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. BeverlyNC

    Thank you President Obama. You have never given up on America or stop fighting for the People. Republicans have disrespected you, told lies about you, spread hate and bigotry, and even have attempted to cheat in elections. They have obstructed every single act you have tried to do for jobs and to strengthen our economy. The Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell have filibustered 388 times every piece of legislation connected to helping the People in a desperate attempt to bring you down. Now it has backfired on them and they are the most hated Party for all their betrayal of the People when we needed help the most.
    You never gave up despite it all. You kept doing what was right, just, and principles. You went to the People and offered hope, listened to what we wanted and needed, and created an agenda around it. We are about to offer equality to gays. We are about to offer equality and a path to citizenship for immigrants. We are trying to respect women and see they are treated fairly in job pay,protection from domestic violence and positions of influence in the Cabinet.
    We are seeking to protect the poor, seniors, and create strong educational foundations for our children We are ending fraudulent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing our soldiers home.

    This is what America should be and what the People envision it to be. Equality, Justice, a Fair chance to Succeed, and Values of Respect, Compassion, and Humanity.

    Thank you President Obama. You have led to way back to our core principles as a nation and put the People first again. Yes, I am optimistic about the future for you have shown great leadership during the worst of times and kept us moving forward.

    April 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Fernando

    Why not make post-secondary education free? The U.S. and banks are banking on education in the worst way. All for a garnishment of a pay chech, IRS garnishment , and garnishment in social security checks. This is a big reason why our economy is not stimulated, nobody has money to put back into it. .Student debt in federal loans is the deficit of America. The economy is failing and everyone is returning to school unemployed. The ripple effect has already began.

    April 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Hogan's Goat

    "something doesn't smell right – the stock market is the highest it's EVER Been" And it would be SO easy to fake that, right? You'd only need EVERYONE in the world to be in on it. You know, because the stock market is where they . . . oh forget it, you wouldn't understand.

    April 12, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. GI Joe

    88,000 wasn't good, but it sure beat losing 700,000 per month for a year!!

    April 12, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Ric

    Come on guy use the REAL numbers

    April 12, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Tim

    Pretty funny that I see this after being laid off for the first time last week - after never missing a paycheck for 26 years...

    April 12, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Jerseygirl28

    Wow you are all so optomistic – nice to hear. It's not enought that the 8 years under Bush the 2nd tore the heart out of this country... Two wars, tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this county, prescription drugs for the elderly... it's never enough for the wealthy – no they can't bring themselves to pay more tax to a country that gives them the opportunity to create their wealth. Historicallly it has been the wealthy that has made this country what it is and has given them their large bank accounts. What you need to understand and see is how we are slowly becoming a cast society. There will be no middle class anymore, sadly that is what makes this country tick – is the middle class. It's the middle class that holds up the wealth in this country. But since Wall Street found ways to take the money and taxes out of this country we no longer be the strongest nation that the world looks up to. It is right to squeeze the edlerly, policemen, firefighters, teachers and all the other service employess of this country who struggle to make end meets because their pay and collective bargining rights are being taken away from them. Look back at our country 100 years ago – the turmoil and politics not much different but percentages of class are much wider...

    April 12, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. John H

    This article is a load of bull. This economy sucks and in the back of everyone's mind who is saying otherwise, they know the truth.

    April 12, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Hogan's Goat

    Despite everything the GOP could do, America has prospered. Really, wrecking the economy and trying to blame it on the black president was your dumbest idea ever. What were you disloyal turkeys THINKING?

    April 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |

    The labor rate for Americans under 27 is at its lowest rate in the last decade, our debt is out of control and neither party can have a debate without insults and hate. Morals in this country are warped by the zero values in the media and broken homes. Other than that, things are great

    April 12, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Fred Phred

    let's all drink the kool aid this nice man from kenya made...i'll go first.

    April 12, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Bretfox



    April 12, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Ah, yes. The glass half full or the glass half empty scenario ... yes, CNN?
    You called that one right, per usual, my friend.
    Why is it that they feel compelled to temper good news with phrases that start with "but..."?
    WTH is wrong with just letting us feel good about our country and about our President?
    In case we don't re-connect again have a great weekend!

    April 12, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Name

    what good news and American optimism, please can we get a republican president in the white house to change that please.

    April 12, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. BobTheJanitor

    500,000 "dropped out of the labor market?" Did they all find jobs? No, they did not...the feds just stopped counting them so they could pad the numbers and make things look better than they really are.

    I'm sure that at one time the Jews in Nazi Germany were optimistic, too...look at what happened to them!!! Take a hint, America!!!

    April 12, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Jim Wingate

    It's far too early to pop the cork just yet. Perhaps in 2017 after Obama leaves office and we get a conservative Republican in the White House who will hopefully be a two termer. It's going to take 8 years to undo the damage Obama did during his 8 years in office.

    April 12, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Jeff

    The optimisim would be even higher if the "Party of No' would stop being so obstructionist and work with the president on the things he wants to do to improve the economy and the country's infrastructure.

    April 12, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Dave Green

    @Tim, I am sorry to hear that. I got laid off 4 years ago and was out of work for over a year. I've finally recovered, and am even in a better situation than I was, but I know exactly where you are at. I wish you the best. The good news is, with 26 years of never missing a paycheck, if anyone can find work it will be you. Hang in there!

    April 12, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Name Evan

    Did you see the consumer confidence number this morning? It was the biggest drop in 9 months and the biggest miss from expectations in the history of tracking the number. What niimrod does your polling?

    April 12, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Nate

    Isn't optimism just another way of saying hope and dreams?

    April 12, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. nuclear mike

    Best come and ride around town with me and see where all this optimism can be seen in all the empty retail store fronts.
    MOre media spin for a Prresident who cannot & will not be a moderate. His cause or no solutions as he tries to increase the government's role in everyone's life so that we all will vote ourselves free money to be taken from others...

    Game over, Mr. President as the CNN hype just does not sell...

    April 12, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Trent

    Republicans REALLY HATE good new, don't they! It lets all of the hot air out of their chicken little routine! It cracks me up! LOL!

    April 12, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Here's a good Stephen Colbert quote for all you sour grapes out there "Guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. And reality has a well-known liberal bias."

    April 12, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. mcwreiole

    This media sponsored "recovery" is actually laughable. This country is a mere shadow of its former self and drowning in freebees for half the nation and burdensome road blocks for anyone who might wish to do better. Is blaming President Bush really working for you? Is demonizing anyone with a different opinion working for you? Is the boot of the unions planted firmly on the nation's neck working for you? Are the lies and evasions of this administration working for you? Is enslavement to government assistance working for you? Tell me, what is working for you?

    April 12, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. LAN

    They must not have polled all of the recent college graduates who can't find jobs and are working multiple part time jobs.

    April 12, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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