September 22nd, 2008
04:03 PM ET
14 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP takes brunt of blame for economy, Obama gains

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The nation's economic woes appear to be taking a toll on McCain."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll suggests that by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the financial crisis that has swept across the country the past few weeks — one factor that may have contributed to an apparent increase in Barack Obama’s edge over John McCain in the race for the White House.

In the new survey, released Monday afternoon, 47 percent of registered voters questioned say Republicans are more responsible for the problems currently facing financial institutions and the stock market, with 24 percent saying Democrats are more responsible. One in five of those polled blame both parties equally, and 8 percent say neither party is to blame.

Watch: No 'blank check' for Wall Street Obama says

The poll also indicates that more Americans think Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, would do a better job handling an economic crisis than McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. Forty-nine percent of those questioned say Obama would display good judgment in an economic crisis, 6 points higher than the number who said the same about McCain. And Obama has a 10 point lead over McCain on the question of who would better handle the economy overall.

Watch: McCain calls for oversight board

These numbers appear to be affecting the battle for the presidency. Fifty-one percent of registered voters are backing Obama, who now holds a 5 point edge over McCain, at 46 percent. McCain and Obama were tied at 48 percent apiece in the previous CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. Obama's advantage, while growing, is still within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Where did Obama make his gains?

"In two core McCain constituencies: Men, who now narrowly favor Obama. And seniors, who have also flipped from McCain to Obama," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

When including only those people most likely to vote, the results are pretty much the same: Among likely voters, Obama has a 4 point lead, 51 percent to 47 percent.

The new CNN poll of polls also shows Obama with a similar advantage — 49 percent for Obama to 44 percent for John McCain.

"The economy has always been considered John McCain's Achilles’ heel, and the CNN poll of polls started to show an Obama edge in the middle of last week - just as the financial crisis began to hit home for many Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll also expands to include third party candidates. When included in the results, Obama has the backing of 48 percent of likely voters, three points ahead of McCain at 45 percent. Independent Ralph Nader has the support of 4 percent of those polled, with Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney each at one percent.

A couple of other factors in the survey appear to be contributing to Obama's slight rise and McCain's slight drop in the polls. Fifty-three percent of those questioned say McCain, if elected, will mostly carry out the policies of President George W. Bush, who remains extremely unpopular with most Americans. That's up 3 points from our previous poll.

The survey also indicates Obama's recaptured the advantage on "change": Just after the Republican convention, Obama's lead had shrunk to 8 points when voters were asked which candidate would be more likely to bring change. It's now up to 14 points in the new poll.

Another factor could be McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Thirty-five percent of those questioned have an unfavorable opinion of her, up 8 points from our previous survey. And two-thirds believe she and her husband should testify in the Alaska investigation into her firing of a state official.

"Change has always been Obama's strong suit, but McCain and Palin clearly made inroads into that issue during the GOP convention," said Holland. "Palin, in particular, was seen as an agent of change when she made her first appearance on the national stage. That may be changing now."

The poll also sheds more light on how Americans feel about the financial crisis. Twenty-two percent say they are scared about the crisis, with two-thirds concerned. Eleven percent say they are not worried.

Most Americans think that the programs to deal with the financial crisis currently being worked on by Congress and the Bush administration will be unfair to U.S. Taxpayers - but they think those programs will ultimately help the economy.

In general, six in ten believe that federal government should step in and address the financial crisis; 37 percent say the government should stay out. But when it comes to last week's bailouts, support slips to 55 percent - and given the concerns about how future programs will affect taxpayers, it conceivable that public support for the plans that Congress and the administration are working on could fall even lower.

The survey comes out just four days before McCain and Obama face off in the first of three presidential debates. Will the debates make a difference? Probably, since the poll finds that 14 percent of Americans say they haven't made up their minds yet.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, and included interviews of 1,020 Americans, including 909 registered voters and 697 likely voters.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • John McCain
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Obama #1

    Meanwhile Pfotenhustler is trying to say that McCain was a pushing for oversight all along.

    September 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Change?

    McCain....change? Changing his depends is all that I can believe in!

    September 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. J from DC

    They always cry, after they lie. That is why gave $50 to Obama because I am sick of this economy. In November Obama gets my vote. I know John McCain has no idea what to do, because he said the economy was strong when it is not. Now we have to pay so much money to get the banks out of trouble. So, why are we still spending all this money in Iraq? If McCain wins this election, he will keep spending billions every month in Iraq? I don’t think McCain cares how much the war cost, because McCain and his rich friends will keep eating. They are getting their money now (today) in this bailout. While, the rest of us have to wait to see who gets elected. I have friends who say they can’t see themselves voting for Obama, even though they like him. They say they will vote for McCain even though they don’t like him or Palin. They are just Republicans voting the party line. Still, here we all seem to agree on one thing. If Obama don’t win, the rest of us will get nothing, but more taxes. Then, when we lose our jobs, and can’t pay for our homes. They will take them and sell them to someone else, for half the price. It is happening every day, right here, right now, before the election. Obama needs our vote, and our money to win in November. Let’s support him now, before it is too late. As for the Republican, I tell them to vote Obama or Bob Barr if they truly want their party back.

    September 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Dee

    Its so funny that you would say more people blame Republicans when it was the Dems that caused all this but the mainstream media wont report on it bc it makes Obama and the Dems look bad..Do some research people..Bush tried to fix this in 2003 and the Repubs again in 2005 but the Dems blocked it! They are to blame!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Orlando

    The Republicans created this mess with six year in Congress and Now we have a several Generation to Clean it up. No Way to the Republicans Bush/McCain-Palin Ticket.

    September 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Palin has more experience than Obama

    With the dems running congress for the last 6 years I blame both parties.

    September 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    John McCain invented the fiscal crisis.

    September 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.


    Trickle-Down/Supply-Side Republican economics!

    Their policies of deregulation, and abdication of all regulatory responcibilities during the last 8 years have brought on this economic meltdown!

    These reverse Robin-Hood failed economic policies have got to go.

    September 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Frank

    The Republicans ran once more the economy into the ditch – took almost 8 years to accomplish. How many times does somebody have to hit you over the head until you look who is doing that ?

    September 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Billy

    This is called accountability.

    The Republicans have controlled the country for the last 8 years. The mess we are in now are a direct result of Republican policies.

    If the economy were great, they'd take the credit. So, since the economy sucks, they deserve the blame.

    Let's hold them accountable and put a new party in charge for a while.

    September 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    It is the gospel of St. Ron Reagan taken to it's ultimate ugly conclusion: No Regulation= No Oversight plus Greed =Death of Capitalism.


    September 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |

    Obama could've shown us just how much better he would be on the economy last week, but decided to do nothing. grow a pair- everyone knows that if McCain did the same thing, he would've been crucified for it, but alas the almighty, messianic, Obama need not worry about being held to the same standard. Hillary should've won, at least John McCain would've had more of a man to compete against.

    September 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Dave

    PALIN IS A SHAMELESS LIAR!! Obama never "attacked her family", he was the one who defended it!! He said that Palin's family and espcecially children should be off limits!


    September 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Shari, NY

    This a.m. I saw a cute little old white lady walking down the street wearing an "Obama 08" pin adorned with jewels. Well, who said that seniors have lost it?

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Jude

    Repubs...have only themselves to're the one who have caused the economy to spiral stop blaming others and start taking responsibility.....unless of course some of you still think "The fundamentals of our economy is strong". By the way...what the heck is the difference between that and saying "Our economy is fundamentally strong"? Exactly...they mean the same thing!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Rodger

    If Obama was white, he would be up by 20 points. Wake up America!!
    The Republican have made a mess and promise more of the same.
    Obama is the brightest star on the political scene since JFK, embrace him, things can only get better!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Morgan

    Deregulation allowed business to take advatage of the people. That's the Republican strategy for economics. We shuold blame them. Now they want to do it for Health Care?

    No way!

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Mary

    Old Man McCain have an "Ace"!!
    He is WHITE.
    This guy should not win based on all the factors except for this Ace.
    America is still sleeping!!
    What will it take for them to wake up??

    God Help Us All!!

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.



    Obama/Biden in 2008 and beyond!

    September 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Anderson Dallas Texas Obama 08

    It's true that the Republicians put us out there , like that ..Left us open for whatever .......

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |



    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Heather

    FINALLY! Finally people are beginning to figure it out! If you didn't like the last 8 years of Bush, you won't like the next 4 years of McSame!

    Obama/Biden in 08!

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Mike in California

    The hell you say!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. John, FL

    I talk to a lot of seniors who favor Obama over McCain. It's great.

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Reese

    Hmmm. CNN's other poll states that 88% of CNN viewers are Democrats.

    Biased much?

    How is Obama ahead with the financial crisis? LOL He only said that he needed more time to come up with a plan.

    That shows you that this country is not only being run by idiots like Pelosi, but that CNN pollsters who like Obamas plan are complete and useless morons.

    September 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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