Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows
April 12th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows

(CNN) – As the stock market continues to show record highs, the number of Americans who say things are going well in the country has reached 50% for the first time in more than six years, according to a new national survey.

But that doesn’t mean the country is entirely out of the woods yet. The CNN/ORC International poll released Friday indicates that an equal 50% say the country is in bad shape.

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“The number continues an upward pattern since the summer of last year, when only 35% were optimistic about the country’s conditions,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While Wall Street shows positive growth, last month's unemployment numbers showed hiring slowed sharply in March, with the economy adding only 88,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain since last June.

The unemployment rate still slipped to 7.6%, according to a Labor Department report released last week, but that's because nearly 500,000 people dropped out of the labor market.

Nevertheless, Americans haven’t been this optimistic since January 2007, when 57% felt the country was in good shape. That quickly fell to 48% by April of that same year. For more of the next four years, the figure hovered in the 20’s and 30’s, and stayed mostly in the 30’s and 40’s last year.

Breaking down the new 50% number further, senior citizens and rural Americans are those least likely to give a thumbs-up to current conditions. Those between 18 and 34 are the most likely to be optimistic, with 60% things are going well.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: How happy are you? Add your opinion below.

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (428 Responses)
  1. twotwotango

    People don't nearly go out as much today as they did even a couple years ago in my city. And Silicon Valley execs are being traitors, pushing for importation of TENS of THOUSANDS of lower paid individuals (mostly from India) instead of opening offices in other parts of America for people who don't want to live in the Bay area or training people. Not very optimistic looking if you ask me!

    April 12, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. jw

    they polled young people....who really haven't lived yet...and don't have as much understanding of where things seem to be trending in the us.....which at this time I believe is towards more economic strife and even further squeezing on the middle class...til there is none.

    April 12, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. goingsearching

    led by our youth? is that the same youth that's about ruined this country?

    April 12, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. aunyrs

    Young people are traditionally progressive in their outlook and are often the product of what they are taught in school. Media drives opinion.More experienced citizens usually look at the all facts and use wisdom to make a determination. We evolve at varying rates. Clearly, some voters are not there yet. I do not want to live in a 1984 world(the book).

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. holam

    "ignorance is bliss, this world has really gone crazy and I guess the media is wanting it to be that way. Be careful that you get what you wish for, you might not like it when it is here.

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Doug

    Wow – this was a on the front page of CNN? Does Obama's party send money to cnn? As an independent I find this article incredible sad. So unemployment is still extremely high, there is no budget (again), and the administration is working on anything except the economy and the budget, and cnn does a poll which says 1/2 of a run people are happy which is good? I have to find a better news source!

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. rs

    The naivity of the American people is appalling. Re-electing the fool Obama with the national debt we have. The unrestrained federal spending. Tens of millions who have abandoned hope of finding meaningful work. The far left social policies. The blaming and dividing. The lies and deception. The class warfare. Nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran. Yes, so many reasons for informed optimism.
    So, what would you do? We can no longer afford wars with Iran and N. Korea (IF they were warrented) because of Bush; the deficit is down (as it always is with Democrats in charge; the Republicans have no fiscal plan anymore except to buy off the rich. So, what would you do?

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Brandon

    I think this article was created so that most of us could laugh at the conservative response..

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. DeanO

    Irrational Exuberance...retail sales are down...inflation up...taxes up...only stock market is up...its all a house of Cards...Feds are buying $85 BILLION a month. If they stop or cut back we would be in a depression. 500k are LEAVING the workforce every month...200k are added to disability roles...ITS a mess. Dont buy it...

    April 12, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Joseph

    Ah yes, those Repbumpkins are out in full force....I assume, with the same agenda as the past few years. Praying for the nation's economy to collapse so they can blame the President. Oh, also, with the help of their do nothing congress members.

    April 12, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Dennis W

    That's a crock. There isn't anything right now, in this country, that is moving in a positive direction.

    April 12, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Grouperz

    reading all these comments about how the ones who think things are going well are 'living off daddy's credit card' make me very nervous. That age group is 18-34. I left home at 18 and was shocked at the amount of college kids I ran into who had never held a job in their life or had no financial responsibility whatsoever. Are you guys telling me there are 34 year olds like that?!!? Holy crap. This generation is doomed.

    April 12, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Darkon711

    Well of course there's optimism. You can have plenty to look forward to when you don't treat money as God. That's why every other yutz posting here is so miserable.

    April 12, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. commonsense

    Cnn propaganda at its best..that 50% is the welfare baskets that voted for obama..

    April 12, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. nop

    I'm unemployed and can't find a job and unable my healthcare with my disability. They doesn't want people's inventions & religion anymore. They want sports, greed, cheat, steal, etc....

    This article is very depressing. How can job rates go up if there's killing, crimes, scams, and too many criminal rich all over the city?

    April 12, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. makeonomics

    I was stunned by the graphic you choose for this story. A giant neon red flashing sign urging people to shop more. This is exactly what's wrong with the country.

    April 12, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Marc L from NY

    Cause young people, with so much experience in life and worldly knowledge make good benchmarks. All this article talks about is the economy with regards to the mood of the nation. How about the psychology of the nation? How about the self righteousness of the nation? How about the entitlement mentality of the nation? How are they going to affect the nation down the road?

    April 12, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Liberal in America

    Obama's Welfare America is GREAT!

    April 12, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Tooch

    Although the economy has picked up some since last year, the looming 17 trillion debt which is quickly rising every day will not be denied. With every penny that's added to that number, our dollar is further devalued, and there will come a threshold where our creditors no longer accept it as payment. I pray that it never comes, but it's only a matter of time. Europe's financial crisis is actually helping us, because their currency is nearly worthless as well. You can say 'I don't want to hear this gloom and doom,' but these are the facts, and this happen, sooner or later. Those that refuse to believe this are setting themselves up for a lot of pain, although it will be felt across all classes, but worst for those making the least, which unfortunately are some of the same people who have generated this headline.

    April 12, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. ReaganLives4Ever

    6 year high? let's see that covers 2007-today....and youth, who have the highest unemployment in 50 years....
    gheez CNN – try not to be soo obvious with your propaganda.

    April 12, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Fred Phred

    This MUST be left wing propaganda.

    /sarcasm filter on

    Just because my savings are up, my 401k has doubled, my salary is up, my property values are up, and my mortgage interest rate is at an historic low.. it can't be good.

    Until this president is gone there IS no good news.

    /sarcasm off

    April 12, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. thebes42

    Figures don't lie- but liars do figure.

    April 12, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. rs

    Funny that the stock market is now at record highs- as are corporate profits and payouts and salaries. If we believe the GOP fairy tale we'll be trickled down on any minute now.... So, it is really funny that with the rich doing really, really well, the Righties are screaming "DOOM!". Your side is winning right? Lighten up.

    April 12, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |

    The youth hate debt, believe in freedom, and universal HC. The youth are under no illusion odf the solvency of Medicare, ans S.S.......The youth have more College grads, educated ready to compete.
    We are ready to strike meaningful compromise to push the country forward.

    April 12, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Chris

    Meanwhile in stock news I see this "Stocks extended losses in morning trading on Friday after data showed American consumer sentiment fell in April to its lowest in nine months."

    April 12, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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