September 17th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Public not as optimistic on economy as Fed Chairman

A new poll shows Americans aren't as optimistic as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

A new poll shows Americans aren't as optimistic as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that Americans are not nearly as optimistic about the economy as the chairman of the Federal Reserve seems to be.

Eighty-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning say they think the U.S. is still in a recession, with 13 percent saying the nation's economic downturn has ended. According to the poll, 42 percent say the country is in a serious recession, 35 percent call it a moderate recession, and one in ten characterize it as a mild recession.

Full poll results (PDF)

Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession is very likely over, although he said the job market will continue to struggle for some time.

"Economists have typically called an end to recessions long before the public thinks hard times have passed," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The recession of the early 1990s was officially over by 1991, but a majority of Americans didn't think the recession was over until late in 1993."

The poll also suggests that only a small minority, 9 percent, say their family's financial situation is better now than it was a year ago. Nearly four in 10 say they're worse off now that they were a year ago, and just over half said their family's financial situation was about the same.

"Rural America seems to feel the pinch more than the rest of the country," Holland says. "Nearly half of people who live in rural areas say they are worse off, compared to 37 percent of suburbanites and 29 percent of people who live in cities."

Looking to the future, nearly half of those polled say the stock market will be higher a year from now, with three in 10 saying the markets will be at about the same level and 18 percent feeling the markets will be lower. According to the survey, 44 percent say home values in their area will be about the same a year from now, with 35 percent feeling house prices will be higher and 22 percent suggesting values will be lower than they currently stand.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 11-13, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Economy
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Peace

    Leave what belongs to Kaiser, to Kaiser. The Fed Chairman knows better than we do!

    September 17, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And I would venture to say that cnn is not optimistic either. Or is it just better to maintain the air of 'doom and gloom' that has been so profitable for the news business? If you're not going to be a part of the solution.....

    September 17, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  3. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Stocks ended up yesterday at their highest levels in a year, beating the previous day's highs. As the economy continues to improve, let's all remember to thank the officials in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve who took bold action and appear have averted a major depression!

    September 17, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Liar, liar, the admins on fire

    The lying from this administration continues on a daily basis, err, make that HOURLY.

    He had the "audacity" to state that the recession is OVER, when this business major knows that we need at least two consecutive quarters of growth and WE HAVEN'T HAD ONE YET.

    I am sure if the doly Bush said this it would have gotten a bit more scrutinty from the "no longer" mainstream media.

    Pop quiz sheep, what President during his time in office had the MOST CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS OF GROWTH?

    Simply put "W" and for you sheep that are heralding the stock market being in the 9500 range,. when it get's BACK into the 14,5000 range give me a shout out.

    The economy went south starting in 2006, who took over everything but the Executive branch in 2006, ANYONE, Bueller, Bueller?

    Have a nice LYING day.

    September 17, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'll take Bernanke's word for it. He's a historian of these kinds of monetary issues.

    September 17, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. lila

    I don't know why the Fed Chairman does not remind people that not long ago pretty much everyone in America with a 401k had lost half of their retirement almost over night. And people over 65 were the worst off. What the crash taught us is that for middle class America it is no longer a case of "wall street vs main street". I understand we are far from recovered and the job market is still grim, but, things are not all bad. Middle class America has their hard earned retirement at a pretty healthy level again. That's thousands and thousands in the pockets for countless Americans. That kind of seems like a big deal to me. I'm not sure why it is ignored by everyone. Is it just to scary to reflect on how close to total ruin we actually were as a nation and people?

    September 17, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Audit the Fed!
    Buy Ron Paul's new Book "End the Fed" today, learn how you are being enslaved.

    September 17, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In other more positive and unifying news....

    President Obama has taken the high road – again- in regards to the racists attacks being blatantly perpetrated by SOME under the cover of disagreeing with his policies. It behooves us to continue with the movement of Change for this country by standing in solidarity for our President. He is unable to address this issue for obvious reasons. It is up to us to NOT stand idly by in concensual silence and allow for this type of behavious to be seen as acceptable.

    United we stand.

    September 17, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. MBFLA

    Of course the public is not as confident as the Fed Chair, the Fed Chair has a job!

    September 17, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Roger

    Well the public wasn't as pessimistic about the econmy as the fed chairman BEFORE the crash. So I would say they are wrong this time also. I mean really, who would trust the American public to know anything? They elected George Bush twice and blindly followed him into an unjust war.

    September 17, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Enough

    By over he is only saying things are done going DOWN – but it will be a long time before things are better. Obamas big job stimulus was a failure, except for the Union bailout at Tax payer expense. Those jobs lost will not come back anytime soon, especially here it California. Obamas policies are slowing the recovery, any other president in office and things would get better sooner. This recession is lasting longer than is NOT Bush's fault, it is Obamas.

    September 17, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. An Ex-NC-Pub

    Well, the Fed Chair doesn't have the media and the "Rushlican Gloomers" constantly diminishing every positive sign.

    September 17, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. TPaine18

    "Economists have typically called an end to recessions long before the public thinks hard times have passed," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland."

    This is an apology. Under Bush, this would have said how perception was reality and that the administration was clueless.

    September 17, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. RAG

    Asking a non-Economist about the status of the recession is like asking a non-Climatologist about the status of global climate change. The answer you get will be based on misunderstanding of the term, ignorance of the associated process and emotion based on the micro observation of a single person. Completely worthless. The public should shut up and listen to the experts in both cases.

    September 17, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Sniffit

    Hard to be entirely optimistic when you've got one of the parties droning on incessantly about gloom and doom and cartoonish apocalyptic prophesies. This poll shoudl be encouraging for GOPers though: all their naysaying was, in part, designed and intended to lower consumer and voter confidence in order to perpetuate the recessive economy so they could keep on pointlessly pointing fingers while basically making no points.

    September 17, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Carlos

    I guess that means his kickback checks have cleared the bank.

    September 17, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Robert

    People are morons. That's why the elect officials to do what they think is in their best interest.

    September 17, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. jaye

    It's hard to be optimistic when you don't have a job or healthcare.
    But, the rising economy will help.

    September 17, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. jfs Memhis, Tn

    If you are unemployed...or your career has disappeared off-shore...What Someone says or positive movement in stocks really doesn't fix anything. This recession will end when hiring resumes. I strongly support our President and agree with him that until the uemployed are employed once more....this thing is not over.

    September 17, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. Dennis

    Tell the nearly 10% who are unemployed that the recession is over. I'm sure you'll get a rousing ovation . NOT

    September 17, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Mark

    Because they know they messed up for the election!

    America failing to pay it's debt is not a good thing. We just need to explain this to the liberals somehow?

    September 17, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. therealmarie

    CNN Polls: Garbage In/Garbage Out. Enough said.

    September 17, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. scott

    I have no ideal why President Obama wants to keep this guy around. This is one of those that Bush had supported when he was in office, in which Bernanke was not doing anything then and now he is suddenly helping!!! This guy is playing both sides just to keep his job and try to hide the true Ben Benanke. I believe the President should put someone in there that stands up for the American middle and working class, instead of keeping someone from the Bush side in there. I believe old Bens true colors will show up one day!

    September 17, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Debby

    I agree with the public when my stock goes back up to 90 where it was last fall vs where it is now at 20 then I will be optimistic.

    September 17, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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