December 11th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Economy outpaces war on list of voters' worries

A new poll indicates voters are more worried about the economy than the Iraq war.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – More than half the American public - 57 percent - now believe the nation is in a recession, compared to 42 percent who do not, according to new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday. (Full poll results [PDF])

That number is up significantly from the October survey, when only 46 percent believed the U.S. economy was in recession.

On the question of whether the nation is in recession, the poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percent.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes, "Economic optimism has dropped 12 points since the fall - in September 62% thought economic conditions would get better in 2008 but only 50% feel that way now."

Thanks to that unease, the economy has now topped the war in Iraq as the issue most poll respondents identified as the most important in helping them decide which presidential candidate to support.

Twenty-nine percent of poll respondents said the economy was their top issue, compared with 23 percent who listed the Iraq war – a reversal from October’s results, when 28 percent listed the war and 22 percent pointed to the economy.

On the issues question, the poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll, conducted December 6-9, involved telephone interviews with 1,002 adults.

- Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Concerned Citizen, IN

    This is my favorite. Those with money never say we are in a recession and those without sometimes feel like it.

    When the stock market is down it doesn't mean anything, but when the market is up it means the economy is booming.

    When jobs were lost it was no big deeal but when jobs are added the economy is booming.

    When foreclosures are at an all time high it means nothing, but when everyone was buying houses the economy was booming.

    I love the post about "real negative growth". Let's face the facts. The numbers are ALWAYS manipulated to state your position.

    Fact, there was a surplus when Clinton left office. Fact, there was a terrorist attack on 9/11 that shook up the country. Fact, we rightfully invaded Afghanistan to wipe out the terrorist training camps. Fact, we invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence.

    Fact, Iraq took our eye off Afghanistan where the Taliban is currently resurging. Fact, half of the terrorists on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia and they have not been invaded by the US.

    Fact, the Iraq war, which has cost billions, some of which has been completely lost and unnaccounted for, has turned the surplus into a giant deficit.

    Fact, the government raised the debt ceiling to help finance the war. Fact, much of our debt is held in China, which is a communist country.

    Fact, we still support an embargo on a tiny country called Cuba because they are communist.

    Fact, the dollar is sinking against all foreign currencies, the euro, the candian dollar, etc.

    Fact, free trade has cost American jobs in many places like Detroit.

    Fact, healthcare is spiraling out of control and the US continues to support a for-profit health care system that survives on denials rather than caring for people.

    In the next 10 years the cost of health care and housing will drive the middle class down while the rich get richer on the Bush tax cuts. They will continue to receive health care and housing with no worries while guys like Romney and his millions pretend they know what its like in middle America. A guy whose father was governor and ran for president has no idea what its like in the real world.

    Was he successful? No doubt. Is his mormanism a problem? It shouldn't be. Middle class America should be wary of voting for him because he's a plastic politician in the mold of John Kerry. He even comes with built in flip flopping technology. He will say anything to get elected.

    So tell me, with all of the indicators are we in a recession? People losing their homes and jobs would certainly think so.

    December 11, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Shelley Garcia, Cortez, CO

    I remember all too well "Saint Regan's" recession. I was a single mom, working, and I RECALL what that was like. THIS is not like that YET. BUT we are moving in that direction rapidly. For many, we are there. NOW. This economy is tanking, there's no doubt. But only for the middle and under classes (and I'm speaking finances, not any other issue).

    What's frightening to me is that so many are really struggling and it's a downward slide now.

    It's ANOTHER Bu$h fiasco, unless you are of the "guilded bathroom set".

    It is ANOTHER ON A LONG LIST of reasons to impeach. Again, NOW!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Liberal Chic

    It sucks to make less money, but I hope that at least this issue will help Hillary Clinton, who actually has some ideas about how to run the country instead of just hot air.

    Go, Hillary! Please get your stuff together for Iowa!

    December 12, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  4. Ben from IA

    I for one am much more interested in the opinion of everyday folks, people who really feel the burden on their checkbook, than established Keynesian economists regurgitating useless figures in an attempt to assure us that, despite the pain we're seeing day after day, every thing's really all right.

    We've been trying to control the economy for far too long. The market is about to correct itself, and it's not going to be pretty.

    December 12, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. justin m Reading, pa

    sure a lot of peole don't understand the economy, but you don't have to have a degree in medicine to know when you are sick.

    And when we talk about GDP we need to know more, if one man gains $10 and 9 people lose $1. the economy gained a dollar but I think most people lost, don't you? A Gross Median Product would be a better measure of how the economy is doing. Americans are working hard and long and don't see their families. Or as Robert Reich calls it DINS (dual income, no sex). does anyone else think Inflation is way to high, espcially since the one the media uses does not include food. Waht else do we buy? LOL.

    December 12, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  6. Donald Gordon, Ontario, CA

    Well, technically, we are not in a recession, YET. There are signs indicating that we are headed towards one, though. My family, like many, many other families out there, have found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet recently, what with gas prices and food prices rising and everything. Combine this with all the problems in the housing market and with the easy credit not being thrown around anymore, things have potential to get really ugly.

    December 12, 2007 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. Jason, Chicago, IL

    I believe we are currently in a recession that started in the summer of 2007. I am in the wholesale furniture business and I can tell you our industry is touching on all-time futility.

    That alone doesn't mean we are in a recession of course, but with oil where it is at, with our national debt skyrocketing, with the devaluing of our dollar, with inflation increasing at a rapid rate, with Americans living well beyond their means at high debt levels, and the housing market about to explode on top of everything, our financial outlook isn't exactly rosy.

    More importantly, when a majority of the public thinks we are in a recession, we are in a recession. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. We had the same thing with the housing market. Reports starting coming out questioning the health of the housing industry, and before you knew it, the bubble burst.

    December 12, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  8. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    The GOP posters denying that a recession is going to happen soon, is like the Dems denying that the surge is working in Iraq. Frankly, IMO I think a pending recession is in the works and I think signs point to the surge working.

    December 12, 2007 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  9. mark wilkes barre pa

    How can 57 percent of americans polled believe we are in recession but only 29 percent believe the economy is most important polled ??? this makes no sense CNN. where are the signs of recession that acompany it ?

    December 12, 2007 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  10. mark wilkes barre pa

    Gary detroit Mich,,,,, You owe it to free trade ,,Period Your industry has been in decline for 20 years

    December 12, 2007 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  11. Mark G., BBH, ME

    the only candidate running who understands fully whats up economically is Dr. Paul, a follower of the Austrian school. Youtube his beatdown of Dernake, then tell me he does not deserve to be president.

    December 12, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Laura - Tulsa OK

    Fed. revenue has grown since President Bush's economic plan and tax cuts for all income levels.

    As far as the car industry, unions are making it hard to keep the auto makers competitive .

    December 12, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Ryan Indianapolis

    Are Americans this stupid? Or do they believe everything they read? The GDP last quarter just grew at the fastest pace in more than 6 yrs and people still think we are in a recession cause the press keeps telling people how bad it is. Unemployment is low, earnings is up, the Dow is going to make 12% percent this year, come on people wake up. The press keeps making a stink about the subprime market and how it is bringing down everything. People I am in the brokerage business the Subprime market accounts for less than 6% percent of the overall housing market......6% PERCENT....Stop believing everything you read do some research on your own and stop blaming the WORLDS PROBLEMS on this President,,,,things are not so BAD....

    December 12, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Tom Dedham, Mass

    The economy could have collapsed after the CLINTON recession (not some moron off the streets opinion, but a fact in his last year after the dotcom boom went bust).

    He balanced budgets by GUTTING the military even though we were being ATTACKED all over the world, how'd that work out for us?

    9-11 again should have destroyed us financially, but it didn't.

    Katrina wiped out a state but we plug along still. Local, state and Federal are all to blame for the waste.

    Two wars that indeed cost money, but then freedom isn't free.

    The tax cuts that EVERYONE who PAYS taxes got is one of the few things this knucklehead did that worked.

    The stock market, unemployment and the GDP etc, etc all are at or BETTER than when billyboy left office.

    NAFTA was his puppy, he signed it and it is squeezing the lower and middle class as much as ILLEGALS taking those jobs away from the lower and middle class.

    The people that Hillary supposedly is going to "fight for".

    The losers who bought houses they couldn't afford are the new "help bail me out for being stupid Mr Gubment" and we are ALL going to foot that bill.

    Sell one of your three cars, Wii games, big screen TV's, 80 gig IPODS, IPHONES or one of your 3 cell phones that your family "needs so much".

    CNN, if you want to do a public service, post the FACTUAL economic data and people might then be able to make a decision based on the truth and not what you force feed them into believing.

    Is the economy GREAT, No it is not, but it has been chugging along smoothly and consistently for 7 years DESPITE all that has happened.

    We are going to hear and read for the umpteenth year in a row that the Christmas season was less than expected because of the "bad economy", but when the INTERNET sales are calculated in, it will be another record year and you will then hear and read very little about that.

    I guarantee that.

    December 12, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. charlie houston texas

    If economy is issue #1, then Ron Paul will win. He is the only candidate that understands and could explain why it is harder to make ends meet and save. GDP is 4%, but not really due to inflation. Inflation is not 2%. Your government has lied. They do not calculate food, energy, or housing. Real inflation is closer to 10%. The fed and their rate cuts are the culprit. Just you tube Ron Paul in his debates and his hearings with the Fed.

    December 12, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. N Bronx, NY

    People know that they are having more trouble making ends meet. Gas up, cost of milk up.

    December 12, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. C, Norfolk, VA

    Tom Dedham, Mass:

    Right on Tom!!

    You might include mention of the expodential increase in demand by India and China on the world's market for oil, steel, etc.

    Clinton also decimated the intelligence community.

    Clinton could have hindered the proliferation of al Qaeda by eliminating the terror camps in bad he was unwilling to spend some political capital. Perhaps 9/11 could have been avoided.

    Bottom line, Clinton was a failure despite his ardent attempts to rewrite history.

    December 13, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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