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.
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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.
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.
Read the history of the Silk Road. Our economy is toast.
August 1, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am
lets go down to the unemployment office and take a pole
Let's go down to the unemployment office and take a poll. If you take a pole the building might fall down.
Pole- an object
Poll– a survey
See what a little education can do for you??😊
I love how CNN spins this. 58% still think the economy is doing poorly, but since CNN must kiss Obama's rear end, the headline reads "More Americans think Economy doing Good". And you know if this was the Bush administration, the headline would have read, "Majority of Americans still think economy doing poorly". CNN is so blatantly transparent.
You people realize these types of articles are to get argue about to republicans vs democrats.
"Good" is about as subjective as a meaning can be. Therefore, the "poll" is virtually worthless ... politically motivated ... period.
Great! Doing a little bit better. Rather than argue if it's better or not or who's fault/responsibility it is can we just concentrate on making it better? Slightly better is positive. Do more!
Just imagine what the economy could look like if we had people in congress who wanted to get things done. Instead we have a bunch of lying republicans who have for the last 6 years done everything they could to screw up the economy. Now they are on vacation after doing nothing but shut down the government. Keep trying to blame the president for this. We will vote them all out. Are republicans really so ill informed or are they just plain stupid??????
The poor GOP needs to face facts: while they fiddled, Rome didn't burn. Obama did what any moderate would do, and they shrieked about socialism and dog-whistled about his skin instead of helping the economy regrow. Turns out we don't need phony conservatives with radical notions to help us grow the economy, so what good is the GOP anyway? Let 'em eat their cake while we repair their negligent damage.
" take a pole" Calling Dr Freud, Dr Sigmund Freud. We got a live one here.
Wow...above 40%....we are saved!....snicker....
Obama. Is a great president, he improved the economy by himself, no other president has done that. Obama is the greatest, even with the racist opposition from congress .
Still not sure id say Good but getting better all the time. Best sustained job growth since the 1990's lately its difficult to argue with that.
Uh, oh. Republicans aren't going to be happy.
But conservatives now seem to care so very much about other stuff besides the economy. The economy won't give traction to their message. Sorry guys.
Here's some spin for you. Is it possible the economy is improving because it doesn't need government action, because a healthy economy should be able to do that. How can you say that Obama can't get anything done, and in the same breath praise him for the turn around in the country. I think a little less government is better for all of us.
Nanny states not doing so good, NO WAY!! omg, lmao, again!
as you are pretty uninformed so you are most likely unaware that the federal government actually has programs that try to break down the pride of many in red states that keeps them off of food stamps. they were even giving federal workers awards for doing this! so our leftist government with obama is doing its best to create what you are in here complaining about.
Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
See what a little education can do for you??
pot meet kettle!
Love the CNN spin. 58% of people think the economy is poor, but Obama's legacy must be defended at all costs. I can only image the headlines if 58% percent believed the economy was poor with a Republican in office.
""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."
Holland ma man! You do know the south is predominantly made up of red states, and the republican will never admit things are getting better with Obama as president. My God that is as obvious as a cockroach on a wedding cake!
This is bad news for Republicans, who have been trying tank the economy for 6 years now. On to plan B – sue Obama. Plan C – sue America, Plan D – Bomb Russia, Plan E – Bomb America.
just saying says:
August 1, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am
Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross…..
See what a little education can do for you??
Talking to yourself I see. This coming from the person that doesn't capitalize or use punctuation. Dude I dropped more education in the restroom this morning than you've ever had. Go back to class and talk to my when you've learned a little more.
My husband and I own a small art gallery in a tourist area. Several years ago we were thinking of making our parking lot a little bigger to accommodate the numbers of people who drove in. Now, we sit in the gallery for days and watch the cars go by – hardly anyone comes in and very few buy. Our son is a recent college graduate and he sends out applications every day and gets hardly any response. The economy is bad – we don't believe anything we read about an improving economy.
We've been down so long, anything looks like an improvement. At this rate we'll be back to full speed by 2030. I hope you all have good fingernails and a fat bank account and can hold on until then.
"Its the economy, stupid".
Thank you President Obama, your legacy is in good hands as you pass the progressive reins to President Clinton.
These are good times for Americans.
"lets go down to the unemployment office and take a pole"
That's public property, buddy,...you leave those poles alone.
"One thing to consider is that as more and more Americans get on the government dole, the economy to them is their monthly food stamps and government check."
Yeah, studies consistently show that people on welfare and food stamps are super proud of it and consider it a great time.
Let's ask Wall Street if they think the economy is getting better.