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. Dave Peachtree City Georgia

    Why don't you tell the real numbers instead of "make believe" numbers? What are the REAL numbers on the economy? You told us the definition of a recession,so how does that relate to the real numbers of our economy?

    October 18, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. G Sullivan, East Long, MA

    How was the question worded?

    October 18, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. JB, Covina CA

    How can we be in recession? The Government says everything is fine and inflation is low. Dont you believe the Government? And the major news media? They would never tell lies or misrepresent the facts would they? Open your eyes folks. You are being fed a load of garbage. This country is in big trouble and the news media and our elite liars in Congress and the White House dont want you to wake up to the truth.

    October 18, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Paul - Fresno, CA

    Hmm, what happened to my post that was critical toward your silly article? There wasn't anything even remotely offensive in it. I simply pointed out that while you were busy writing five sentences defining what a recession is, that you might have also wanted to do a little research and point out that we have 22 quarters of consecutive growth.
    It would be useful to point out when the general public is uninformed and mistaken. That's what news organizations should do.

    October 18, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Tim in Memphis, TN

    "Nearly half think U.S. in recession" – nearly half are ignorant and uninformed (I'm being nice)?

    Maybe that "nearly half" gets all their news from CNN, and that's why!

    October 18, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. G. Quinn

    And from what source do Americans get information about a: what does “recession” mean?, and b: what are the current facts about the economy?

    October 18, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. J.Crobuzon

    What's the differerence between a recession and a depression?
    During a recession, your neighbor loses his job. During a depression, you lose your job.
    I heard last night Bush's approval rating was down to 22% after he vetoed SCHIP. Quack loud, lame duck.

    October 18, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. straighttalker

    The current expansion is longer than six other postwar expansions. Few critics would have forecast that the current expansion would be entering its seventh year, especially in 2003, when there was exaggerated political fussiness about a so-called “double-dip” recession.

    The consumer price index (CPI) increased 6.2 percent in 1973, 11 percent in 1974, and 9.1 percent in 1975. Today’s inflation rate is tame by comparison, increasing 2.3 percent in 2003 and 2.7 percent in 2004. The CPI has increased 2.4 percent in 2005 and has held steady since. The analogy that the economic dems attempt to draw between today’s events and those of the mid-1970s is weak at best.

    Contrary to what the Dems are telling us, the U.S. economy, about to enter its seventh consecutive year of expansion, should never be underestimated.

    October 18, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Carl

    In dollar denominated terms, we have been in a recession and things are getting worse. In fact, subracting the effects of devalued currency and inflation, the stock indexes are as low as in the 1980s.


    October 18, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Scott Gramman, Indianapolis, IN

    This proves CNN surveys complete and utter IDIOTS. Don't belive anyting that says "...in a new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll." I can't believe CNN admits they call idiots when conductiong these pulls. If you are one of those who believe we are in a recession, please move to Cuba or Iran or China, or Mexico. You'll feel more at home there.

    October 18, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Stan, Arbuckle, CA

    I kept reading the article, looking for the part where CNN talks about the real numbers...then the article ended.
    Rush, Hannity et al are cons but admit it, CNN has a liberal agenda but calls it journalism. We're all doomed!!

    October 18, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Aaron, Bloomington, IL

    Good job letting the readers know we're NOT in a recession. I guess it only matters what people think, not what the facts are. Thankfully people can reply to this garbage.

    October 18, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Ken, Newport News, VA

    CNN reports that nearly half of all Americans think we're in a recession – but CNN does not report the objective and verifiable fact that we are not, in fact, in a recession.

    Yesterday CNN reported that a majority of Americans favor overriding President Bush' veto of the Democrats' massive expansion of the SCHIP program. But the CNN poll was based on Democrat spin rather than an explanantion of what the Democrats were actually trying to do. The proof is that a USA Today poll revealed that when the expansion of the program is explained, a majority favor the President's position.

    With biased agenda-driven reporting like CNN's, it's no wonder that so many Americans are misinformed.

    October 18, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. D. Lewis, Reno, NV

    Apparently, the individual posts here haven't figured out that the figures you are looking at are not legitimate. This is geared to make the markets move. In reality, inflation is out of control. Look at gold prices. This isn't just because of geopolitics. Oil is through the roof because of speculators and because are dollar isn't worth the value of the paper its printed on. Our markets are artificially inflated by the insiders so they can take your money. See how carefully the news articles are released so as to motivate the little people and the uninformed to make decisions just so that people with real money can take it from you. Wake up people. Do your own research.
    Do not look at the numbers. They are not legitimate and are only there to mislead you. If you don't believe me follow the recommendations you hear on CNBC and watch what happens to your money.

    October 18, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Joe, Evansville IN

    I guess for CNN to correct the story on how people are wrong about the recession, they would also have to give President Bush credit for the economic plan of cutting taxes to end the previous recession left by Clinton and to have the economy growing for 5 years, during war time no less. Thus we are left with a story that just shows a majority of people are ignorant of economic fact...wonder if these same people all vote Democrate?

    October 18, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Smith, ABQ NM

    Its a great economy for investors – there are lots of people with more money than they know what to do with driving up the price of investments far above their value.

    When it comes to the real economy most Americans live in, you bet its in recession. The real jobless rate is hidden behind those who've exhausted their benefits, job creation is abyssmal, wages for the lower 60% of Americans has been stagnant for the last six years. We've replaced our manufacturing base with telemarketing, and now were are offshoring telemarketting.

    The US economy in not in recession in the same way Bill Gates and I have an average of 14 billion in wealth.

    October 18, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Tim, Chicago IL

    Brilliant. The story does not take the press to task for a populace so ill-informed about the economy. And of course links the economy to Bush's low approval rating without mentioning Congress' (Pelosi and Reid) even lower approval rating. CNN is a joke. If Drudge hadn't link this I would never have read it.

    October 18, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Derek. WIlmington NC

    If someone is in economic difficulty, it's most likely that person's responsibility and not the government's responsibility. It's just too easy to switch responsibility in this age of government bashing.

    October 18, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. J H Hill, Orlando, Fl

    This poll simply shows the ignorance of the American people.
    Why did Cnn omit the economic data that shows that our economy is in a robust state?

    October 18, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Oliver

    Apparently not one of you has noticed the slide in the 50% + slide in the value of the 'dollar'. One way to hide a recession is to devalue the currency and protect the last 36% that like the current Bush regime.

    October 18, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. TR Bobby Austin, TX

    K Reed- You are correct (except for spelling negative wrong)! Why do we waste so much time on people's feelings? If I "feel" like my house is on fire when it isn't, should I keep calling the fire department? People would be much better off if they stopped listening to media hype and used their brain instead. But I guess I am being unrealistic...

    October 18, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Glenstapo, Grapevine, Texas

    The Democrats and their Public Enlightenment agents have done a masterful job. Goebbels would be proud.

    October 18, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Steve Parks, St. Joseph, Missouri

    Are there no economists available to CNN? If this is a recession, let's have more of it.

    No wonder FOX NEWS has overtaken CNN in Cable News.

    October 18, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. John S Chicago, IL

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE ARE NOT IN A RECESSION!! Since CNN didn't care to announce that, I felt we should. Mr. Bush in fact inherited a recession, the dot.com crash, and for God's sake 911!! That by itself is enough to destroy the economy of most countries!! Fortunately with tax cuts spurring growth, and some smart moves by the fed, we now have 4% unemployment and 20+ quarters of successive growth. I for one, being self-employed now have good health insurance because I'm making more money!! Count me in the 36% approval. He's not perfect, but he cuts taxes and kills the bad guys. Not reasons with them....kills them.

    October 18, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Mike, Westminster, MD

    Note to Carl: Your glass is 2% empty.

    October 18, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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