October 18th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Nearly half think U.S. in recession

The New York Stock Exchange

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly half of Americans feel the U.S. economy is in a recession, marked by a significant decline in economic activity, according to a survey released Thursday.

The poll by the CNN-Opinion Research Corporation found that while 46 percent of Americans hold that belief, 51 percent don't.

Black citizens were more pessimistic than whites, findings show.

Sixty-nine percent of black Americans feel the United States is in a recession, while only 42 percent of white Americans feel the same way.

The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP (Gross Domestic Product), real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales."

The GDP measures the economy's output. It represents the total market value of all goods and services produced in the United States during a specified period.

According to the bureau, "a recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity, and ends as the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief and they have been rare in recent decades."

The recession findings may be having an impact on President Bush's approval rating.

The CNN-ORC poll finds Mr. Bush's approval rating remains steady at 36 percent, but his approval rating among black Americans is just 15 percent.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says "a majority of whites also disapprove of Bush, although four in 10 have a favorable view of his administration. The president's approval rating has been stuck at 36 percent since late summer."

The sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all but the black vs. white breakdowns, which have a sampling error of 5.5 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Economy • President Bush
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. B. Thomas, Poughkeepsie, NY

    Did I miss your call? Or did the poll get lost in the mail? I don't recall being asked about this.

    October 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Mac, OKC, OK

    Yes... http://www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs/data is a very enlightening website. Think inflation is in check? Think again. (Bought $4/gallon milk lately?) Think the mortgage fiasco has no effect on GDP? Think again. Think unemployment remains low? Check those who have given up on finding a job – nd are not counted in the statistics – and think again. Think the Chinese are helping us maintain the value of the dollar by buying our gov't securities? They just quit – so think again. Think those who publish robust USEconomic stats to keep you content provide the "real" story? Check that website and think again. In 2000, oil was $22 a barrel – now it's $88. Gold was $250 an ounce – now it's $750... and on and on. The ONLY reason that the economy looks anywhere near healthy is that today's GDP is measured in dollars that are essentially worthless, as compared with the dollar of not so long ago. The Euro – worth less than $1 in 2000 is now worth $1.40. Think the rest of the world believes in the USEconomy ? See http://www.leap2020.eu and think again. Some people only believe the US is in dire economic straights – others of us KNOW it. Better get ready.

    October 18, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Wayneman Arundel Maine USA

    Recession? Hell no. Did CNN just poll thier Democrat base or what? Lies Lies.Anyone see the interview with Mrs. Cheney by Wolfy Blitzer a while back. In talking about the war on terror after Wolfy said something really stupid...Mrs Cheney asked Wolfy "What side are you on?"!!!Wolfy stammered "our side" Sure he is.Drink your Kool Aid kids.

    October 18, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Will, Austin, TX

    With the sinking value of the dollar, the poll is on to some truth. The International Monetary Fund said the greenback “remains overvalued”. I expect most of the other right-wing comments defending our economy are from Drudge readers.

    October 18, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Mike, Lansing, MI

    Anyone who things we are in a recession is an idiot and probably not an avid investor. The US markets will continue to climb well into 2008, after which there may be a recession, or at least a steep decline in market value

    October 18, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    One can say that the Bush tax cuts kept the nation out of recession, however, please tell me where the tax cuts were invested. Here in the US? No, there in Southeast Asia.

    Did they trickle down here or there? There. China is experiencing double digit growth – the US less than 2%.

    October 18, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. CV, Norton MA

    I never go to the CNN web site nor do I ever watch CNN on television. I prefer real news rather than the biased drivel they serve up. I was linked to this by another web site.

    The country is not in a recession. The survey is old news as this trick has been done a few times in the past couple of years.

    Many people believe we are in a recession because they are being manipulated in an ongoing effort by organizations such as CNN to believe so. And it is obviously why CNN is doing this.

    CNN is shameful, despicable, dishonest, evil and biased. And we all know which direction the bias goes.

    October 18, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. grosse pointe MI

    Your headline is deceiving. It should read "More than half think US economy is on fire"

    October 18, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. john smith Los Angeles

    Boys and Girls. I don't know if there's a recession or not but (1) I can't live decently in California and (2) I don't think the Democrats raising my taxes will help it at all. Democrats don't even see any problems acept there's a non female in the White House.

    October 18, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Mitch, Decatur, Illinois

    If the auto industry would stop making us support the oil industry, things might improve. No more high gas prices, no more middle east to fight over. We need true alternative energy powered vehicles, now! Other costs are going up, but it is the cost of energy that will run the already poor and the middle class into the poor house.

    October 18, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Bryan, Chicago, IL

    Hmmm, amazing how the GOP bots weren't sounding these bells when their president was busy convincing 50% of the populace that Iraq was directly responsible for 9-11. Remember those polls? Those in glass houses...

    The people answering that they are in recession clearly don't understand the definition of recession. They are answering based on their quality of life which in all likelihood has been reduced of late due to the ever widening elimination of the middle class.

    October 18, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Heartlight3, Makawao, Hawaii

    I think the reason that so many people think we are in a recession is because that's what they see in their own lives. They are working harder and getting farther and farther behind. The cost of everything is getting higher at a rate much faster than wages are increasing. No matter what the numbers say, that doesn't feel like expansion, it feels like recession.

    October 18, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Will, White Plains, New York

    Why does CNN run a story like this or even conduct a poll purposely misrepresenting the definition of a recession and trying to convince the public that the economy is in trouble? In the story there's not even an explanation as to what the definition of a recession is.

    CNN is out in the open and not concerned anymore about its left wing bias. It's blatant.

    October 18, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. K.Berger

    I always find it interesting that the have's are so fast to say everything is great. I wonder how long they can keep their heads in the sand. The US is in a slow decline that will not stop. Being someone who at age 47 has to reinvent my career because so many jobs in the tech industry have been sent to India, life's not so rosey, it's a struggle. Someone who use to work in a manufacturing facility now works for Walmart, hey thats not a problem, he's employed. You people keep believing what the government tells you. Only a matter of time before your job is outsourced and that most of you making over 100k can be replaced by someone for half that. Tell me, what new industry is going to stop the housing skid this time, no internet revolution this time? We shall see.

    October 18, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. J.O. Keener, Fairbanks, Alaska

    How many Americans even know the definition of "recession"? Idiot polls yield idiot conclusions.

    October 18, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Gee, shock shock. I wonder why that is, exactly?

    Could it be that the subject of economics simply is not taught in schools? Or could it be that what is passed off as economics education is woefully inadequate?

    Here's a novel idea... replace mathematics with economics education, for all students, every year, K-12.

    Schools teach kids to roll condoms on cucumbers, but is it too much to educate them on the economic system under which they'll live for their entire lives? Is it too much for kids to understand simple interest and the magic of compoundnig interest?

    Adequate K-12 economics education will never occur in this country. The teachers unions simply will not allow it. For, if children actually learned economics, they'd be less likely to need a teat from the nanny state later in life, and Democrats would be out of a job. It's easier to control people when you're feeding them.

    October 18, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Sean, Decatur AL

    So 46% of Americans are idiots. Thank you public schools. Thank you left wing media. Thank you CNN for clearing up the fact we aren't in recession. Oh wait you didn't. Good reporting there.

    October 18, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Melissa Denver, CO

    After reading all the previous comments to this article, I feel compelled to note a few things. First, I am sick and tired of both the whiny Dems and the close-minded neo-Cons on each end of the political spectrum thinking that every news article is political in nature. To be political, the article must insert a values judgment, and in this article, there is none. It was merely a recitation of polls and showing the relationship between one's (albeit ignorant) belief in our economy among different classes of people. The article was merely sociological fodder. So stop reading more into it than there is!

    Second, did anyone ask themselves why there is a disparity in one's view of the economy?? Yes, we are not technically in a recession. However, the average American thinks the definition of recession is "bad economy." And does that surprise anyone? Last time I checked, most Americans do not hold degrees in Economics. But many people see things going on around them or are personally affected by things that the economic indicators do not show. Like how the sub-prime mortgage industry is on the verge of collapse, how the value of the dollar is falling in comparison to other currencies, how their homes are depreciating in value, how the forclosure rates are skyrocketing, how the competition for jobs is forcing people with advanced degrees to take menial jobs, and how salaries remain stagnant while the amount of hours required to perform their jobs is increasing. That's what your average joe working class person sees everyday and thinks "bad economy" so we must be in a recession. We aren't (yet), but many are feeling the pressures of negative economic life, and the poll numbers reflect this disparity.

    October 18, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Angela, WPB, FL

    Stop picking on CNN.
    The SUBJECT of the article is what a segment of people THINK about the economy – not whether the Economy is in a recession or not.

    It's evident by the many comments, that allot of people don't really know.

    CNN actually helped edify people by forcing them to do their own research on the Economy and get the facts. –

    Good job CNN you contributed to the education and enlightenment of your viewers.

    October 18, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. TH Normal, Illinois

    Not only do I think that we are not in a recession(and I'm a Black American), I wonder why this article about 'whether people feel we are in a recession or not' was broken down among racial lines. Why was there a need to do that in this particaluar article? Must we break EVERYTHING down among racial lines? I thought we were all Americans here. Geez CNN, I am very disappointed in this article.

    October 18, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Brad Dixon, CA

    The fact that 46% of Americans (given the poll is accurate–why don't they ever give us the source of these surveys?) think that we are in a resecion is the same reason that these people shouldn't be allowed to vote. Do a little research once in a while, people! Don't believe everything you read or hear on the tv/internet/radio/newspaper. CHECK SOURCES! What an uninformed society we live in.

    October 18, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Mike Heard, Farmington Hills, MI

    To paraphrase an old saying "All politics (and in this case national issues) are local". Here in the Midwest (Detroit) telling someone there is NO recession is laughable. The domestic auto manufacturers are hurting.

    It's not just a case of money-hungry unions, poor management or lack of attention to hybrids – although all of those factors contribute to the misfortune of the domestics – we are simply the first to "catch the cold" that other industries will soon experience, soaring health care costs, lack of leadership on foreign oil independence and the "halo" effect of foreign auto manufacturers.

    Yes, we need responsible media but more importantly we need responsible leadership. Only we the people can ensure either – by our votes or by our support – or lack of- for media outlet advertisers.

    October 18, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Brad, NY, NY

    46% Success rate of lib media brainwashing? Not bad. And to add in the race card that brainwashed blacks is 69% is icing on the cake.

    October 18, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. mark, knoxville

    "In macroeconomics, a recession is a decline in any country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year."


    Funny how a politcal writer is pointing out public sentiment, on a matter that is clearly defined in economic terms.

    Maybe CNN would have been better served if it asked it's respondents if they knew what a recession is. Maybe 5% of the public is capable of understanding the question.

    When I see polls like this (or '60% of americans believe Iraq was responsible for 9/11') I find the reporting of such matters demonstrative of how poor a job the news industry does in reporting facts.

    A Recession 'is' or it 'is not'- determined upon facts, not sentiment.

    October 18, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Riaz, Jersey City, NJ

    Its high time we look into the way that we decide whether we are in recession or not... Weak US Dollar (given the fact that we import Gas from Canada), Increasing Grocery prices, Increasing Medical Insurance Cost, Increased Education cost, Pathetic Segements to look for job (walmart etc.,), collapsing verticals like fixed income etc., my savings today are close to none compared to a year before and inversely proportional to corporate profits and CEO salaries.. My counter parts in Canada and India, on the other hand, are doing very well. What do you say, are we not in recession?

    October 18, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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