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

    The good news? I got a 3% raise, and my local taxes got cut in half.
    The bad news?
    Gas, food, medical insurance, trash service, cell bill, propane, and electricity went up 10%-40%
    And homeowners insurance went up 40% (without a claim) to negate all of my tax savings.

    The problem I see, is if food and energy were less people would use/waste them more, so costs should be mildly prohibitive.
    I on the other hand live the same "life" every day. Same fuel every week, same amount of food every week, and same amount of energy every year (weather is the only decider).
    If they were cheaper I wouldn't use more, I would spend my money other places, or save it.
    I'm not mad at anyone who wants to be filthy rich, you only get one go around, play this game as you will.
    People who already have hoards of cash never want to stop, and many times, instead of doing "more work" they want to grow their wealth with "risk".
    In other words the buy commodities/futures, staple items, on Wall Street to squeeze pennies out of everyone.
    They also collude to do it.
    This artificial demand, from never having to take possession of a good, is easy pickings for people with dollars.
    The economy is so bad right now, that rich people don't want to invest in "new" markets and ventures, they just think, "what do people HAVE to use, what do ALL people NEED?
    Then they buy those items in bulk.
    We can not increase demand, they own the companies that are already the most efficient the world has ever seen.
    Supply and demand is dead. The free market is dead.

    June 19, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. 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.

    June 19, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Elexsor

    Interesting. I think things are very good for myself but then I fully expect to be in the minority. However they didn't poll me. Booo.

    All kidding aside I wonder how (time of day and where) those phone calls were made. Did they call people's home phones? I only answer my cellphone. However what is the link between those that only use a cell phone versus a land line and their opinion about the economy. Those that only use land lines may be 1) older 2) less willing to adjust to the tech changes that are occurring. This could also translate to the job opportunities they are filling (or filled) in. The post 2007-2008 downturn world if recovering with companies using more tech. This has meant them hiring fewer people and hiring those that are less tech adverse (or more tech literate).

    Would be interesting to see the correlation (if any at all).

    June 19, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. 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.

    June 19, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Michael Johnson

    What has Congress done but obstructing any attempt to get our economy going and increase the misery of those most negatively impacted by the economy? Five years of conservatives lies trying to create a scandal as worked as well as conservatives in Congress have worked. Conservatives in Congress, representing American conservatives, has been the most useless, ineffective and unproductive Congress in modern history. The conservatives congress' greatest achievement has been to continual the redistribution of wealth from working Americans to their filthy rich masters while steeling from the lease among us while trying to increase the power of the federal government to control women's bodies..

    June 19, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. Guess

    if the gop would put working americans first, and help.with jobs, we could be much better off, clearly that is the last thing the gop.wants. why vote gop? such a simple question? such a hard answer, you cant without lying, make a case for voting gop, without using gop talking points, and just use the known facts. scandals are not a reason to vote gop, cause therre are no scandals, just a bunch of rich guys getting paid to lie to you, in an attempt to get votes, take away the rhetoric, and the talking points, focus on what they are attempting to do, how do you vote for that. voter suppresion, gerrymandering, and an all out attack on the poor, and working class

    June 19, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Larry IN Houston

    that all depends on what or where you are in life. If all you've ever known is factory work, or all you've ever done in your life was being in manufacturing, your out of luck. That means you better get some other schooling, or find a Job in another field, period. IF anyone thinks that the CEO's and Plant & Factory Owners are going to bring Back the hundreds of thousands of Factories that have been lost in the last 35 years in this country, they are living in a dream. As long as we have free trade with other countries, Just about everything will be made or manufactured in another country, and will be brought to the U.S. for people to "assemble" most products, but not actually "make" them.

    June 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. Eric Gorham

    You REALLY need to evaluate what you consider "breaking news" each of the past three days I've been awaken by a "breaking news" alert and it was just a poll result. If I remember the last couple poll results you results were proven false with no clarification or retraction!

    June 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Ernie zippreplat

    Better Off? How can you be better off when the number of jobs available has fallen by 9,000,000 under Obummer. 12,000,000 now on Disability mostly because their 3yr unemployment has runned out. Millions more on food stamps. Just tell me how people in this nation are better off!

    June 19, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. Dan

    It's funny how people blame the party of the President, but never complain about their state economy if their Governor is from the opposing political party.

    June 19, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Charles

    Definitely worse off financially! A veteran in the mortgage industry, I was laid off from major mortgage bank. It seems there is shortage of quality jobs and the jobs that are available are entry level with little pay. Ideal for someone coming out of high school here on Southern California.

    Thank you

    June 19, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. FHTEX

    The problem is that government statistics on the economy, while not great, seem even worse off than other measures. Although employment SEEMS to be increasing, the percentage of Americans in the workforce is the lowest since the '70s. Although housing APPEARS to be rebounding, the percentage of Americans owning homes is less than the '90s. And, although we ARE TOLD we are awash in oil, oil prices remain above $100/barrel and gasoline is pushing $4 a gallon. And, finally, although prices are not OFFICIALLY going up, Americans are paying more at the grocery store, for medical care, for car insurance and repairs, etc. Perhaps that is why we don't seem as optimistic as before.

    June 19, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Durundal

    This is why I hate the loud twerps in the middle of the room shouting DOOM! Like any market the fools get spooked easy and it can cause a stampede.

    June 19, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Evergreen

    The House still shows no interest in helping to improve the economy. They are still trying to punish the country for electing then re-electing the President.

    June 19, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Robert

    Exactly one year ago I graduated with a bachelors degree, went to 38 job interviews only to be turned down each time. There were more people with years of professional experience that got those jobs, jobs that in all reality were entry level jobs and they were over qualified for. I got stuck having to work minimum wage and then take a part time position with so few hours that I wasn't able to save anything. However over that year I search for new jobs and in the past 3 months I was able to land an excellent position with good pay and benefits that I am using my education at. It turns out that my employer "was looking for new blood, to bring in fresh young professionals" That he was ready to take a risk on inexperienced employees because he wanted to grow his business. I am in no way alone in this experience, several people right out of school are finding employment with emerging companies who had cut expenses to survive the economic downfall. The important part is to have hope for the future, things are getting better.

    June 19, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. capnmike

    We would ALL be better off if we weren't sending all our money and jobs to China and importing cheap junk! The rich and big corporations are getting richer, but the money is being invested overseas instead of here, so it is not "trickling down" to us ordinary folks. I have a small business...this is the worst year I have ever had.

    June 19, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Thomas

    Rick McDaniel
    CA is a lost cause anyway...........let him.


    Then stay where you are , don't ever visit , don't eat the food grown there . It's jerks like you who move to california and want to make it Texas.

    What do you know about a cause other then being a ferret for Rush and Rove and all the neocon rhetoric .

    June 19, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. naline

    I always hear and see about polls ,regarding us Americans. I've never seen any polls provided to us Americans. I love how these so call polls, speak for me. My poll is, I'm doing much better than I did two years ago. I finally found work and able to keep a roof over my head.

    June 19, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. jerry

    I am a veterinarian. I work 60 hts. a week and due to rising costs, regulations and people with no money, I make what a dental hygienst makes flossing teeth 3 days a week. Went down all in the last 3-4 yrs.

    June 19, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. JPArizona

    That is probably because many of the companies that had all of their employees take a 10% or more pay cut never gave them back their salaries after making record profits. Businesses are not paying their employees what they used to make and they like their new higher profits. They don't give a crap about the employees.

    June 19, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. jimmy

    the people have stop listening to what REPUBLICANS have to say. We nolonger feel their opionion means anything. Especially when their ideals only apply to a failled US economy.

    June 19, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. RES

    I am better off financially. I am amazed at how quickly the market and jobs are rebounding from such a deep recession. We are 5-10 years ahead of any realistic projected forecast for recovery.

    June 19, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. boyamidumb

    Look at your bank account.

    Look at the decline in what your dollar is worth.

    Look at the added taxes and fees every level of government is taking from you – some through things like your phone and cable bill.

    Look at the labels on everything from your food, to your shoes, clothes, appliances, cars.

    Look at the empty factories all across America - now turning into unproductive apartments

    Look at millions of small local and regional businesses destroyed by Mega Corporations.

    Look at who owns many of those corporations – they are not U.S. owned.

    Look at the jobs that have been allowed to move "offshore" to areas where there are no economic or environmental safeguards, and where workers are not much more than slaves. (yes, the unions blew it here, but they will be needed again).

    Look at who owns your government and the people we put in place to represent and lead. It is not you and me they respond to.


    June 19, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. anoel2005

    the current administration has never had JOBS on the agenda.

    June 19, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. MaryM

    Much better than 5 years ago. But no change in the last 2 years

    June 19, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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