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. OhioRob

    Wait i thought we were doomed because of the sequester. Could it be that cuts help the economy? Im having a full mental breakdown on this one

    June 19, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  2. mittens

    I have a full time job now, last year I was working part-time. I Romney was president I wouldn’t have any job and he would be getting bigger tax breaks. How many CNN people are better off this year than last?

    June 19, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  3. smv55

    bulletin–a growing number of Americans have been found to be so stupid that they don't even know their own names, just their user id's.

    June 19, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  4. cj

    The question asked time and time again is 'what can the gov do bout this'.

    Making domestic manufacturing more attractive for domestically sold goods through the tax code is the only quick answer.

    June 19, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  5. mittens

    A mixed bag of people employed is better than none.. Are you hiring Cnn?

    June 19, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  6. cheeseroll

    About 2% of Americans will be rating their economic outlook as VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD.

    Yup, since they are the ones who got away with tax breaks, super-scale salaries for incompetent management, and could maybe even afford a new private jet or yacht (probably both).

    June 19, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  7. Chedar

    Depends on who is looking at the economy. If you ask the Walstreet, they will say economy is doing well but if you ask the Main Street, they'll say they all are doing bad

    June 19, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  8. mdcambridge

    Some presidents names will bring up singular memories:
    Nixon: Watergate
    Clinton: Lewinsky

    Benghazi: Politicized event, no effect on Obama
    IRS: No smoking gun, little or no effect on Obama
    NSA and the 4th Amendment: Obama will underestimate the American people's resolve for Liberty over Security

    June 19, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  9. Glenn

    What a misleading ticker. When 2/3rds of the respondents say the economy is poor, the consensus is just that; it stinks.

    June 19, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  10. Scoff

    I am not one of them that thinks its good.

    June 19, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  11. runymede

    No, I am not better off than a year ago because prices are going up. And my financial situation will be even worse when Obamacare begins in '14 causing my health insurance premium to sky rocket higher than ever before.

    June 19, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  12. I belong to no party

    no buy no means haven't sorked since obama has been in office

    June 19, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. Byrd

    The Battle of Wall Street happened between 2006-2009 and the American People lost. And you in the Press didn't even report that we were under attack until we'd already lost. Thanks for nothing, Press. I know who's side you're really on and it sure ain't mine.

    June 19, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  14. Robert

    Making 40K more now then I was under JUNIOR, yeah I'd say I'm better off!!

    June 19, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  15. Chedar

    Depends on who is looking at the economy. If you ask the Walstreet, they will say economy is doing well but if you ask the Main Street, they'll say they all are doing bad.

    June 19, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  16. NoCommentCNN

    Congress and the Federal reserve bank continues with a policy of free money for Wall Street but on main street its suop lines and NO Jobs ! Global Corporations have more rights than the People. Our Elected representatives feel they need to spy on the people. The Constitution is no longer supported by our Government or the Supreme Court. The Two major parties think they are our Rules. The American people do not need to be rule over, we only ask for fair and honest representation of our Rights set by the Founding fathers to live our lives without Government interference.

    June 19, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  17. LORD BARRINGTON

    YES, by far........

    June 19, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  18. Patch

    If you invested money when you should have, you would be better off right now. If you sat at home complaining about your life and the president, pretty sure you're no better off.

    June 19, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  19. M&M

    Only the fat pigs at Wall Street are better off. Beginning this year, part time employees such as yours truly lost income the ability to work past 25 hours per week because of ObamaCare. Beginning next year, uninsured individuals such as yours truly, will have to buy sky-high health insurance (with lower incomes I mind you) because of... you guessed it – ObamaCare. Way to go liberals – always helping the working class

    June 19, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  20. Rick

    This economy is great if you want part time or low wage jobs. I don't see how it will ever get back.

    June 19, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  21. MrRickinNH

    Same old story... the wall st. bankers get rich and the middle class stays the same. Average CEO salary up 85% since 1985 and working class up 5%. And this is called by some fair! We all work to take care of the 1%!

    June 19, 2013 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  22. hender1123

    Better off? Working 2 jobs for less money and no benefits. Health insurance costing almost double now with higher copay's, lower limits and no drug coverage. And I received notice from Aetna that they are leaving California and my policy is being cancelled. The value of my house crashed while taxes and homeowner's insurance went up. Gasoline 4 dollars a gallon and he auto insurance went up. Food costs more. My retirement package is in the dumps. People around me on welfare and food stamps are bragging about how they are gaming the system. A Mexican that spoke no English, with no license, no insurance and no registration ran my wife through a guard rail on the freeway and left the scene and the police did nothing. The officer said he called ICE and there was no response so he had no authority to hold the driver. And on top of all this while the government is completely dysfunctional and all tied up in scandal after scandal I read that our President is going on vacation to Africa that will cost between 60-100 million dollars. Am I better off. I'm to busy trying to survive to be bothered with stupid questions.

    June 19, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  23. DeanO

    As a Govt employee 5 yrs from retirement I am WORST off. No raise in 3 years and taxes fees and bills go up up up. No end in sight. Had this been my mid year point of career I would have left in a heartbeat. Now stuck for 5 yrs. This Economy is horrible.

    June 19, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  24. predictor

    Main street may not celebrate when Wall Street does well because so many people fled the market during the recession. Participation in the markets is at a low, and it's unclear when those folks might return (if ever).

    June 19, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  25. Brian H

    I work in the landscape construction field doing new patios and lawn installations. Work has definately picked up for us this year compared to last year. Things are getting better here in New Hampshire.

    June 19, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
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