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. Chris, Chicago, IL

    The 46% of Americans who are out of touch with reality and obviously have no clue about the economy are probably the ones who will be casting votes for Obama and Hillary. Let's hope the logical 51% will vote the other way. Thanks for reporting the ignorance of the public, but how about being objective and presenting the true facts about the strong economy? This is CNN though, so I won't hold my breathe.

    October 18, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Sure, the stock market is going up, employers are hiring, and business (AKA large corporations) are making more and more money. So while the economy is doing great, the average American isn't, so they believe that we are in a recession.

    People's perceptions are very skewed due to the fact that actual income for the majority of Americans has been on the decline. The price of goods and services has gone up. And not just luxury items, but food, housing, fuel, and health care have increased exponentially, while incomes have remained steady or declined. The dollar has been consistently been devalued, even Canadian currency is worth more than your dollars.

    So while the economy and the 1% of Americans that have 25% of the wealth are doing great, the majority is getting the shaft in this new economy.

    October 18, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Ben Greenspan

    Update: Over 90% of the people polled can't correctly define what a recession is.

    October 18, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Andy, Huntington NY

    Whi the hell cares what half of Americans think? Why is that news and why do I tune in here to find you morons just passing information along without qualifying it. You and media outlets who do this same thing are the reason that half of Americans are so misinformed. If I couldn't add or subtract, I might think that home ownership is currently a losing proposition because the value of my house has "dwindled"–to use a CNN term by 4% over the last few months, even though the long term appreciation has more than tripled my investment in 10 years.

    It simply isn't enough to pass along information. It also isn't enough to spin the information. Is there any source of news that cares anything about a thoughtful interpretation of current events so that Americans don't have to be experts in everything to sort anything out...besides "The Economist" magazine?

    The state of the media in America is embarassing. You and others like you should be ashamed. The right wing crackpots on the radio are also nuts, but no worse. They just "talk uglier".

    October 18, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. the nationalist

    It is obvious that the economy has been in steep decline for the last four years. Jewelry went up in price by forty percent from just last year alone. Inflation is at 12% per annum, if you INCLUDE cost of food and fuel. The car industry is crashing and burning. Credit spending is off the charts. More people don't OWN their homes, more people OWE for the houses they reside in. Actual pay scale has declined while finished products actually cost more in hours to ownership comparison tables.

    More people have to have two jobs for the one that they lost due to globalist hucksterism and propaganda. With illegal aliens taking American jobs for lower wages the actual wages have dropped significantly. And now the entire financial system is on the edge of a grand canyon of collapse because of the greedy, exploitive, international bankers and their cronies in the Fed, legislature and executive branches.

    October 18, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Chris, Wallingford CT

    The reason why people think that we are in a recession is because the economy overall is not doing well. Yes I know some of you may think otherwise, what with the stock market doing so well........ and that's exactly where you're going wrong. Yes, the BUSINESS economy is doing great. The economy as a whole is not doing well though, because those that actually have to work for a living are finding themselves less and less able to do so. This whole situation proves that Reagan's "trickle down" effect doesn't work, so I really can't understand why there's still anyone who thinks that conservatives are going to be able to fix anything when the shining example of a conservative president is dead wrong.

    October 18, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Kramer, Carlsbad CA

    It is really scary when you realize that Hillary & company will stop a nothing to get power. This nation is really really ill. How sad it has come to this point. It makes me want to puke.

    What young person in their right mind would join the military and put their life on the line for this nation. America has become a cesspool.

    I loath liberals...

    The draft will return if Hillary becomes POTUS. The military will not be able to retain people and nobody will join.

    I believe in late term abortion for liberal babies.

    October 18, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Jim, St. Louis, MO

    When you show that the majority of blacks think we are in a recession are you just trying to show they are uneducated or unknowlegable. What exactly are you trying to say because that fact is....we are not in a recession. And who really cares what blacks think? Why don't we see what the Japanese/Americans think. Blacks are not even the larges minority group as Hispanics have surpassed them. CNN works hard to keep a racial divide between blacks and every other ethnic group. I am sure this will not get posted either as CNN loves covering up the truth.

    October 18, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Miranda White, San Antonio, TX

    Guys, why are we so defensive about the poll results? Why is it about liberal or not?

    OK, say we are not in recession, we would love to say that we are not going to be ever in recession, BUT ….. our trade deficit is paramount and getting worse. How much money do we owe from China, for instance, do you think? Geeeee ... let's look at the government's official figures:

    For 2007 (as of August), US EXPORTS to China is ONLY US$41,230.200,000 (US$41.2 billion), IMPORTS from China is 205,062.300,000 (US$205 billion), trade deficit with China is US 163,832,000,000 (US$163.8 billion). Just imagine by the end of the year .... how can we balance the trade? Close down Walmart and other importing giant businesses?

    BTW ... that's only China, not yet India etc.

    Let's educate ourselves by learning the facts the official source:

    October 18, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Rick, Baltimore, MD

    Want some whine with that cheese?? Screw CNN!

    October 18, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. J. White Venice, FL

    If you want the real data, go to http://www.bea.gov/. That will explain why CNN fails to exhibit factual journalism: The FACTS don't support their assumptions.

    October 18, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. duhhh

    This is why we do not want enforced voting laws like Europe. Stupid people should not be allowed to vote. Forget the picture ID, an IQ test should be the requirement..

    October 18, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Mario, Miami, Florida

    I can't believe the liberal media does not recognize the fact that the economy is doing just fine and focus only on the negative aspects of it. Every day there is only bad news being reported. The contradiction exists when the actual numbers are shown. It seems like news sources like CNN are determined to influence the psyche of the American people to vote democrat in the next election. To CNN and the rest of the drive-byes, the only way America must be is to the left.

    I would like to see less biased on your news reporting.

    October 18, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Gray Port Richey FL

    Under President Clinton the media constantly informed the masses that this is greatest economy in the history of the United States. Under President Bush the economy is chirping along as well as the past decade yet you never hear a positive comment out of he main stream media. The economy has been solid since the Reagan era.

    October 18, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. matt, philly, pa

    What a great article. And don't you just love how the "bad economy" mantra self perpetuates amongst those that want to believe it? I was reading the student newpaper published by my college alma mater (a Big Ten university) and recently read a number of student opinions about how "this is one of the worst economies we've seen". Huh? Where do they get this information? I don't know, probably by watching the Comedy Channel's Colbert and Stewart relentlessly bash the President and the state of the nation which is then echoed by these sorts of articles that report half (or less) of factual data. I guess if you repeat what you want to believe long enough you'll eventually convince yourself it's true.

    October 18, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Mia


    What would it take for you to realize that not everyone views the world with your tunnel vision? Left-wing media is any article that you don't agree with. Are you ever wrong?

    October 18, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Randall, Washington DC

    The answer to "why is CNN creating a false issue" can be answered by looking at the banner at the top of the web page:

    Clinton News Network

    (i.e., it helps Hillary)

    October 18, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Jay

    The results of this poll reflect the constant grousing and pessemism progated by the left and mainstream media. I predict that global warming will suddenly be fixed once Hillary is elected.

    October 18, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. roy Alabaster, AL

    A recession is inevitable, and could have been forseen. Housing was overbuilt, and terms of mortgages too generous. If one lost health insurance or a job, house could not be maintained. Also decline in dollar was forecast, and that meant a credit crunch. Growth in GDP did not greatly exceed growth in labor supply. Profits for businesses did not pass on to workers who are the ones who support the economy. Bush mismanaged economy just as he mismanaged Iraq.

    October 18, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. dwowens

    The most telling element of this story is that it never says that we're NOT in a recession. Someone who doesn't know better would read this article and conclude that we ARE in a recession. I bet if you approached people on the street they would read this article and walk away thinking that 1) a recession is defined by a poll like this and therefor 2) we are in a recession.

    What horrible reporting. But then, not too surprising considering it's reporting like this that likely led to the poll results in the first place.

    Remember all the "Bush will be the first president to lose jobs during his administration" stories every time there was a new job loss report out? Funny how I haven't seen any stories since the job losses turned into gains.

    October 18, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    Let’s see;

    (1) Unemployment is about 5% nationally (although lower here in Florida);
    (2) Record low interest rates still prevail;
    (3) Stock market is soaring;
    (4) You’re paying lower taxes than you did under President Clinton.

    If you think the economy is bad now, wait until Queen…umm, I mean President Hillary is in office and she raises your taxes for income redistribution.

    October 18, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Guess what CNN, if you haven't noticed, people who aren't sheep or enjoy critical thinking took you to task for this purposeful and deceitful "story".

    45 postings already and 43 GOTCHA!

    What's it like getting you head handed to you by regular folks?

    October 18, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. Joe, Portland OR

    "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."

    Good thing I don't buy my eggs and milk in euros...

    October 18, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Brian, Everett, Washington

    The poll measures how effective the media has been in convincing the public of something that is not true. The poll also shows that those who watch the leftist media are the least informed, have the least understanding of what a recession means, and what percentage considers media editorial comment as fact. Other observations include that this reveals how effective our public schools are at placing (socialist) indoctrination above education. I would also add that people who are this disconnected from reality end up poor in high percentages as the real world is nothing like their opinions would lead them to believe. This disconnect leaves them dazed and confused about how to climb the economic ladder. The media should be indicted for malpractice for giving the Kool-Aid to so many people, it is truly a disservice to those who bought into it.

    October 18, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    Put the blame where it belongs. A 20 trillion not 20 billion hole in the housing market caused by greedy bankers, greedy real estate agents and greedy housing developers. But they will all declare bankruptcy and be back in business the next day.

    October 18, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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