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. joey from nc

    yes we can!

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Tired of the Lies

    "The poll also indicates that more Americans think Obama... would do a better job handling an economic crisis than McCain".

    Duh. Deregulation got us into this mess. And as McCain has said for over 20 years, he's always for deregulation.

    Sorry John, but you can't make an 11th hour come-to-Jesus speech about how the Fed needs more oversight now. I'd rather see you keep your principles and lose the election than sell out, now that the political tide is against deregulation.

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. IWASP!-Intelligent Woman Against Sarah Palin!

    John Mccain voted AGAINST Regulation and was a loud advocate against it. The blame falls squarely in his and his rethuglican cronies for the mess we are in. Both Alan Greenspan and the ultra conservative Wall Street Journal called mccain's economic plans disastrous for the economy. What is astonishing is that there are actually poor misguided souls considering voting for him. WOW.

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Marqus

    Those poll just shows what the people of this country really want...To get away from the side show politics...

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Robert in raleigh

    It is the lack of oversight that caused the problem. the oversight that should have been voted in years ago, but then we had a republican government which had the power to take a look and didn't .It's on the back of the republicans , period.

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Obama is REAL Change


    Like you Repubs always say, GET OVER IT!!!!!!!

    This HAS to be the REASON FOR the economy being the WORST in HisTORY...........ALL they did was WHINE and got RICHER from oil/gas prices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Jeff

    If McCain should be our next President then he should have shown leadership by offering to have some people drive some of his cars to pick up displaced hurricane Ike victims and take them to some of his houses. But no, McSame is for the rich elite...don't be fooled again!

    McCain get in one of your cars and go home(s) if you can remeber where they are.


    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. ron

    People are starting to wake up and realize that we can not afford another 4 years plus of a Republican administration. No matter whether or not McCain tries to sell himslef otherwise he is still a Republican. real change means no REpublican President!

    McCain and his old boy cronies are wjhat got us in the mess in the first place with all the de-regualtion. What person can honestly believe that they would be the ones to fix it! The Economy – The War – Healt Care – your name it- they are wrong on it all.

    This comeing from a guy who was blinded by the Repubs one to may times. I will not be fooled any longer

    Registered Republican who just change to Independent!

    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Spencer from VA

    People are starting to open their eyes and ears and listening to the lies McSame are telling. They have no ideas of their owns and I think the people are taking note of that.


    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. No2GOPGimmicks

    McCain is so proud that he and his cronies scraped together some "quickie" Economic Plan ahead of Obama... he calls that leadership, and he and Palin both put down Obama for not rushing out a plan too.

    Is it really smart for the Republicans to rush out a plan, just for the sake of saying "look at us, we've got one and Obama doesn't"?

    Woudln't it make more sense to take the time to really analyze the situation and come up with a good, SMART plan like Obama is doing, rather than rush out a weak plan just to gain some brownie points?

    Good leadership thinks things through....the past 8 years have had guys rushing into things without fully analyzing the situation.

    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. John

    Obama/Biden..Our choice ....The next President and VP of the United States of America

    Go Obama Biden

    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Sweetie

    As more is learned about this financial crisis I think Voters are going to be looking for Leadership!

    Obama and the Left wing are to blame and by election time this knowledge will spell a victory for McCain!

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

    The Republicans have been in control for the most of the last 8 years. Shouldnt the party in power also be accountable? How could they not be responsible for anything? It defies logic. Now, McCain is trying to win by pretending he is a Democrat. He is suddenly for more government oversight? He said before he was for the free market and more DEregulation.

    It is going to require some intelligence on the part of the American voter to save this country.

    OBAMA 08

    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. sas

    I'm Kinda skeptical about these polls.... We really dont need CNN to waste millions to find out that Mccain gained after the Palin effect and he lost his lead after the hype was over and people came back to issues...

    September 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. biff

    when the economy performs this poorly, its hard to believe there is even a single republiCON voter left in this country.

    but.. it seems again i have been banned while posters like 'darko' can post a thousand times per subject spouting nothing more than fox news talking points.

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    McCain is quick to judge, blames others, will not acknowledge when he is wrong, hot tempered, and is senile.

    Oh.and aa liar. Him and Palin

    Need I say more?

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Lauren VT

    Good to hear. Please renew my faith in common sense of American voters!

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Linda

    This crisis must be dealt with. After 8 years of cuttaxesfortherich-and-spend Republicans, it's time to bring common sense back to the white house...and that means voting for Obama.

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Sarah Bell

    We can do this America. Yes, we can.

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Me

    I think Obama will do better with the economy. He is where he is for who he is. McCain is where he is for who his wife is. I don't even think he is in charge of his own houses. Also, with the bailout -I want my check every month on my share that I will end up paying for. I don't like having a mortgage either ! Who's going to pay for mine? These people bit off more than they can chew and I pay for it, and they get to live in better houses than I do. I WANT MY SHARE!

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Brian, NJ

    First, if Obama was white he would be ahead by 10 points.

    Second, weren't McCain, Obama, and H. Clinton ALL in the Senate when this was going on. No one proposed making sub-prime mortgages illegal two years ago.

    Sad that bad economic news helps Obama and bad international news helps McCain. You think his campaign is praying for a terrorist attack of some kind?

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Louis

    P.S. All of you who helped elect Bush twice should burn in the afterlife.

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Sally from Cali

    It took 700 billion more deficit dollars to make the American people wake up.

    It's about time! This election is not a popularity contest. It's about real issues: health care, docial security, foreign policy, the economy.

    September 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Cindy, LA

    No chance of a black President in this country. Recent polls show blacks are regarded by 40% of whites as lazy and violent.

    Try again in 2012' or maybe 2050'.

    September 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. Wal

    Obama is the most qualified because,
    Education matters:

    Champion of transparency in Washington, health care reform, education , regulation of wall street, balance the budget


    This election if we want better future will not be close…. not this time

    September 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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