November 20th, 2009
09:09 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Blame for recession shifting from GOP to Democrats

Washington (CNN) - Nearly two years into the recession, opinion about which political party is responsible for the severe economic downturn is shifting, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates that 38 percent of the public blames Republicans for the country's current economic problems. That's down 15 points from May, when 53 percent blamed the GOP. According to the poll 27 percent now blame the Democrats for the recession, up 6 points from May. Twenty-seven percent now say both parties are responsible for the economic mess.

"The bad news for the Democrats is that the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling by about two to three points per month," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "At that rate, only a handful of voters will blame the economy on the Republicans by the time next year's midterm elections roll around."

Thirty-six percent of people questioned say that President Barack Obama's policies have improved economic conditions, with 28 percent feeling that the president's programs have made things worse, and 35 percent saying what he's done has had no effect on the economy.

One reason for that, says Holland, may be the growing federal budget deficit: Two-thirds say that the government should balance the budget even in a time of war and recession.

The survey indicates that only 18 percent say the economic conditions in the country today are good, down 3 points from August. Eighty-two percent say economic conditions are poor.

"Some economic indicators may suggest that the economy has turned the corner - but try telling that to the American people," adds Holland. The number of Americans who say that the economy is in good shape - a number that grew steadily through the spring and summer - has now stalled, with fewer than one in five expressing a positive view of current conditions. More than eight in 10 say that economic conditions are in poor shape, with 43 percent calling them very poor.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinahauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: CNN Polls • Economy • GOP
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. hobart

    That's what happens when the Faux News network deliberately lies about democrats 24/7/365. They eventually have some influence on public opinion. Faux News has absolutely nothing to do with reporting the news. They create the news, and steer public opinion with their own bogus creation, from Frank Luntz's outrageous claims that he invterviewed over 1,000,000 people (if he spent just 5 minutes per person and did nothing else during his 8 hour work days 50 weeks per year, this would take him 14 years. Why doesn't anyone call him on this outrageous lie?!) to Sean Hannity inflating the size of crowds at rallies with deliberately dishonest vidoes of other events, to Glenn Beck solemnly telling us the President hates white people.

    Why does Rupert Murdoch and Faux News hate America? Maybe it's time to re-examine and revoke Murdoch's citizenship?

    November 20, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. AXH

    This administration is a joke. All these political types are playing with America's future and they just keep spending and spending, while people lose their jobs everyday!

    November 20, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This isn't a huge surprise because people forget things quickly. The GOP was in charge at the beginning. They pushed (for the most part but not entirely) for deregulation and openness for the crazy new things to invest in. Besides, it has been the Democrats who said that this is a mess, and let's clean it up to help people. Given time when it recovers, people will blame each group equally again.

    November 20, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. Jeremy

    how about blaming the entire government both democratic and republican... all are at fault for their own greedy behaviours.

    November 20, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. R. Wales

    Maybe we should not be blaming this economy on either political party. I might be crazy, but it seems that a "housing crisis" that was the result of an abnormally high rate of foreclosures is the result of homeowners over-extending themselves and buying more house than they could afford. "The bank approved me for X amount for my house, so that means I can afford it" is not a valid excuse.

    Stop blaming the government for our own mistakes. Stop expecting the government to fix the problems created by our bad choices.

    November 20, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  6. akirk

    The blame game needs to stop. What is needed is for both parties to come to the table to solve this horrific mess!!

    November 20, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  7. jim

    No. This is wrong. It's the US governmet and US corporations as a whole that created this mess -


    November 20, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  8. Maria - Proud Democrat

    Of course they are BOTH to blame.

    Bush,Pelosi, Geithner, Dodd, etc., were all part of the initial problem, as was everyone in Congress who failed to take action during the Bush and Obama administration.

    It's time for Congress to stop playing politics and putting themselves first.....they work for US the American people and we are sick and tired of the same old rhetoric from both the Democrats and the Republicans.

    November 20, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. Tram


    The economy was spiraling down, and Bush and his GOP followers did NOTHING.

    November 20, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. Jeffrey Allen Miller NY

    Two words sum up all blame for this nation's economic problems: Greedy capitalists.

    November 20, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  11. Old Farmboy

    Nice to see that some of us are waking up and smelling the coffee.

    November 20, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. Bert Foxwell

    Democrats and Republicans are both to blame, they just like to shift the blame to each other so they can keep the public confused. Both parties take huge payoffs from the business community it return for boosting profits at the expense of the American People. Very few of our politicians actually represent the people who vote for them. The push through of the bailout against public outcry is proof that Democracy is Dead. Don't listen to the whiners that cry socialism, that will not happen, capitalism killed democray, we now live in a Plutonomy. Deregulation, Sub-Prime, Lobbying and Campaign funding, Mandatory Healthcare, these are a few of the terms we hear which prove that the people no longer have a voice in this country. I hate to say it, but our puppet government officials have made us economic SLAVES. I'm ready to to join the public revolt, that is the only thing that will change our country for the better.

    November 20, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  13. Tom n VA

    Who's to blame for the economy? WE ARE!

    We want what we want and we want it NOW. We are a nation of children. To blame the Democrats at this point only underscores are uneducated and mal-informed most of us are. We expect the governement fix ALL our problems immediately..yet COMPLAIN about the government when it tries.

    If tax cuts are given...the GOP screams INCREASED deficit! If healthcare reformis pushed (healthcare is a HUGE factor in dragging down the economy) theGOP screams louder.

    We really should institute IQ tests before people can vote.

    November 20, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. I pay my taxes

    The democrats are mostly to blame. They have controlled the senate for years. Now, with Obama in the White House, they continue to worsen the economy. WE NEED CHANGE!!!

    November 20, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. Paul Thompson

    The economy started it's spiral downward exactly when Obama was assured the Democratic Party's candidacy. How is the economy in Zimbabwe...they did this spread the wealth thing, too?

    November 20, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  16. bj, Texas

    Well surprise, surprise! That's what happens when ignorant, unemployed, illiterate dumbo-crats elect a socialist to run once powerful country.

    November 20, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  17. howie

    Americans are getting smarter

    November 20, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. Carnell From The Motor City!

    I Wonder How A Misleading Poll Reads, Well I Guess I Just Read One Right Here. Instead Of Pointing Out The Wrangling That's Still Clearly Going On Between The House And Senate All Year Long, Some (HypocriCNN In Particular) Want To Create A Strawman Argument On Who's To Blame.

    November 20, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  19. NC

    Why do the two parties have to constantly stand on oposite sides? Why does it have to be a political party's fault? It's the fault of poor regulation over big banks, Wall Street greed, and consumers who carry way too much credit. It's also the fault of the media for hyping our economic problems too much in September 2008, which sent us into a spiraling downturn during such an important economic time of year. But, the last time I checked we have both Democrats and Republicans putting together legislation and making fiscal decisions, they should both carry the blame equally if they are to be blamed at all.

    November 20, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. John

    While there are several Democrats complicit with the recession, it is the GOP and their business policies that led to the recession.
    The deregulation of banks and lack of oversight in Wall Street is the primary culprit. The Republicans believe that no intervention, ie: government oversight is the way to go. Less Government is better but they did not do their jobs in watching what was happening. They were too busy taking kickbacks, seeing lobbyists and living the high life.
    They literally outspent the Democrats in giving money away when they were in power. Not the mention the Billiions we have spent on a was that was not necessary, Iraq.
    So yeah, the Democrats now have the ball in their court, they have one of the most difficult times and many problems that the Repugnants have left them. So far the Repugnants have offered nothing to resolve the problems of our times. They created them and with their vote of "NO" they continue to be the party of the Rich and Wealthy.

    November 20, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  21. Diane

    What is all this about saddlling our children with our debt. I was two years old when WWII started. My taxes paid the debt for WWII and to rebuild France and Germany, didn't they? When George Washington took the oath as the first president of this country he had to tax the people to pay for the Revolutionary War. Each generation pays the cost of what happened in the previous generation. Let's make some sense here... HUH?

    November 20, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. terry,va

    News Flash....."I have created or saved 500 million jobs since I took office for the 330 million Americans. I have no idea why people are saying the economy is bad. I will give a BIG,BIG speech when I get back from China and remove my rickshaw hat and everything will be back on track", Obuumie said as he boarded Air Force One.

    November 20, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  23. randy

    It would be over with if they would have let the market play out. However Owhiner has put this country in so much debt we may never get out. Nobody will be able to live much less pay for this health care scam. He is trying to destroy the country right before our eyes, this is the country michele is proud of where everybody is poor and lazy.

    November 20, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  24. gpchicago

    Actually–the blame for the RECESSION lies with individuals who live beyond their means; the blame for the ECONOMY lies with an irresponsible and incompetent government (both the previous and present administrations) that spends beyond its means.

    November 20, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  25. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Gotta watch out Dems, I'm telling you.

    But in all fairness, there's really a lot of problems for both parties, we just ain't patient, that's all. Whether things have improved or not is open for debate but I will stick to what I've been saying for quite an awful long time. And that's just making sure we ain't thriving, I don't think so.

    November 20, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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