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. go away mongers-Ventura ca

    It IS the republicans who put us in this crisis! They have also put us in a very difficult situation with regards to foreign policy(war in Iraq)Education (No Child Let Behind?), Healthcare (they sat we're on our own), and our standing in the world (people who used to respect us don't anymore).
    Anyone with any intelligence will NOT for for a republican this time.
    They had their chance and they blew it BIG TIME!
    Eight is (more than)ENOUGH!

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Bruce

    IF McCain/Palin get elected get out the caardborad boxes, because we will all be living in them....

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Jim in Atlanta

    The uniformed can blame the Republicans all they want, but the fact of the matter is that the sub prime market was spurred on by the Community Reiventment Act. This "liberal" law with good intentions but horrible consequences established requirements that banks needed to provide loans to "poor" areas and the people who lived in those areas. Noble practice, but when the people with poor credit histories and no means to repay the money couldn't repay their loans it didn't seem like such a good idea anymore. Hence we now have a major catastrophe on our hands as a result. More bad liberal theory gone wrong. When will they ever learn.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Small Town Person for Obama

    The verdict is in, and the other shoe has finally dropped. For months, us common folk have wondered why the stock market hasn't been reflecting what we know to be true in oru daily lives – something is going terribly wrong. The Republic philosophies regarding economic principles of deregulation and unapologetically catering to the whims of corrupt big business. We're now all going to pay dearly for this. It's time to send a message to Washington. This small-towner is voting Obama/Biden for the financial security of my family/country.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Lewis

    I hope the American people vote on the issues and not race. We are begining to see the most powerful country in the world fall behind.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. tim

    Didn't McCain look scary and like an angry, old man this weekend on the 60 Minutes interview. UGH!

    Isn't oversight and regulation basically the same. Wait a few weeks and he will call it "Wall Street Watchdog Politics" or something like that.

    Just because Palin is meeting with Karzai doesn't mean she's an expert on foreign affairs. Way to throw a blanket on her blatant lack of experience!

    Hey, McCain! Stop lying! Obama accepted donations from Fannie and Freddie Mac employees, not from the companies themselves! I believe that McPain accepted donations too.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Graaf

    McCain preached deregulation less government intervention, and he has changed his tune. All businesses would try to turn a profit by whatever legal (not necessarily ethical) means possible. A lesson for John McCain Human Nature + Business + Deregulation = greed (The first five letters in deregulation) + main street holding the bill.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Cheryl in Florida

    Of course we blame the Republicans for the current financial crisis; who has been in charge for the last 8 years giving tax breaks to the people that make the most, big corporations and oil companies, deregulating instead of putting safeguards in place and giving no bid contracts to their cronies. Remember when casting your ballot that McCain, even though he has tried to distance himself from the current administration, voted 90% of the time with Bush. Think back to what the economy was like when the Democrates left office and what it is like after 8 yrs of corrupt Republicans.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. gEnie

    Their's no doubt Obama/Biden is a great choice to lead this country. I hope people start to think what's the best for their family. We're hurting already so it's time to vote the right President to make this Country a better place to live.

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. al in memphis

    Everybody is asking the average Joe or Jane for financial support. One side of their mouth is talking about how difficult it is on the average American worker to buy gas or pay mortgage, and the other is asking for donations or bailing out corporations.

    Our political and financial crisis make us look awfully silly to the rest of the world – a world that use to look to us for leadership. I guess military might can't buy you as much as it use to - See former Soviet Union for examples

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Ironically, the very regulations that the Republicans have been systematically dismantling for the past 20 years were the very regulations that were put in place after the crash of 1929 to help protect financial institutions and investors alike. Its only fair that the Republicans take it on the chin – just like they did in the election of 1932. (We're talkin 70 Democratic senators and 5 Democratic presidential terms in a row?)

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Moms for Obama

    My husband is going to help Obama Campaign this weekend in Las Vegas. My husband is white, over 40, professional, well educated. He said to me Obama is the one will bring a better future for our children.

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. John from White Plains, NY

    Thank God Americans are coming to their senses. Clearly, McCain is out of touch...7 houses/13 cars ....oh, and by the way, he thinks that the fundamentals of the ecomony are strong.. Get real...

    Change is on the way...

    Obama/Biden - all the way!!

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. WI Cheesehead

    America think really hard, we have a $10 billion/month war in Iraq being swiped on a “chinese credit card”, we have a $700 billion deal being worked on to bailout some boneheaded deregulation decisions that no one is willing to take responsibility for. Sooner or later reality will set in when you realize the only thing America will be able to sell to the rest of the world is debt yes debt to offset the huge deficit to fund this adventurous war in Iraq as well as our so called deregulation that has packaged us into socialism. When no one wants to buy American debt anymore then your 2nd amendment will come in really handy.

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. ednadavid

    Do not mess with people's money!!

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Proud Obama Supporter

    I can't understand why Obama isn't up by at least 10 points giving the situation right now. Hope he wins cause I can't stand Republicans.

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Captain Kirk

    True Americans will put their country first and push their closet bigotry by the wayside. We must not only concern ourselves with today's course of events but how these measures will impact our childrens future.

    Country First
    Obama/Biden '08

    Capt Kirk
    Memphis, Tn.

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. IowaChad

    It's no shock. People are waking up and realizing that McSame = a continuation of bad policies (i.e. deregulation, tax cuts for rich people, drilling for oil). Also, the shine has started to come off of Sarah Failin', and will continue to do so the more she speaks.

    Slick advertising and PR only work for so long, then people want truth & reality. It actually matters that you have the right positions. It actually matters that you know something.

    Obama/Biden '08!

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Shane

    I can tell Obama is gaining because the rethuglican attacks are becoming more vicious!

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Elle

    I'm glad to see people starting to wise-up and actually start looking at the issues instead of the personalities. I think in the days and weeks to come, we'll see Obama's advantage widen considerably.

    September 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. alvino

    Maybe John lost a few members of his base when he and Bush became socialists this week. It will be interesting to see how he stumbles out of this deregulation mess he helped create. Maybe Phil Gramm will ride to his rescue. Stay tuned for more humor from the McCain/Palin ticket.

    September 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Frank

    Don't believe the polls. Obama's lead is far greater then what the polls say. These polls don't take into account cell phone users.

    September 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. No turning back 2008

    Democratic ticket supporters, its up to us to unify the country. The only way there is to vote Obama into office.
    I call on all Democratic supporters to find someone who's not registered to vote and help them to register for this election imediately. We must act as one. Everyday I'm helping people register. If we all asked or helped one person to register to vote. The turnout will be unprecidented! And victory will be ours!

    Do you part! All in favor say "I"!

    God Bless you all!

    Obama/Biden NOW!

    September 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. CK MN

    Please wake up people, please vote for Obama/Biden as they are the ones to get our nation out of this deep hole which Bush/Cheney have gotten us in in the past 8 years. Don't you see what's happening at Wall Street now? McCain and his surrogate Phil Gramm, Mr De-Regulator, are all responsible.

    Please vote, with your concience, for Obama/Biden.

    September 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    I'm not surprised. I have lots of elderly in my church that want to 'learn' about Obama. They are listening. This country can not stand by and allow itself to be sold off we must preserve America! I am heartbroken to see what my nation is going through right now, but like any family problem we will get through the tough times and perservere with God's help.

    September 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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