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. RepublicansHateAmerica

    Duh. GOP = Racism and Greed. Those of you on the right are in the wrong. Time to face the music for your disastrous candidates, policies and president. You should be ashamed of all of the UNAMERICAN activies you have supported in the last eight years.

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Katy

    Well, finally Americans are seeing the light. The last time we had a good economy was when Clinton was president. Please, people: figure it out, and draw the simple conclusion here!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. ejgood

    This is sad. Who cares about the polls. who's up. who's down this hour. CNN always attacks whoevers up to try and keep it close to get more ratings. That's "playing" politics... While we are going down the drain. McCain is a "de-regulator" who will stick us farther in the mud. Obama is a progressive who won't be able to keep any promises because he'll have to spend every penny of higher taxes on rich to pay for the bailout of rich. Dumb bushie Republicans sunk us all. They are all a bunch of CORRUPT LIARS AND THIEVES. They have sent us back to the Great Depression. They are grabbing all the cash they can and running for the doors. America you've been robbed. Don't listen to these phonies. They are trying to take your clothes and your wallet. What a pathetic bunch of miscreants. The anti-government, no regulation, let everyone do whatever they want philosophy just got run over by 18 wheels of reality. If you're a republican, check you're head. There might be a few loose marbles in there that you can exchange for soup in the line we'll all be standing in next week.
    morons. Oh yeah, if you pull up in your lexus, hummer or a pickup truck with a rebel flag – NO SOUP FOR YOU!

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Grace Needed

    YAY!!! My faith is restored in America. I've been praying that people would see the McCain/Palin team for who they really are. Anyone who would choose a V.P. without proper vetting is taking a gamble to win and showing recklessness unbecoming to a President of the U.S. It also shows how poorly he makes decisions, with little forethought and advice from experts. He is impulsive and lacks deliberation and careful study of issues and it shows. Senator Obama, who has been called an elitist, has the intelligence to recognize the enormity of the problems we face and is humbled enough to seek help from all sides. If this is an elitist than we should have one as a President, because we need someone who WILL BLINK!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Body Heat ... She Was RELENTLESS ... that was her special gift

    Go Team Obama –

    Now, let's figure out a way to keep this economic crisis front and center in the indepedent voter's minds. We know that American's have the attention span of a gnat.

    McCain can have NO credibility on the topic of banking system reforms. He PUSHED for deregulation for 26 years. Make sure you contrast Obama's future plan with McCain's prior legistlative voting record.

    Stay on the attack! Play offense ... not defense .... Biden ... Hillary ... Other Surrogates ... keep hammerin' ...

    (The "g" dropped in honor of Palin speak)

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Chris from NY

    It is called accountability. The Republicans allowed Wall Street to run wild by allowing little oversight in the form of deregulation and now we the American people are paying the price. I lost the home I bought when President Clinton was in office for suprime refinancing and I know all these time Wall Street was soaring and I wasn't feeling like I was gaining. That's when I know this economy is no good and about to roost. Ans sure enough it has.

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    The 4% who say they are voting for Nader should be ashamed of themselves. THEY are the people who gave us George Bush in the first place. Who ARE these people? I sure don't know any.

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Jeff

    The main stream media must be doing its job then. It is unconscionable how the MSM doesnt report the facts about the democrats hands in this mess and the fact that Obama's advisors made millions working for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also that in 2005 democrats shot down a banking bill McCain co-authored warning about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's problems. And when I say MSM I mean CNN also. Print that.

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. McShame, Houston TX

    Please god help us!!!! Please don’t let the Republicans back in the Whitehouse they will surely take us straight to hell next time around, Wake up people we cannot take 4 more years of this madness!!!! No McCain and No Palin

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. mel of dallas

    I feel the curtain closing.

    08 Obama

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Kim

    Hopefully, this is a trend showing Americans are smarter than McOld and Caribou Barbie thought. It;s going to be a looooong 6 weeks before the election but Americans are going to see the truth and won't be be fooled again (hey, maybe Obama should call The Who about using that for the campaign theme show......) GO O, AND JOE!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. JAS

    McCain has always been a deregulator, When he started his senate career, he was involved in another money crisis. As one of the Keating five the senate reprimanded him for showing POOR judgement. That crisis was brought on by deregulation of the savings and loan industry and GREED. Please wake up america, Once a deregulator, always a deregulator. Deregulation always favor the BIG companies over anyone else, but especially the people of america

    September 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Emily

    Don't worry, they will try and lie their way out of this one too.

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. TP

    The difference between Obama & McCain?

    Obama: One car, one house, one spouse!

    McCain: Thirteen cars, "I-don't-know-how-many" houses, cheated on my first spouse while she was sick with my second spouse!

    Go Obama!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Unshrub

    After last week how can anyone still believe McCain would be a good President. Just imagine McCain talking to the Russians and he gets as confused as he was last week with the SEC and FEC. He could end up giving the Russians free Nuclear Weapons thinking he was talking about wheat.

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. babs

    You know what we can all joke and laugh at the elections but really, we need to all be in serious fervent prayer. Why? Because whomever is elected to office will have to make some serious choices, and believe me it AINT...GONNA be easy! GOD BLESS!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |

    come on whites ,black,brown,from all back ground ,race, and gender . lets get together and take back our country. mcshame shouldnt be this far up in the poles. he doesnt have one idea of his own, all he do is barrow from Obama's plans. coping his slogan. YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!
    BARAK OBAMA 2008!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. carol

    This is America's President, new ideas, new start for this country.
    We cannot afford anymore of this Republican nonsense, we have had 8 years and that is more than enough......time for them to move on!!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. dian

    Great! He should be winning!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Me

    Obama is half white. So what do those of us that are so narrow minded do if we waht to vote on just race. You are not voting for the man just the administration. ARE YOU BETTER OFF NOW THAN 4 YEARS AGO? Jobs, cost of living?? We are almost in a depression! Bush is holding it off for the next guy. Change the administration!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Sarah


    For the sake o the ountry I hope this trend continues.

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |

    GO OBAMA yes we can ! Please LOLA make Obama win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. EDW

    Let’s review the conflicting messages: Just as hurricanes like Katrina and Rita and Ike have laid devastating wakes, McCain has selected a doubter of human-caused global warming as a running mate. Palin’s record as a drill-baby-drill-for-oil advocate, including in Alaska’s National Wildlife Reserve; supporting shooting wolves from low-flying airplanes; and de-listing bears as an endangered species doesn’t exactly resonate among evangelical Christians who have embraced a commitment to caring for God’s creation.

    September 22, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Darren

    Still can not believe women are OK with Palin charging for the rape examination. And that they are OK with McCain not supporting equal pay for women who do the same job as a man.

    Is there a chance the GOP knew they were going to lose, and in an attept not to lose all, they have made an effort here to set women's rights back fifty years with this slap in the face of a Palin pick? After all, she is an affront to any woman with the slightest amount of self respect. In picking the unqualified Palin, the GOP has basically said that a woman is born with everything she needs....

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Proactive voter

    No way, no how, no McCain Palin no more 4 years.
    No matter how cunning you can be you cannot fool a nations for 12 years.

    Obama& Biden 08

    September 22, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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