March 31st, 2009
11:39 AM ET
13 years ago

Polls: Americans more optimistic on Economy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The survey suggests that President Obama is more popular than his policies on the economy."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two new national polls suggest that Americans are becoming more confident about the economy.

Forty-two percent of people questioned in a new ABC/Washington Post poll say they think the country is on the right track. It's still a minority of respondents, but it's a jump of 23 points since President Obama was inaugurated in January. And 27 percent say they think the nation's economy is getting better - also a minority, but a jump of 21 points since Obama entered the White House.

A new Gallup poll also finds a dramatic rise of consumer optimism over the past month.

"The numbers from both polls still indicate widespread dissatisfaction with economic conditions and concern about the future," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "We're not out of the woods and there is no indication that we will be any time soon. But any sign of improvement in the public's mood is good news."

The ABC/Washington Post poll also indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Obama is handling his duties as president. The 66 percent approval rating in the survey is in line with many recent national polls.

That survey also indicates that only one in four blame the President for the severe recession in the country. Eight in ten polled blame the banks and big business, seven in ten blame consumers and an equal amount blame former President George W. Bush.

The survey also suggests that President Obama is more popular than his policies on the economy. While his overall approval rating stands at 66 percent, 60 percent favor the way he's handling the economy. That figure drops to 52 percent when it comes to the way the president is dealing with the federal budget deficit. And Americans are split on the way the federal government is responding to the recession.

"It's possible that the public is having mixed feelings about the speed of Obama's reaction and the scope of his agenda," Holland says. "Americans like to see their presidents take action rather than sitting on their hands. They may not like all the details of Obama's proposals, but the perception that he is addressing those problems is a plus."

The ABC/Washington Post poll was conducted March 26-29, with 1,000 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The Gallup poll was conducted March 23-29, with 1,000 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. William, from Cali!

    YEAH, AND George Bush was doing O.K. ............until the "WAR" started! Let's see what's really happening... in say a year from now!

    March 31, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. arithmetic is liberal

    Some guy March 31st, 2009 12:16 pm ET

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for injecting some common sense into this, and reintroducing everyone to the concept of entropy.

    March 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. alvino


    You need to start talking to people outside of the party of "NO!" If you could just stop listening to Glenn Beck for two days, you will begin to see the change for the positive.

    March 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    @ Mari...

    Please don't be so short-sighted.

    First of all, one of the main reasons that the market is up 20% in the last 3 weeks is because stocks were selling on the cheap. Another is that we're at the end of a fiscal quarter, which is when money managers put the "window dressing" on portfolios.

    If you want to gague the economy, you would do yourself justice to look at 2 things – commodity prices (gold, silver, oil, soybeans, etc.) and the strength of the dollar against foreign currencies. This will give you a truer picture of an American's purchasing power, since it is a fact that two-thirds of the economy is personal spending.

    A 3 week uptick in the dow is really nothing more than an anomaly.

    March 31, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Hopeful Optimist

    I really feel good about Obama and his team. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter, but how glad I am that Obama prevailed (nobody, and I mean NOBODY on the Repub side had or has the brain mass required to clean up the mess that 'Lil W left around his high chair).

    March 31, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Road to tyranny....

    And yet home prices fell 19% in January, the biggest single drop on record. Oh yeah, let's party, all is well now.

    March 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Scott

    Can I borrow some of your rose colored glasses?? Spending Billions and Billions of dollars isn't going to fix the economy. Obama has never run a business, how can anyone think he knows anything about business?

    Mari, No one made 20% in the stock market last week, we are still way down since Obama won the election.

    March 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. alvino

    Scott in CA-

    Do you think that the CA's 40 billion debt may have something to do with it taking a few weeks to start turning around? Your state legislators could not even pass a budget until the last minute.

    Be patient Grasshopper.

    March 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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