December 4th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
14 years ago

More Americans say recession is serious

( - More than four out of 10 Americans say the economy is in a serious recession, a belief that has grown stronger within the past few weeks, according to a poll released Thursday.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of 1,096 Americans conducted earlier this week found the percentage of people who believe the economy is in a serious recession has grown to 42 percent from 32 percent in mid-October.

Overall, 89 percent of those polled believe the nation is in some form of recession – serious, moderate or mild. That's up from 76 percent in mid-October, a few weeks before the election.

On Monday, the first of the two days in which the survey was conducted, private economists making up the National Bureau of Economic Research stated the economy has been in recession since December 2007. Only 10 percent of those polled said the nation is not in recession.

During the time between the October and December polls, the effects of the financial crisis and the housing slump have intensified, as employers slashed jobs and consumers cut spending.

Despite the fact that people polled believe the recession is worsening, fewer believe that a depression on a scale of the 1930s is imminent, with the percentage declining to 38 percent from 41 percent in mid-October.

The poll found a slight decline in the percentage of Americans who believe things in the nation are going badly, to 79 percent from 83 percent just after the election.

The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Laverne

    It is funny how the Republicans keep hollering how they are fiscally responsible when it is the Republicans who have been in power for the majority of the past 40 years. There is nothing fiscally responsible about spending 10 billion dollars a month on a war we CAN NOT win and should have not started. I know Americans do not like to hear nor accept the truth, but it is TRUE America's chickens are coming home to roost. I don't mean that in an unpatriotic way, I mean that to say you reap what you sow and we have not and is not a perfect union, though we must continue to strive to be a MORE perfect union for the good of all mankind. The Republicans think that all they have to do is go away and regroup and in 4 years all will be well and they will be back in power. I do not believe it to be so, God is in control of the situation. The next chapter has already been written for us.

    December 4, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Average Joe

    Serious yeah ya think. Question if fuel is going down and oil is less than 50.00 a barrel, then why is the price of food not going down also. I think we give the 34 billion to detroit and take 650 billion back so the wall streeters get the picture THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER IS PISSED OFF BIG TIME NO MORE MR AND MRS NICE GUYZ.

    December 4, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Average Joe

    Serious yeah ya think. Question if fuel is going down and oil is less than 50.00 a barrel, then why is the price of food not going down also. I think we give the 34 billion to detroit and take 650 billion back so the wall streeters get the picture THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER IS PISSED OFF BIG TIME NO MORE MR AND MRS NICE GUYZ.

    December 4, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Frugality

    Unfortunately, many people are not frugal. On top of it they are quite naïve or simply don’t care because they live in the land of “milk and honey”, which should be renamed “land of milk and money shortage”. Creditors see them as easy prey and invite them into their parlor like what the spider did to the fly.

    In some southern states there’s a plethora of pay day advance loan companies which encourage you to borrow a mint from them (few questions asked) and then you agree to pay them once you get your salary, welfare check or what have you. When the check comes in the mail it is absorbed by the “sharks” leaving you little to pay your regular bills. If you do not meet the loan payment deadline, hefty interest rates will apply and the beat goes on. The government needs to address this and other schemes which gullible people cannot resist.

    December 4, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. arc, Lugano CH

    Matt December 4th, 2008 1:34 pm ET (in response to gary n.)
    Well said. You must have lived/worked overseas perhaps. If not, nevertheless, your point is a strong one.

    December 4, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Marie banderas

    I guess those seeing prices of food and milk get ever higher, got the message a long time ago..know we did..Now we have extremely tight budget, make do with what we have, or without..its a shame people have to choose between food, meds, paying thier bills, as most months cant do all..why did it take the government so long to get the message ???????? Now, better question is

    December 4, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Ian

    It can't be too serious if they voted for Obama. What's his plan in 2010 when will face the $30 trillion social security imbalance? Thought so.

    December 4, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Change,what change?

    Maybe its time to get my news from a European news outlet and let the big three go under like the car companies.

    December 4, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. ET from Omaha

    I already know we are in recession. That's why I voted for the right man to do his best to get us back on track.
    I don't care how much spending he does, he needs to fix the problem period. The dead goat does not fear knife.

    December 4, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. florene riley

    the reason the auto makers are in trouble is because for years they had no competition now they have so they can't run things as they see fit the unions are crooked as a hind leg on a dog and rape the american people, i worked t forsd motor in san jose calif back in the 70's and i have seen how they work on the lines. its a disgrace. half the time they didn't work. but the union told them how to put there time in. they should be broke. maybe it would humble them to give a days work for a change.

    December 4, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. susie

    The lawmakers should give up their pension and pay a portion of their health insurance. They should live like the rest of us.

    December 4, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Georgia Moderate

    Some of us have been saying for that we are in a recession since October of last year and that it was going to be deep and long. Some, like me, have lived through four recessions and can spot them as they are starting; and don't need the government to tell us about it months after the fact. We were called "whiners." Well, here we are, having just been told "officially" that we've been in a recession for a year. We're also being told that this is only the start of a very ugly downturn and some pundits (and even outgoing presidents) have even uttered the "D Word). Whose whining now?

    December 4, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Kim J

    It's getting so bad, I'm thinking of canceling my cable TV.

    December 4, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Virginia

    No kidding, geniuses!!! I have known that for a long time, and the last time I went to the grocery just this week I came out with NO meat, just a little bit of fruit, milk, cereal, yogurt, and lunchmeat, along with some easy to fix things for lunches when in a hurry. It cost $120, for just three of us. The big bad boys in DC are making it harder on the rest of us, with all of the incentive package talks, bailout talks, and crisis talks about the financial state of things. Quit talking and DO something!!

    And, to gary n. –the detroit 3 have already failed. That's why they are in DC.......

    December 4, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. MICK from MESA

    Yeah, and 6 out of 10 of these same un-informed American "village idiots" want to send the auto industry into the dumpster. They must be republicans is all I can say...

    December 4, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Doom & gloom, doom & gloom, doom & gloom-- I swear, we could have the market hit 10,000 and every company in the country could show a profit, and the media & all the prognosticators would still be preaching "doom & gloom". As long as we keep hearing how bad things are, we tend to pull in our horns and hide away in the dark, and that just makes things even worse. People, we need to get up off our a$$es and start taking some positive steps forward.. Everybody sits back and moans about "how bad it is".... well, do SOMETHING to make it better. You're not going to turn the economy around by yourself, but do something to brighten somebody's life somewhere– and I guarantee you, it'll make you feel better as a person. Even if it's just volunteering somewhere, that means you helped somebody else who needed it. If you buy somebody a meal for the holidays, that did them some good, did the economy some good, and surely it would have made you feel a little better inside. Get off this doom & gloom cr** and let's start working to make tomorrow a better day. Honest to God, go spend $10.00 at the store today– it won't kill you & it'll help the merchant & the economy.

    December 4, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. slickingdom

    Don't the politicians and CEO's get it ? They started moving jobs to
    other countries because of their own greediness over 40 years ago,
    stuffing their bank accounts with millions, and millions dollars. This trend
    has continued for 4 decades while the economy slumped. Now that the
    country is facing a economic disaster they want the taxpayers and the
    people who were victims of job loss to pay for the losses. Try
    bringing all the jobs back to the U.S. that were shipped over-seas from
    about the last 40 years !!!!

    December 4, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. no bailouts

    i had to move out of my home last year, there was so much that needed to be done and i didn't have the means to do it. i moved in with a friend.

    December 4, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Leena

    We're closer to a depression than a recession. What planet do you have to be on not to realize how screwed we are and have been for a while??

    As for Detroit...I'm thinking maybe we shouldn't bail them out.

    December 4, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Dayahka

    If unemployment at around 12 percent and growing unemployment, increasing business closures, declining state revenues of 12 percent or more are given as criteria for a depression, then we are now in a depression–and I suppose the government will announce that after another year or so, just as they dragged out the admission of recession for a year after it was obvious to everyone. And if we are already in a depression, then we need depression-style economic proposals–not pretend bailouts for a pretend slowdown.

    December 4, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Lana Bushnell

    I haven't seen any recession here; people still pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee and $500 to see a football game. Only the people who could never have afforded to buy a house have been effected, especially since the price of gas went back down. Media recession is what we are seeing, for the most part.

    December 4, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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