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. Rod Charlotte,NC

    I don't believe the 36% number on Bush is accurate so why would I even listen to this crap about a Recession. The fact is polls do not give us any accuracy because those sampled aren't clearly defined and the results are often weighted by the types of questions asked which may have nothing with the representation of those results by the media.
    Bush is a horrible president and its clear that a large marjority are totally fed up with his administration and policy.

    October 19, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    What half is that CNN? The half that you allow to comment and agree with you?

    October 19, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Buddy, Jackson, MS

    Remember, that the only conservative CNN has on air is Glen Beck. I watch his show nightly.
    CNN reaches only 501,000 viewers:

    So, CNN is a non factor. It appeals to the left wing MoveOn.org crowd.

    Bottom line: only a tiny audience,ergo,who cares what they do/say.

    October 19, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Rainlillie, Los Angeles, CA

    Only a reputhug would think the country is not in a recesion. Stupid single cell bush-bots can't figure the truth out because they are right wingers.
    Bush and his republiKKKan supporters ruined the country, clinton fixed what raygun and daddy bush did.

    October 19, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Terrance Richmond, VA

    I find it interesting that so many of the comments here are posting (correctly) that we are not in a recession. It seems to me that this is proof that the people who are even mildly knowledgable about our economy are reading articles on our economy. The 46 percent of Americans who (according to this poll) believe that we are in a recession are not represented here. The intelligent people of America continue to educate themselves and stay abreast of the news, the ignorant masses do not, the proof is in the pudding (or the polling, as the case may be).

    October 19, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Shayne Dobbins Marietta, GA

    And just who in our country is responsible for informing the people of the truth of the situation that we have been in an economic expanision since November 2001?

    That would be the press! Oh wait, CNN is part of the press. When is the last time CNN ran a story that explained the truth of the current state of the economy?

    October 19, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Kevin, LA CA

    I help a non-profit charity in my spare time, and it is truly astounding to find how desperate the economy is, when most Americans can not donate even 10 dollars in a whole year to sick and dying children. Everyone seems to be bankrupt and broke.

    October 19, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    The liberal comments here are funny.

    They basically all state, "Well, yes, we're not TECHNICALLY in a recession, but it feels like it." Well, I'd say, your feeeeeeeeeeeelings are wrong.

    I swear, if you handed these people a glass 98 percent full of water, they'd bemoan the fact that it's "2 percent empty."

    Apparantly to these people, behind every silver lining is a cloud.

    It's like discussing happiness with Eeyore. They're called anti-depressants, my liberal friends... you really should look into taking some.

    October 19, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Donna K Tulsa Ok

    You may call the current situation whatever you want but the facts show the dishonesty and greed in our current and past governments. The wasteful spending,; the misuse of our tax money to the great deficit in the social security system; an unfair tax system; the "incentives" given to the employers of this country to send our jobs overseas and help employers to employ illegal immigrants by making a decision not to inform employers of non matching social security numbers, etc .(which cannot fuel OUR country's economy but certainly is a huge help in funding the governments of these other countries). They refuse of seal our borders leaving us vulnerable to the so called injustices that our people are dying in other countries for. There is no livable minimum wage; it is impossible for anyone but the wealthy to afford insurance, healthcare, medication, etc; and not but least the largest American debt so far. How can we expect to trust ANYONE currently representating us. Checking the incumbent's voting records will show exactly where their priorities stand and with the lack of term limits in congress, why would they care what we think. They seem to be pretty comfy and cozy with their current positions. And afterall, we the people who pay their salaries, have let this go way to long. If you think this country is not in serious trouble, maybe you should look around.

    October 19, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Earl, Loganville, GA

    All this poll measures is how is the liberial propaganda doing. Seeing most Americans get their daily news from Entertainment Tonight and the like, CNN needed to see what was the effect they were having on the public idiots who watch television. This proves that 46% of the people watch stupid programs that make them think we are in a recession. So very, very sad. And being stupid is not limited to race.

    October 19, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Brian, Neenah, WI

    Posted By Rocco, Wellington, Fl : October 19, 2007 7:30 am

    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.

    I just paid 2.89 for a gallon of gas, $2.50 for a gallon of milk. Whoop-te-do!

    Not that prices have much to do with if you're in a recession or not, unless you compare them with prices (in adjusted dollars) for the same goods over a period of time.

    Which you didn't.

    October 19, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Brian, Neenah, WI

    Kevin, LA CA : October 19, 2007 12:26 pm

    I help a non-profit charity in my spare time, and it is truly astounding to find how desperate the economy is, when most Americans can not donate even 10 dollars in a whole year to sick and dying children. Everyone seems to be bankrupt and broke.

    Perhaps your charity is simply not doing what it can to pull in the dollars? Or people have decided to pay 10 dollars a year to a charity they feel is more worthy of their money.

    Not every charity is equal – perhaps you should look to your selves for the blame.

    October 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Jason, Boston, MA

    When Hilary is elected, this reported recession will turn into rainbows and candy. The CNN Ministry of Truth will apply some doublethink, toss a few articles down the memory hole, and tell us all that her highness created the biggest boom in history. There's always a recession when a Republican is President, you fools!

    October 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Brett Kottmann. Centerville, OH

    Here's an idea: if you stopped telling people the US was in a recession they might stop thinking it was!

    But then again a recession helps the Democrats in 2008, right? So a recession it will be!

    Sad, so...sad.

    October 19, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Bob, Papillion NE

    Well...there we go again, CNN making news out of what some people think. And then an attempt to correlate those feelings to the President's approval ratings. I prefer facts, and my read is that the economy is in pretty good shape. Oh, and our Legislative Branch of govt isn't too well-thought-of now either (worse than Mr Bush), but that's for another story.

    October 19, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. r schier norwalk,ct

    "Here's an idea: if you stopped telling people the US was in a recession they might stop thinking it was!"

    Posted By Brett Kottmann. Centerville, OH

    HaHa...what a knee-slapper....and we'll tell all the banks to stop telling people they have no money left in their accounts, and all the credit cards are maxed out, and there's no home equity left to borrow against, and even walmart has no jobs, and.............

    October 19, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. John from America

    Well all you GOP economists – no recession heh, look at the stock market today! Corporate profits down, job down, stocks down! Yes, I know good old George and his GOP cronies stuffed a lot of PORK in the RED states over the past 6 years and with those good paying Technical Welfare jobs you all must be feeling pretty fine. Well, the wheel will turn and when we close those worthless pork barrel jobs in your districts and you have to live like the rest of America, let's see how you feel then.

    October 19, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Demonweed

    There is a demented fringe of pseudo-economists convinced that the only difference between boom and bust times is how fanatically people cling to economic optimism. Buffoons like Neil Cavuto openly admit that their "economic analysis" is always deliberately skewed toward an overall positive picture based on some warped notion it is patriotic to be an economic cheerleader.

    Perhaps there is a place for this sort of behavior, but it should -never- be passed off as news and information programming. Willful optimism is a smoke screen that obstructs useful realism. From the largest businesses to the smallest households, financial planning gets the best results when it is informed by the best available information.

    Some of our present economic weaknesses (devalued currency, mortgage market chaos, etc.) are a direct result of this drumbeat of mindless optimism. Mindful realism will not always paint a dim picture, but when so many people have gone so long letting their economic outlook be shaped chiefly by their political identity, the aftermath is full of ugly truths. Real civic duty in economic journalism demands honest evaluation, not perpetual rose-colored glasses.

    October 19, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Levi, Seattle, WA

    Finally we get some economic reality instead of pro-business/pro-Wall Street FICTION. The U.S. economy is in awful shape. Wages are stagnant, resulting in more and more consumer debt for the rock bottom basics like food and rent.
    Good jobs are being shipped overseas and we're bogged down in an enormously expensive (and hopeless) war. Amazing how we can somehow afford to rebuild Iraq, yet we can't afford to rebuild New Orleans. Does that make any sense to you?
    Don't believe the 4.6% unemployment figure either. As all Americans should know, economic stats are easily doctored (especially around election time) and do not reflect economic reality. This country is in a recession. And unless you're an idle millionaire or billionaire, it's always in recession.
    Hordes of illegal aliens are doing plenty of damage to our working classes as well. Both political parties are lackeys for the idle rich and corporations. What a mess!

    October 19, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Brian, Neenah, WI

    HaHa…what a knee-slapper….and we'll tell all the banks to stop telling people they have no money left in their accounts, and all the credit cards are maxed out, and there's no home equity left to borrow against, and even walmart has no jobs, and………….
    Posted By r schier norwalk,ct : October 19, 2007 3:44 pm

    I have a comfortable amount of cash in my savings account. My credit cards are paid up. I have equity in my house to borrow against. The Wal-Mart in town is hiring.

    If your cards are maxed out and you have no savings in your account – and if you're looking for work at Wal-Mart – the problem is with you, Sir, not the economy.

    October 19, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. Pete, Seattle, WA

    2008 Presidential Candidate Weekly Poll


    Results posted Tuesday Evening at Midnight.

    October 20, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. K T Cat, San Diego, Ca

    Geeze, Steinhauser, if you lived in Las Vegas the health department would be checking you for STDs with all the tricks you turn for the Democrats.

    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.

    Nothing at all about Congress, eh? I can just hear you moaning in Hillary's arms right now. "Ooh, yeah, baby, you're the best I've ever had."

    You may not be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, but at least the pay is good.

    By the way, Congress' approval ratings are half that of the Nazis.

    October 20, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Larry Portland, Oregon

    I believe that much of what is affecting the economy adversely is the current oil prices. Currently the price is $98 per barrel. When are we going to hold the greedy oil companies and their investors accountable for their actions? Free enterprise is the American way, but we should not allow the prices to adversely affect the economy. Current oil prices are an obvious case of price gouging.

    November 7, 2007 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  24. Eric

    I work in the construction industry and I believe we headed for a recession, since most eveyone on here is so high on the bush administration name one thing he has done to save this economy. He has paid for a war we should not be in, he has oil prices right where his friends want them, and the NEW JOBS HE SPEAKS SO HIGHLY ABOUT CREATING NOT ONE PERSON ON HERE COULD LIVE OFF OF THE PAY THAT GOES WITH THESE JOBS. This is the whole problem with or country now and has been forever we can't look past the bs this govt feeds us and see that we need to kick all the old career politians out of office and change our thoughts on how we run our country. Instead all anyone can do is talk about how great the guy they voted for is, well he is not great the one before him was not great and the after him will not be great until the people of my generation and my kids generation kick all you old a!@ people out of the white house and not allow you to vote for anyone over 48 years of age. If you people and the people that think there guy is or was the greast president ever tell everyone of the younger generations who wont have the benefits the old generation has now what he did to make this country better. Politicians are the reason we pay more gas, more income tax, and more for healthcare. I love my country I FOUGHT FOR IT I HATE THE ONE WHO RUN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. mike

    I had to read some of the comments twice to make sure we were all talking about the same thing. Some of the comments are even racist.
    The numbers speak for themselfves, take all the economical factors at the end of term of ANY republican president and compare it to ANY democrat president.
    If you like to see the country in great deficit, in war, poverty, struggling diplomatically to impose itself as the world police to camouflage personal interest, then vore republican. If you want the country to be seen as the only economical power, peace maker, and last hope for the free world .. vote democrat.
    Please, do NOT post here your love for Bush and his administration, as you will pass for a liar or an complete retard. You cannot state that you enjoyed the ride with Bush, unless you profits from the recession like his friends.

    January 21, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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