CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise
August 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET
2 months ago

CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans still say that the economy's in poor shape. But the percentage who describe economic conditions as good continue to slowly but steadily increase, and now stands at its highest level since before the last recession, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll indicates that 58% of those surveyed rates the nation's economic conditions as poor, with 41% saying they are good.

The percentage who say things are good is up from 29% last October to 32% in December, 36% in February, 38% in May and 41% now.

"The 41% is the largest number of Americans with a positive view of the economy since Barack Obama became President, and it represents the highest rating for the economy since the last recession officially began in December of 2007," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

CNN poll economic conditions graphic

The poll's Friday release preceded the Labor Department's report on July unemployment.

And it hits two days after new data showing that the economy bounced back in the spring, growing at a 4% annual pace in the second quarter. That's better than what economists had expected.

U.S. economy bounces back sharply

Revised numbers from that Commerce Department report also showed that the economy's winter contraction wasn't as bleak as first reported.

When it comes to perceptions about the economy, the CNN poll indicates a geographical divide.
"People in the Northeast, Midwest and West all appear to see some improvement in the economy. The number of Westerners who say the economy's in good shape has nearly doubled, and there are 15-to-18 point gains in the Midwest and Northeast.

"But it's a different story in the South, where the number of southerners who give a thumbs-up to the economy has remained stubbornly stuck at 34%, suggesting either that better times have yet to visit the South or that southerners have yet to perceive that things are getting better," Holland adds.

The poll also indicates a small gender difference as well, with economic optimism growing more rapidly among women than men.

Economy impacts midterms

Perceptions about economic conditions will be an important factor in November's midterm elections, as the economy remains the top issue on the mind of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released last week, 49% of those questioned said it was extremely important for the President and Congress to deal with the economy, higher than any other issue tested.

Key races to watch in 2014

More than a third of the Senate and the entire House are up for grabs in November.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

In the House, the Democrats would need to pick up an extremely challenging 17 Republican-held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Obama said Wednesday that "there are a lot of good reasons to be optimistic about America. We hold the best cards. Things are getting better."

But when it comes to the economy, the President and congressional Democrats blame the GOP in Congress for putting up roadblocks to measures that would help the middle class. Congressional Republicans return the fire, saying that Obama's economic policies are not working.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20 with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    You just gotta love CNN with these polls and the pure spin they put on them.

    If, 5.5 years after the recession ended, 58% of the people thought economic conditions were poor and there was a Republican in the White House, the title of this article would have been "58% of American Think the Economy a DISASTER".

    Of course we all know this is the usual tale of deceit the left wing media always manipulates the American people with a few months before an election. The fact is that a majority still think the economy is poor and that is because unemployment is still too high. But of course those truths won't get Democrats re-elected in November.

    August 1, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise"

    What the GOP/Teatrolls heard: "We need to cause a legislative crisis and maybe threaten to default on the nation's debts and shutdown the gov't again."

    August 1, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Angus

    What a slanted headline. How about "Vast Majority Know the Economy Still Stinks!"

    August 1, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. salty dog

    Your not suggesting that the deep red, gop controlled states aren't doing so well, I'm shocked!!! This really isnt news to those who look at things fairly, the south states are all nanny states, who receive up to $3.35, for every dollar they take in for the government, hear this must be said, now because this isn't what you want to hear, just dismiss it out of hand, CNN is a liberal media outlet now, too funny. Now that's a truth that hurts, and a reality that bites.

    August 1, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. salty dog

    The more you pay attention, and the less you listen to places like fox news, the more you can see things for yourselves, and let's not forget all the help he got from the Republicans, none, not bad for having to go it alone, with not only no help, but complete obstruction from the gop, kudos Mr. President.

    August 1, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. salty dog

    Sad thing is the only things that are out of control, and he's not able to fix, are all because of laws passed by our beloved gop, enough horses hi.t already, get rid of them.

    August 1, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. salty dog

    Nanny states not doing so good, NO WAY!! omg, lmao, again!

    August 1, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. an Iowan

    The economy can be called 'rocky' at best, but then again it has been this way since GW Bush's first term when the price of gasoline rose to un-heard of prices, which have remained there ever since. This resulted in a significant drop in discretionary spending by the average American. Consumers drive our economy, and when people aren't buying, the economy suffers. Simple Economics!

    August 1, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Tony

    Yeah the new population think so..

    Majority of US filled with government dependants imported from thirdworld by estahblishment to override existing citizen votes.

    .

    August 1, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. m123

    41%
    People who don't care or are Obama drones.

    August 1, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. joncook14

    Those numbers are incredibly important right now to both parties. That 41% represents the percentage of the population that are liberals. The 58% represents conservatives and independents. When it comes to the midterms, if liberals aren't able to change perception they are gonna get torched.

    August 1, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. PJ

    Five years into "recovery" and still less than half of Americans feel the economy is merely "good"... YAY!!!! (sarcasm)

    August 1, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. Pushed Sofar

    Wow, the extent of media bias is unbelievable. 58% think the economy sucks and the headline is "more people think the economy is good" Well, maybe you can still get a job with the administration for a year or two when this journalism thing falls by the wayside.

    August 1, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. kennygdf

    Wonder who they poll?

    August 1, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Dean

    Those who say the economy is doing well are probably recieving government handouts.

    August 1, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. John Doe

    Uneducated hillbillies may think the economy is good but the underlying growth numbers appears to have been propelled by an increase in state and local government spending and consumer spending. With stagnant wage growth, me thinks this growth comes from deficit/debt spending (or Yellen's welfare payments for the rich vis-a-vis the bond buyback program). I wish the uneducated American would awake and see that our country is a train wreck of mismanagement.

    August 1, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Don Parker

    Slowly creeping up, but for those liberals who think everything is fine, just look at your Savings account and CD interest rates.

    August 1, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. stuart

    Lies, all lies.

    August 1, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. OldSchool

    Things are getting better, no thanks to the GOP obstruction...

    August 1, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. guest

    Well we are about to sacrifice our eastern sea board to the economy. Hopefully the thousands of dead sea creatures washing up on shore satisfies the blood-lust of the oil cartels. The scuffle in Ukraine effectively distracts us while Russia and US divvy up the remains of our melting artic circle. All so a few people can upgrade there 130 ft yacht to a 200 foot ocean liner, while the rest of us pay increased prices for everything to fund their exploratory ventures. If only these companies were using the more than a decade of record profit margins to fund alternative energy, though that would be less loss of life and environment, which they wont abide.

    August 1, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Silence DoGood

    @Pushed Sofar
    Wow, the extent of media bias is unbelievable. 58% think the economy sucks and the headline is "more people think the economy is good" Well, maybe you can still get a job with the administration for a year or two when this journalism thing falls by the wayside.
    ---------------
    Last Oct was 29%. Now it is 41%. That would be more.
    But let's keep home-schooling on Creationism instead of science.

    August 1, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. The other guy

    The biggest difference between now and the depression are food stamps. If they weren't available, people would be in the streets by the millions...

    August 1, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. ValidArguement

    And it can get better, with SOLAR ROADWAYS!

    August 1, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. K

    I can tell you, the economic conditions in the US (except a few like Michigan) are much better than here north of the border. While the US constantly create jobs a few months after the Bush-era disaster, here it has been stalled with some good months but also some disastrous months. The current Conservative government in power has been an absolute failure in many ways with record deficits (a lot caused by pork-barrel spending) and basically the elections next year cannot come soon enough to kick Stephen Harper and his bunch out of office.

    August 1, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. McBob79

    If this were a republican administration the headline would read, "Majority still believes economy in bad shape".

    August 1, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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