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. Mark

    CNN YOU SUCK!!!!! Stop spilling your lies...You can ask a bunch of 18 yr olds how they are feeling and expect that they know of the real challenges facing this nation. I have no talent in news writing, but I could do a better job of choosing which articles to publish.

    April 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. ARdude

    Another story says retail sales were NEGATIVE .4% in March... the worst IN NINE MONTHS What is it CNN? Good or bad news? "Led by the younger generation"???? THAT'S comforting.

    April 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. GMcmanus

    How ironic...all the other major news-outlets report a downward trend in consumer spening. In fact, the month of March reflected weaker consumer spending?
    Why CNN are you distorting the facts. I wish this website could be a bit fairer with it's new stories, but unfortunately like so many news and media outlets, they cater to their own agenda.

    April 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. KMS

    This is true, in my world. This year, I've recouped my 2008 losses.

    April 12, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. joe

    Hell yes life is good they are all dependent on government and parants. Wait till the cash cow dries up!!!!!

    April 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Jose

    Freak Obama and all this good news. This sucks. Can't wait for Obama to be out of office. I'm tried of good news (sarcasm over). This is in spite of all the stonewalling and sabotaging being operated on by republicans. Imagine how much better off we'd be if republicans had put their hatred and racism aside.

    April 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Homer Simpson

    Well wade, at least you did not assign blame. watch the frontline special that airs tapes of the gop, conspiring to start another great depression, all because of a black president. its would seem obvious that these tapes are genuine, as the actions since the collaborate the sentiment expressed on tape. why vote for a party who thinks like that?.someone stupid, or wealthy.

    April 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. sane

    retail sales slumped last month...Time NOT to Shop I guess?! haha

    April 12, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. dorkmeister

    Young people in the US are NOT exactly the sharpest tacks in the box!!!

    April 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Robb

    Those between 18 and 34 are the most likely to be optimistic, with 60% things are going well.

    Enough said right there. You the part of the population 18-25 who still suck off mommy and daddy and dont understand the gravity of the price hikes happening. then you have a large number in the age group of 26-34 who are sucking off the govt and never noticed a bubble, hiccup or anything else wrong with the economy. Those are the facts, CNN could be the BIGGEST propaganda machine ever assemble for anyone or anything at anytime in history! AMAZING! Whats even more amazing is that I actually took time to read this site and respond to this idiotic poll.

    April 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. sane

    And, Job participation hasn't been this low in 30% years. just saying.

    April 12, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Lets Rock!

    Same here, I lost a very well paid job during the recession. It caused me to launch my own business and after some of the usual challenges the business is starting to soar. I am one of the older Americans and I say Lets Rock! Stay away from the idiot Republican wars, invest in the future of our America!

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. comacentral

    As one of the 4.8 Long Term Unemployed Americans I find this piece disturbing because there is no way you can poll 1,012 people via phone and expect it to accurately representation anything but the point you set out to prove. First of all most of the people who are in dire straits, guess what, don't have phones especially landlines which is what you most likely called.. Why is the Corporate Media trying to push this idea that everything is getting better when in fact it is not. I'm not a GOPer either and yes I voted for Obama but let's be honest our unemployment rate is really around 30% with young Americans and people over 50 disproportionally leading the way. Let's stop play partisan politics with people lives.

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. AJW3

    With all the churches prayer for an economical collapse we, will all soon be in a soup line.

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Get Real

    BTW....the Obama admin is encouraging banks to go back to the irresponsible mortgage lending that got us into this mess, and in return...the banks are asking for immunity from the Justice Dept in order to do so. Because they know ANOTHER housing bubble will be created in doing so and do not want to be punished from rules created in the Dodd-Frank bill.
    So way to go really have this economy thing figured out..

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. FED-UP

    These headlines are pure fantasy!! I am absolutely certain not a single Federal employee was surveyed, especially from Department of Defense. For those surveyed, you can leave off the "Six-Year" portion of the headline and just leave "High"

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Joe

    Young people are leading the nation now? CNN is so happy to boost Obama's administration in any way possible.

    Six year high. LOL Are these young people coming out from being their Xboxes yet?

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. JJ

    Really? where are the jobs at? What about that debt around 60K per each house in the USA?

    April 12, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. Joe

    Unemployment is at its lowest since 1979 when Carter was president it was announced last week when counting those who dropped off the rolls. It was announced this week that foreclosures are back up to the rate they were at the highest point in the housing crisis. Disability claims are at an all time high. The people on food stamps are at an all time high. People in the minority community have the worst unemployment. Next year when Obama care kicks in those small businesses that cannot afford the cost of healthcare will have to pay a big fine that will either force them to drop people to part time or possibly go out of business resulting in more lost jobs. Yeah, there is so much to look forward to! People are in for a rude awakening!

    April 12, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |

    This folks is what we call mainstream media propaganda.

    And young people are generally optimistic until they get out into the real world and need to pay back those student loans, car loans, rent, and whatever else they could avoid while living with mommy and daddy.

    April 12, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. sane

    Great, now we are getting the pulse of the economy from 20 year-olds...

    April 12, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. Wake up People!

    Of course things are not perfect but things do seem to be looking up. However we could really be doing a lot better if the GOP wasn't blatantly trying to sabotage any and all progress the POTUS attempts to make. It's childish and stupid and had the dems done this exact same thing when Bush II was illegally placed in the WH, we would have NEVER heard the end of it.

    The GOP is nothing but a klan of traitors.

    April 12, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Gurgyl

    Things are much better than GOP idiotic wars, Guns, bribes, tax-evasions, bad roads, bad railways, bad airports, bad pumping 20 billion dollars to PAKISTAN, ignoring USA-enough–enough. Nation today is on right track.

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. AmericanSam

    Thank God for Conservative watchdogs: good news = liberal media. Bad news = liberal media trying to pretend to be unbiased. Economy getting better = liberal media. Economy getting worse = yay, Obama looks bad!

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. BreckNDpendent

    Unicorns and Rainbows I tell you!

    April 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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