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. David, Bakesfield, CA

    Don't you think it to be important to include in the article the fact that real GDP has been steadily increasing for years and that there is no economic data that supports the opinion that we are in a recession. I guess that does not fit the agenda.

    October 18, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Rick, LA

    Ok, so someone explain something to me. Everyone knows that this article is false on its face, so why is this occupying space on the CNN.com website? When this is so obviously bad information, why wouldn't an editor just pull this article?

    Answer: This is not a real news source. It is PROPAGANDA for the unnerving idea that someday, they will have a Democrat in office who will benefit from CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS & PBS.

    Do yourselves a favor and don't watch those channels – it's not news if it's not true. You might as well pick up an issue of the Enquirer. At least that's entertaining.

    October 18, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Dave, Indianapolis, IN

    One thing I find particularly interesting in this series of comments is the number of people who claim superior knowledge of this subject, yet are unable to use proper grammar or spell words like "resecion" correctly. I wonder how many of those people, who also tend to extol the importance of forming one's own opinion as opposed to accepting the views of other sources prima facie, actually formed their own opinions about the state of the American economy.

    October 18, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. an 'average" American

    For all of you who are saying the average American is uneducated because s/he can not give a definition of a recession...Just because they can't give you an exact definition does not mean there is no recession. For the average American a recession is when my money doesn't go as far as it used to. When it costs a day's worth of pay to fill the gas tank of my vehicle. When milk costs $4+ a gallon and my family drinks 3-4 gallons a week. When I'm juggling my money to make ends meet. My family income is more now than it was while Clinton was in office, but it doesn't seem to go as far as it did then. Pres. Bush always points to the fact that more people than ever own their own homes now. There ae also record numbers of foreclosures today. A booming economy? I don't think so.

    October 18, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. David Fell, Clovis California

    Interesting note... Story is filed under Economy and President Bush. Must be Bush's fault! The story is so sad and juvenile it's almost not worth commenting on.

    October 18, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. TAMU, Manassas, VA

    When the economy is bad, we lower taxes to stimulate the economy (Reagan and Bush 43 tax cuts lead to growing economy). Once the economy is growing again, we raise taxes without hurting the economy (Bush 41 and Clinton increased taxes and the economy continued to grow). With the economy that we have now, the tax cuts that are set to expire in a couple of years should not hurt the economy. However, with the MSM beating up the economy every chance they get, if these tax cuts are allowed to expire, the Republicans are being given a free box to stand on to support lowering taxes even more. Thanks MSM!

    October 18, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Odd Job, Dallas, TX

    It's hard to believe that an organization calling itself The National Bureau of Economic Research (which sounds very quantitative) would define a recession so ambiguously as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months". It sounds more like a journalist's definition who is trying to slant a story.

    October 18, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. bob jones, clayton, ca

    I think you should do an article on the stupidity of Americans. This is hard proof that almost a majority of Americans are stupid.

    October 18, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    The economy is in the dumps, and we have our inept administration to thank for that.

    October 18, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. John Smith, New York, NY

    It appears that the “journalists” at CNN have been infected with Bush Derangement Syndrome. The only cure is to listen to El Rushbo 12pm-3pm est. Monday-Friday. Good luck!

    October 18, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. C. Scearce Mooresville, Indiana

    I don't believe we are currently in a recession but if oil prices continue to climb I look for a recession worldwide. This would cause hardships for a while but it is probably the only thing that will break the Bush oil cartel

    October 18, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. MH, Laurel MD

    Unfair! My two comments about the data at the link above (Http:/www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs/data) were deleted.

    The data at the site is patently ridiculous. Who could believe that GDP has declined over the last 25 years and that CPI is around 10%.

    Why was this deleted?

    October 18, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. C. Scearce Mooresville, Indiana

    It depends on where you are at on the economic ladder. In Indiana jobs that were paying $8.00- $8.50 per hour when Bush became President now pay minimum wage. I'm sure that the people working these jobs feel that the Republicans put them in a recession. At the same time the former Republican controlled congress was passing legislation guaranteeing themselves an automatic 41/2% annual pay raise they were also doing everything possible to defeat any attempt to raise the minimum wage. I guess the people on the lower end of the economic ladder are in a recession caused by the Republicans.

    October 18, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  14. Dee Northwest Arkansas

    Could it be that personal experience might be what the voters are reporting?

    Wall Street is not Main Street. For many workers, what makes Wall Street happy is not always what is best for the wage slaves of the United States.


    The Richest 1 Percent Of Americans Taking Home Almost A Quarter Of The Pie

    Meanwhile, the median tax filer's income fell 2 percent between 2000 and 2005, to $30,881. Median, of course, means half of Americans earn less than that.

    Many of us struggle to make stagnant wages keep up with the ever increasing cost of everything. And I'm not talking about play things like cars and big-screen televisions and computers.

    I'm talking about food prices, gas prices, utility bills. Health care? What health care?

    I'm happy for those who have no financial worries but plenty of hard working families are struggling out here in the real world.

    When people see nothing but financial struggle in their own lives and the lives of their friends and relatives, it is quite an easy assumption to believe that everyone is struggling.

    October 18, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    CNN is the Propaganda Wing of the Democrat National Committee, and Mr. Paul Steinhauser gets his stories directly from Howard "The Scream" Dean. The American Economy is several times stronger than at any time during Bill "The Pointer" Clinton's term.

    October 18, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Steve, Kansas City, MO

    I love to hear people on the right talk about how bad the economy would be if a democrat was in charge. Following is a post WWII list of the best economic performances compiled by that bastion of left-wing liberalism, forbes magazine:

    Bill Clinton
    Lyndon B. Johnson
    John F. Kennedy
    Ronald Reagan
    Gerald R. Ford
    Jimmy Carter

    As you can see, the top three performing presidents were, gasp, democrats. No doubt, we are not technically in a recession. What has been widely reported, recently, is that we have the largest income gap since the 1920's. So yes, 10% of americans are doing very well. Those that have capital or are part of the executive suite of corporations. The rest of us, those who have to use their skills or back, in order to earn a living are not doing quite as well. Wages have been flat or declining for us since about 2000. Clinton added roughly 25 million jobs, many of them high paying white-collar jobs. Bush, maybe half that – if you believe the numbers – most of these are low paying service positions. What CNN is reporting is what 90% of us are experiencing. Here in the Midwest houses are being foreclosed at a tremendous rate. Probably 2 out of 10 house per block are for sale and sit empty for years without being sold. Part of Bush's ownership society no doubt. Bush has burned through $3,000,000,000,000 in just six years and has nothing tangable to show for it from my perspective. I could go on, but you just would not get it. So you righties can continue to live in your dreamworld, while the rest of us pray for 1/20/2009 – the end of an error.

    October 18, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. Sandeep M, Olathe

    This story is ridiculous just like the other polling which Clinton News Network showed that majority are not opposed to deporting illegal immigrants.
    Just based on the comments on this article, you can see that majority of Americans think that we are NOT in recession.
    Similarly Majority of Americans(78%) want Illegals to be deported and oppose Amnesty in any form even if CNN tells otherwise.

    October 19, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  18. Billy Houston,TX

    I see alot of cars, alot of shoppers, alot of Airline traffic and alot of construction, etc. Recession!PAAALEESE!When Taxes hit "EVERY" American and Taxes hit "Every" Business and Hillary gives 5000.00 to every Baby born(nice work on buying votes)and the USA goes "Social"....USA was meant for people to work not free ride. Business owners...small or large..get taxed to the max...how are they expected to hire? Tax the Rich(Personal or Businesses)? There will be no rich to hire. Is that so hard to understand.WE ARE THE USA....WE WILL SURVIVE! thats what we do! Come on people....dont buy the Hillary BS.

    October 19, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  19. Billy Houston,TX

    Pardon to Ken......Touche! on your media comment. EXAAAACTTLY!

    October 19, 2007 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  20. Disgusted, Indiana

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am SICK of the constant use of the terms liberal, conservative, left & right. We have all been reduced to something less than human by the tactics both sides use to get what they want. I think neither side can see the forest for the trees, facts and figures have been spun so much, very few people know the truth about anything anymore. Nothing will get better until both sides can set aside their hatred and work together. If we had acted like this in WW2 we would all be speaking german and japanese. Sometimes I am ashamed to call myself an American.

    October 19, 2007 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  21. Demonweed

    I have a question for all those "why do they report this poll and not back it up with hard data about economic realities" folks. Where were you when this "liberal media" was aflutter with polls about the danger from Iraq, a danger that was never supported by anything remotely plausible in physical reality? If only you all had the courage to be critical of media sensationalism when it was aiding and abetting a criminal conspiracy to drag this nation into a protracted and bloody distraction from real counterterrorism operations, we might not now have quite the same sort of monster debt that drives down the value of the dollar and drives up the likelihood of genuine setbacks in the realm of American productivity.

    October 19, 2007 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  22. Rocco, Wellington, Fl

    Half the country thinks the USA is in recession! Let me count the ways,
    Gasoline at $3 a gallon, milk at $4 per gallon crude reaching for $90 a barrel. What more do you need? Oh, mortgage foreclosures at 16 year records, housing slump at 16 year low, 3 million US manufacturing jobs lost overseas since Bush took over this country. Any other questions?

    October 19, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  23. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    Investment is still an important measure as a right of personal control. Three banks: one Federal, one held by the individual State, and one divided for the States Districts allows Senators of that Federal, State, or District level to remove universally marked investment funds for new ‘local’ projects, while a corporate banks investment brokerage agents allow the public as an investing citizen the right to select what projects will be invested in and of which level Federal, State or District the projects are gauged for. The free public investment secured and provisional only after the investment Portfolio’s of a determined project have been approved by the appropriate Senate of interest.

    October 19, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    In a market where stocks are the only exchanged or traded commodity and so must exist as a physical unit such as treasury bonds or currency notes, raw materials, or final consumer product units—in a market where all investments were made directly in a treasury note as a pre-taxation release– when charity was a donated exchange without the possibility of taxation which rates against a personal record of fines– and when and if taxation of the public trust only existed when a service was truly rendered, when and if some public service was assured to be in existence so fulfilling duty, or when a consumer purchases a final use product: the poor and the rich would pay an equally taxed percentage. The rich might even pay more for their standard of living as they would be assigned and expected to pay a great many more licensing and processing fees from the services they receive as land owners and when consuming luxury goods; fees for services and goods which would then possibly be taxed to a premium; and, all this when vices are at a higher tax rate, so set appropriately for its destructive potential with a currency that is taxed with its sale and again on its exchange as purchases with cash verse debit are not recorded.

    One will inevitably die, and so will take a leave from all processions; one can only truly afford privacy. In a world where Billionaires are national leaders and Millionaires are District Managers, and few inherits a life-style that can be maintained without employment.

    October 19, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. James, Phoenix AZ

    Well, James from AZ. Didn't take you long to chime in and get a jab in about Hillary.

    I have NEVER seen a "man" so scared of a woman before.

    I hope she kicks b*tt in '08 just to tick off right-wing nut jobs like you.

    Where are your website references? Are you forming your opinions YOURSELF now? Wow, you are a BIG BOY now!!!

    October 19, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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