what transpired prior to 2008. If you were you would know that voting for rethugs is a vote against the best interests of anyone who isn't in the top 1%.

    June 19, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Guest

    Funny that most on here complaining that the President is at fault for their not having a job are most likely the same people that voted for Romney who said that government doesn't create jobs. The Repubs mantra in 2012 was the free market creates jobs and that people had to take personal responsiblity...remember Herman Cain saying if you didn't have a job it was YOUR fault!

    June 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. jsmoulder

    The only thing doing better are the stock markets do to quantitative easing. All that money the Fed has pumped out has to go somewhere it sure is not going to help the rest of the country.

    June 19, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Much, much better!
    Thanks for asking!

    June 19, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Pete

    People here especially republicans that's it been their partys being so enthusiastic in filibustering,obstructing any jobs,infastructure bills Pres.Obama,democrates have helped in creating ,just facts republicans deny!!It's more important to keep trying in repealing the ACA bill over 38 times than do anything productive in helping America and its people to get back on their feet from the worse economic collapse since the other republicans great catastrophe in the Great Depression brought to by Hoover...Remember republicans its democrates since Roosevelt that have historicly cleaned up republicans catastrophes and its fact you keep being in denile about isn't it!!

    June 19, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Oh Well

    You are getting sleepy, pay no attention to the idiot in the White hose. Things are getting better for you and everyone in the US. Even though your country is socialist now, you still think your free. Even though you have less in the bank, you feel the economy is getting better. Even though food stamp usage is at an Historical high, the country is on the right track. Even though the workforce participation rate is at it's lowest since 1978, jobs have been created or saved. Even though Obama uses the IRS to manipulate the election, you still have a vote that counts. Even though the patriot act has been expanded, you still have privacy.
    Stay asleep America, it's better then this nightmare that is happening now and for the next 3 1/2 years.

    June 19, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Name

    Incompetence and fundamental dishonesty time FOR IMPEACHMENT

    June 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Revolution

    It's better if your a politician!

    June 19, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Lee

    Don't blame the big bad corporations with their incredible profits unless you are taking aim at the #1 most profitable corporation in the U.S. #1 with Exxon as 2nd highest in corporate profits...the U.S. Government with their peddling, forcibly so, of student loans at super inflated rates, which may double this year. Bad bad corporations!

    June 19, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. JLSeagull

    If 44% think it's bad now just wait until Obamacare gets into full swing in 2014. I will be interesting to see what the polls show next year at this time.

    June 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. SMITVICT

    Five years of Democratic control. The rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer. Thanks Obama, great job buddy.

    June 19, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. hmmm

    Funny how liberals whine and resort to name calling. Liberals are sick in the head. Trusting big government handout programs. While they hurt capitalism. Big state governors leaning to the left have hurt the economy also.

    June 19, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. hmmm

    The last 2 years of the Bush era, NANCY PELOSI AND DIRTY HARRY REID were pushing liberal lunatic policies. Nobody ever blames them for obstructionism. The economy was BETTER when Harry Reid was minority leader of the Senate. As long as Dirty Harry runs the Senate, things won't improve. You don't create jobs while kicking small businesses in the gut.Liberals want to destroy businesses and they resort to unionism, minimum wage spikes, family leave and other bleeding heart liberal though. You don't tax and spend your way to success. NO. I know the liberal media loves to cram socialism down our throats. But states that are more conservative have a better economy...i.e. Texas versus Commiefornia or Nuevo York. The GOP is treating Obama better than Harry Reid treated Bush. When Bush was president BEFORE Harry Reid, the economy was booming. It is time to examine Harry Reid's liberal Senate. Folks, the presidents are really figure heads. The real power is in Congress. I am sick of the 7.6% unemployment of the Harry Reid controlled SENATE. I will take the economy when Trent Lott ran the Senate over the Harry Reid senate.

    June 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -hmmm

    Funny how liberals whine and resort to name calling. Liberals are sick in the head. Trusting big government handout programs. While they hurt capitalism. Big state governors leaning to the left have hurt the economy also.
    ***************
    Look at the latest figures from WI, OH, PA, MI and FL, and ask how well the GOP big state governors are doing. How have they fared in terms of keeping private sector jobs, or even federal projects? Any conservative who thinks these states are succesful because of GOP leadership is delusional.

    June 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. hmmm

    The unemployment rate is one tenth of a percent lower than when Clinton defeated HW Bush in 1992. If 8 years of Harry Reid's Senate hasn't created robust job creation, why do we need more Reid? Reid just barely wins reelection even though that fossil has been in Congress since the 1980s. Explain to me how the Reid Senate has helped the US economy? They are part of the reason we have this job killing Unaffordable Care Act. They wasted money on a stimulus. If I was running the GOP Senate campaign, I would be hammering the unemployment rates under Harry Reid.

    June 19, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Selma O.

    If the GOP would quit blocking the president eveytime he tries to give us free stuff, we would all be doing better.

    June 19, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    hmmm

    Funny how liberals whine and resort to name calling. Liberals are sick in the head.

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

    Project much hmmm?

    June 19, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. tom l.

    @Dominican
    Did you know that there are less people employed today than when Obama took office? Literrally, 5 years later and fewer actual people are employed today. Thoughts?

    June 19, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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