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

More Americans say recession is serious

(CNNMoney.com) - 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. Barbara in NC

    I don't know about the rest of you, but with my income low and fixed and the cost of everything going up so fast, this feels more like a Depression than just a deep recession. They'll wait until we all have starved to death (where's the tax base then??) before they tell us the truth. Thanks for out-sourcing the U.S.

    December 4, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I'll make this easy for the right-wing swifties – It's Clinton's fault, right?!

    December 4, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Shari, NY

    Four out of 10? What about the remaining six? I guess those must be the ones who saw it coming a year ago and are not surprised. I will never get over the fact that after 9/11 occurred some smart powerful figure advised people to continue to live their lives and "spend, spend, spend" (and the sheep agreed to do so).

    December 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. HouseDiva

    we're in a depression.

    December 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. katiec

    The recession is bad. What I don't understand is that they knew
    we were in a recession since last December and are just now
    announcing it. Was it politically motivated? Think knowingly
    supressing this info is criminal.
    There are going to be hard times ahead. We all must support,
    even the republicans, our change in government and hope
    for the best.

    December 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. gary n.

    If the Detroit 3 are allowed to fail there will be soup lines again -reminiscent of the 1930's.

    December 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    It's a recession now. With the way things have been going, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop and the unemployment lines will be turning into lines for soup kitchens. Since the 1980s, we have ignored the sin of spending money we don't have, well folks...the party's over and the waiter just showed up with the bill.

    December 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Michael, Houston Texas

    Most of us have been in a recession since 2001. I don't know why people are acting as if they were blind sided by this news. We are in a full blown depression, but the egg heads won't say it until ......let's see it is 12/04/2008..........they will admit it in 01/07..............2010.

    December 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Gaylon Barrow

    Where is everyones heads in Congress. Can you not see it behind rhuge paychecks. The American people are hurting. Especially the retired folks who rely on their government retirement checks. From Military, Civil Service, SSAN, Teachers, etc. Their checks never increase to the level of the cost of living wage. In the meantime prices are souring out of sight in food, medical, prescription drugs, fuel and you name it. Wages are not staying up with the cost of everyday living. Your worried about automobiles makers. Well bail them out then whos going to buy their expensive automobiles when most people can not afford the basics of life. WAKE UP AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.

    December 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Ex-Republican

    The only ones who disagree are the Republicans. They still think the economy is strong! After all, this is the economy they worked so hard to create for us. A completely ruined one!

    December 4, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Peter (CA)

    Well, yeah!

    Those of us paying attention have been saying so most of 2008.
    The problem was those who had an agenda denying that we were even in recession!

    Interesting how the news that we have been in one since December comes out AFTER the election.

    December 4, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Lynne

    It may not be as bad as the depression, but it is a larger recession than we have seen in a very long time.

    December 4, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Arden

    Anyone who thinks that we are not in a recession is either dead or does not live in America.

    December 4, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Matt

    @ gary n.

    That's what we get for being a society of over-consuming credit-hungry morons who buy a new car every 2-3 years because it's unacceptable to drive that 1999 Dodge Caravan into the ground when the other soccer moms have a brand new land-boat in which to drive the kids a mere 3 blocks to the practice field instead of walking. Get over it. Necessity is the mother of invention. A bailout is nothing more than delaying the inevitable. This country needs to be reminded what real need is...not just wanting new toys all the time.

    December 4, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. paul (staunch Moderate)

    The average man on the street has known the country is in recession since early 2008. What took the National Bureau of Economic Research so long to figure this out?

    December 4, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Gaylon Barrow

    Your worried about the automobile industry and banks failing. I am too. I know it will cost millions of people their jobs. BUT THE AMERICAN GUVERNMENT NEEDED TO WAKE UP YEARS AGO. THEY ARE THE WORLD'S WORST AT TAKING CARE OF THEIR ON RETIRED WORKERS. MILITARY, CIVIL SERVICE, TEACHERS, RAILROAD WORKERS, SSAN ETC. THEIR COST OF LIVING RAISESIS NEVER AS GREAT AS THE ACTUAL OF LIVING. FOOD, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, FUEL, AUTOMOBILES CLOTHES ETC THE BASICS OF LIFE KEEP SOURING BUT THE PEOPLE AND THEIR CHECKS KEEP GETTING LOWER AND LOWER. ALL THE TIME THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHERE ALL THE INVESTORS VEST THEIR MONEY CAN INCREASE THEIR PREIMUMS AT WILL. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT WITH AMERICA. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR PEOPLE. ONLY THEY ALMIGHTY DOLLAR AND WHOS GOT THE MOST OF IT. LETS MAKE SURE WE KEEP THEM ROLLING.

    December 4, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. bill

    well where was cnn.the last year.now we find we were in ression since dec.07.lets get some real honest news reporting.you people at cnn.are no better than bush.

    December 4, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. EW

    Why, exactly, does it take economists a year to figure out there is a recession? I figured it out in February when companys started laying people off and the IT consulting business started to slow way down.

    We are witnessing the same kind of greed now from the rich and the corporations that were exhibited in 1929. The government and the Fed need to quit tinkering with the economy before its too late.

    December 4, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. walter

    The debt culture that most Americans have embraced over the last 40 years should be viewed as an artificial bubble that is now exploding. This is much, much larger than the Big 3. Imagine – an economy based so much on people going into debt... of course it was bound to explode.

    December 4, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. chris @ stl

    anyone who is not thinking that we are in recession is an 'idiot' or extremely rich ....

    I agree with gary n. .... We should support the bridge loan request by big 3 as soon as possible. We are wasting a lot of time discussing unnecessary stuff in the congress (who cares how the CEOs got to DC, which cars they drove etc. ..) and making matters worse as time goes by .... C'mon. the IDIOTS in congress, decide soon!!! It is because of you guys (Congress), that the bridge loan request grew from 25b to 34b within 2 wks ....

    December 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. T.O.

    It's funny that these politicians think the American people are stupid and blind to the fact that our economy is in the toliet. What I don't understand is how this news always comes as a surprise to Paulson!!! He never seems to know what the HELL is going on until its announced to the public. Why hasn't somebody done something to get this man off of tv and out of office? Everytime he talks the markets reply by taking a nosedive. What a way to build confidence in our stock market....by letting Paulson talk. Once again the American people have been BUSHED!!

    December 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. no bailouts

    of course it's serious when you can't afford milk for your children.

    December 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Ex Democrat

    It didn't take long for the Democrat congress to ruin this country

    December 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. gary n.

    @ Matt

    Thanks for your comments but you sound to me like one of those people willing to cut off your nose to spite your face.

    December 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. richard

    I never read caps, it shows low IQ

    December 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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