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. P

    Better off....what a joke! nothing has gotten better, i argue that its only gotten worse. We are losing hours as a work force so that the "Affordable Care Act" has no impact do to its absorbent cost to everyone. With full-time employment being more than 30 hours, many are seing their hours cut to under that, underemployment. What will we all do when we dont have employer provided insurance and the government plans are not obtainable....doctors unavailable for patients because so many have left the profession the shortage is causing backups, increases in Urgent Cares due to corporations take over of our medical care....makes me sick :)

    June 19, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  2. TommytheT

    wow so 1/3 says getting better and 2/3 say not good. And more say they are worst this year than last year? Yet the headlines in the press today all about how the public says the economy is improving? Really, does not take long to actually read the report and find out it still stinks.

    June 19, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  3. leigh

    In our neighborhood, those who lost jobs have gotten new ones, but not necessarily at the same pay grade. In our home, we are not struggling to pay our bills, but we definitely do not have the discretionary income we had before. Everything is going up – food, taxes, heating and cooling, trash collection, clothing, etc.

    One thing that is obvious in our area – those with higher education have made out much better. Friends and neighbors without a college education, with the exception of those in union trades, are struggling to find decent jobs.

    June 19, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  4. The Truth Speaks

    Of course hubby and are very much better off under our wonderful president than we would had ever been had that vulture capitalist someway, somehow snuck into our White House. I give you Exhibit 1: The doubling of the stock market since we ejected blunder. Any additional wonderfully bright questions?

    June 19, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  5. opinion8it

    Stop it with the useless "CNN/ORC International surveys", you've been referring to them all week and they are contrary Nationally recognized surveys.

    June 19, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  6. Dude

    I use to work for BofA. As a direct result of the 2008 crash, I along with about 30,000 others lost their job. Now I work for a much smaller company, but still within my field of merchant credit card processing. I make 14k more a year. Although the benefits at the bank were good, my current benefits stack up rather nicely. Onsite daycare. A gym that would put most YMCA's to shame and we even have a masseuse that comes in once a week.

    Yeah, I'd say thing's have shaped up for me rather well. I feel very fortunate.

    June 19, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    That FISKER & SOLYNDRA stock is AWESOME !!!

    PUBLIC UNIONS FOREVER
    That will fix the economy !!!
    TRUST "ME"

    June 19, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. Ho Hum

    Don't be fooled. Nothing is getting better for the people. Just the ultra-rich. That is the plan. In fact nothing seems to change and things are getting slowly worse. It has been like that for at least 13 years or so. Lose a job now and you are done for.

    June 19, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  9. woodie

    To me the real test is how well young people are doing. Unemployment is still in the teens and twenty percentile and pay scales have slide off into ridiculous.

    June 19, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  10. tayllor1234

    The alleged economy coming back actually does not reflect well and historically this president will be viewed as one of the worst economic, putting aside his horrendous handling of foreign affairs, presidents of all time. Every post depression recession has had a corresponding recovery in equal strength to the recession except this time. The difference are Obama's policies which have been a constant drag on the economy. It's the longest prolonged rate of high unemployment in recent history and it's even worse if you look at the labor force participation rate. We've had virtually no growth in 4 years, record amount of debt added and unprecedented action by the federal reserve pumping $85 billion a month into the economy with it's quantitative easing scheme. Surely the economy should be way better than 7.8% unemployment, 0 to 2% growth.

    June 19, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  11. Sky Corgan

    The income disparity between the haves and the have nots continues to increase. Manufacturing continues to decline, and the middle class is being decimated. Meanwhile, the CFPB continues to be hamstrung by a GOP led house intent on maintaining the status quo for Wall Street as they use the stock market and the middle class 401k as their own personal sloit machine.

    June 19, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  12. agonzales

    Yes, my family is better off. We can finally afford a vehicle payment. We are picking our new car up TODAY!

    June 19, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  13. lgccac

    Anyone who says they are better off financially now than last year is either delusional or on welfare.

    June 19, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  14. clarke

    CNN, you must of surveyed only the rich!

    June 19, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. Peoples State of Illinois

    No. I've always done better when republicans were in the whitehouse.

    June 19, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  16. Ono

    No, my family is not better off.

    June 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  17. HEYDUDE

    Does it matter what we "think" is going on as opposed to what is actually happening?

    June 19, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  18. End The Party

    Our Government has forgotten all about "We the People" ! They with the help of the Federal Reserve bank are giving Trillions away to Wall Street of our taxpayer money while "We the People" stand in lines, soup lines, unemployment lines and homeless shelter lines. Our Government says Corporations have more rights today than "We the people" supported by the Supreme Court. Our Government needs to spy on "We the people" to keep us safe from something? The two major parties have a monopoly of our Government and acts as they are our Rulers and not our representatives.
    Americans do NOT need to be Ruled over. "We the people only ask for fair and Honest representation.

    June 19, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  19. Wilson

    Hmmm. $13K in pay losses (but at least I'm still working). Higher prices for gas and groceries. Electric company raised rates, city raised water rates. Healthcare premiums have gone up 50%. Nope, I'm not better off.

    June 19, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  20. james

    More fake polls by CNN the economy is not improving and will not until Obozo is gone

    June 19, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  21. Derek

    I can't help but be amused by the public thinking that who sits in the White House is a major factor in how economic conditions are going to be. Why does the public think the President does it all, when Congress has more influence over this type of thing than the President?

    June 19, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  22. McBob79

    It's not better. Slowest recovery from downturn since greatndepression

    June 19, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  23. Barry Obama, community organizer

    Of course everyone is better off today than a year ago.

    June 19, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  24. Workhard03

    No spinning...the economy is nowhere near what it should be right now.

    June 19, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  25. ggggg

    with private student loans? nope.

    June 19, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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