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. jp,michigan

    The Democrats are just as much at fault as the Republicans. Cut taxes and stop the government spending. Obama has no idea how to pay for all his SOCIALISTIC solutions. McCain understands that the taxes cut we have will help and we need to stop congress from all their added agenda they place on every bill that crosses the Presidents desk!

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. ds-California

    I was promoted 8 years ago with my county job, now, I was just informed I have been demoted back to where I was, and I'm only five years away from Retirement. This is what Republicans gave us, my pay is now down, and I will have find a second job to make my mortgage payments!!!! I will never vote again for a republican!!!!!
    If you want to keep your job- VOTE OBAMA

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. V Obama

    We don't need you Hillary supporters, we have the momentum now. Obama will win no matter what!!!!!!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!

    Obama '08

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Richard Rohde

    Now, now then rabid Dems, this all dates from Clinton, and Obama wants the same folks to control another 20% with the medical plan. Give all that money to people who don't pay taxes. You think its the rich, you are going to find out you are rich with the community organizer. Look what great shape the South Side of Chicago is. Muder capital of the country, and you want to community organizer to run you lives?

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Fla Granny

    No more privatizing profits while socializing losses. Vote Democrat!

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Joe

    All you former bleeding heart hippies need to relax and go hang out in Canada. Or better yet go make love and peace with Osama, maybe he can give you what you want!!!

    DEMOCRAT turned McCain!

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Olivia

    Cnn is now talking about what Obama want in the economic agreement. Seems Obama isn't holding his input anymore, instead he is now touting many of what McCain said he wanted in the new agreement, such as more oversight and transparency. I noticed obama hasn't said anything about the absolute authority Paulson will have over the entire economy, which McCain opposes. I guess Obama is waiting to see how people react before he does his usual thing........tell them what they want to hear.

    Personally, I totally agee with all the reservations voiced by McCain.

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Bill

    These polls mean virtually nothing. They had Kerry ahead as well at this time and we know what the outcome was.

    Kerry also won all the debates according to the same pollsters.

    The only poll that counts is the one on November 4th inside a voting booth.

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Kate

    Obama is the best pick for President. He shows an intellect and understanding of the economy that McCain is sorely lacking. John McCain is not fit to be president. He is too old and has led a most dishonorable campaign.

    The very fact that John McCain picked Sarah Palin as a running mate tells me something about his judgement. He picked her to win at any cost to the country he professes to love so well. She is not ready to be Vice President much less President. It makes me shutter to even think of it.

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Jeff Lind, Camarillo, CA

    It seems as though the great sleeping giant "The American Public"
    is finally starting to awaken to this nightmare of an Economy.
    They also seem to realize that we do need to change out the Old Republican guard, and try something else. Even some republicans have come to the realization that, unfortunately, MCain/Palin is not in the best interests of our country. I hope the slight momentum that has begun will continue to gain speed, and the Democrats will be able to get a hold of this monster and slay it...

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Shannon, Independent Voter

    mccain is part of the keating five, let us not forget the repubs invented de-regulation. In my opinion this financial crisis is all their fault. I can't believe the richest people in America are the ones getting a tax break. It is time they pay their fair share of taxes just like the rest of us. They had the party and now they want us to pay for it. We are the ones losing our homes, and struggling to pay for college for our kids. While they have multiple homes and cars for that matter.

    September 22, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Justin - AL

    Well it's good to see that people are beginning to see Palin for what she is: A lying, deceitful, and vengeful woman!

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Cindy


    All say - THANKS BUT NO THANKS!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Lies Before Country = Anna Nicole Smith (Lie-a-day Palin) & E. Pierce Marshall (Inane McCain)

    If McCain or Palin only had a clue ...

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. james

    To try to blame one political party for all of the Nations woes is ignorant. Think for yourselves and stop being tools for the democrats.
    Why is it all of the posters on CNN us can not think beyond the democrats "talking points"

    By the way the congress has been controlled by the Dems for the last two years why didn't they do anything to stop this if it so appearent?

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Eating Buffalo Wings in Heaven with Russert

    Anyone want to talk about how the Head of the House Ways and Means Committee is in hot water yet again, this time for a disgracefully inappropriate comment, along with his multiple tax problems?

    Oh, wait, I forgot...THIS IS CNN.....we're only allowed to discuss all Obamabot, all the time.

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. REAL Change

    I McCain approve the use of others commits..............................all things bad for the us are always positive for Republicans.......... go figure?

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. sandee in Portland

    Good lord and 8% of the people think neither party is to blame. Do they have brains? Do they think the general public is responsible? One party is definitely to blame and that is the Republicans. For 6 out of the last 8 years they had a majority in Congress and still couldn't put our country back on track. All they could do was vote for spending more money than we had for a war that wasn't needed. The last 2 years has been a democratic majority but good ol' Bush vetoed everything good that tried to come out of Congress. I would rather have a person as President that takes the time to make a good plan than one who immediately shoots from the hip and says what he thinks the people want to hear. I'ts about time we had a responsible person in the White House.

    67 white female for Obama/Biden

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Independent-Minded American

    YES WE CAN!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Chris

    It looks like Americans are finally starting to wake up. Obama/Biden '08!

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Richard

    The dumping of the economy has certainly helped Barack Obama, but he also gets a lot of help from Sarah Palin's CONSTANT LYING. Maybe her witch-hunter can help. (Sad but TRUE).

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. kcmookie

    Had enough yet? How about now? When does it finally dawn on you that YOUR Republican brand is so broken? Do we all have to be living in cardboard boxes and eating potato soup before you realize what a deep hole your fauly ideology has brought us to? I am not saying Conservatives are wrong, I am an Independent, but you have to have COMPETENCY above all else, and the Republican Party has completely devalued the single most important aspect of anyone runnign for office. You have to be intelligent, and it helps if you have the ability to relate to others and lead.

    When will it be enough for the MILLIONS who are still going to vote Republican? When?

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. susannahjones

    why would we ever believe any poll of CNN when it is on Obama's campaign committee??

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. the other jd

    because JB, the Republican caused the things that are bad for the US. this is leading a lot of people to wake up and realize that it's time to kick the bums out. consider this your wake up call as well.

    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Cindy

    Who wants the Palin dodgers of subpeonas incharge of the White House?


    September 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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