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. Creel

    Half the people in the US say everythings great, half say everythings no so great, and unemployment is the same as it has been for years. CNN proclaims "Optimism at an all time high".

    April 12, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. romoownssteveyoung

    I'm twenty seven, I work 50 hours week, that being said, plenty of jobs out there the older americans just need to update their skills to match the modern work force needs. That being said this hard working American doesnt care what a bunch of rednecks and old people think. One group dreams of a palin/Cruz ticket in 2016 and the other will only be around for a few more years anyways. From where I'm sitting the future is very bright under this administration for the first time I'm making 40k a year and got health insurance which I pay for(20 a month thanks obamacare) and that's without a college degree. 🙂

    April 12, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. GOP lover

    ofcorse the youth is gonna believe anything Obama tells them... its all about Koolade and banndaids..

    April 12, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Jim

    Thank God a Republican Congress slowed down obama's spendthrift ways!

    April 12, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Richard Long

    "Optimism is growing, led by young people"
    Rose colored glasses... Job markets are still bad. Thousands still employed. So what is in the future for these kids when they try and find a job? Fighting against a generation that can't retire. Scrapping against a generation with five times the experience for the same entry-level position. Waiting for 12 criminals to be released into the job market under the guise of 'immigration'
    Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy as we were promised, barack is too busy campaigning, fundraising, pushing gun confiscation, letting the gay marriage debate cloak his apathy to the economy, push amnesty for criminals, throwing more money at 'green energy'. Then there is barack's 2013 budget proposal... thousands of Social Security participants who will have their benefits cut so barack can have his blank check.
    Happy? Not so much...

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Homer Simpson

    All gop bloggers, tell me how the gop mandate helps working class, rosalyn, get a skilled trade, or experience level that speaks for you, many people with no skills complain about no job, be honest, you dont have much to offer, other than running a cash register, i did an apprenticeship because i was tiredof being paid crap for wages

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Bryan

    I call BS. This data is manipulated just like the poll that says 90% of Americans want background checks. CNN has joined the ranks of the Enquirer.

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. michael

    Well things are better than they were six years ago . I don't think there is much dispute in that. Still when only fifty percent of the population are optimistic in an country that is known for its optimism that is not a terribly great sign. Surprising also that it went from 35% to 51% in less than a year that is a pretty large jump. Also I question that young people are so optimistic . They have some of the highest unemployment rates , and many college grads have pretty high debt levels. Of course when you are young you are supposed to be optimistic. But don't tell me how you feel. Tell me what you did. Optimistic people tend to do things that indicate a faith in the future. Get married, buy a house , leave your parents basement, have children . All of those things are better indicators of how people really feel

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. HenryB

    It is clear from some of these posts, that they are not the 50% who are optimistic. I guess the 50% are the same bunch of takers that the GOP throws under the bus.Lighten up GOP, I know these results do not match your narrative but quit being so bitter.

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. TruthandConsquence

    Lovely self gratifying poll....CNN loves these kinds of things....but, they really should ask all those unemployed, all those no longer in the job market and all those middle class folks tending tables and competing with illegal latinos for construction jobs.

    April 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. lil bobo

    Poor republicans...stinks the everything is getting better, doesnt it?

    April 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Jonathan

    Fox news is really something. They mentioned that 50% of the country wasn't happy with the way things were going but didn't mention that the other 50% were.

    April 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. xyzthegreat

    God Bless America!!

    April 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Cynthia Woodson

    I can't believe CNN makes this sort of thing up. This economy is in the dumps. Why doesnt ObamaClown go ask people in Chicago how they are doing financially that are on the streets. Such a biased article based on no facts whatsoever.

    April 12, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Bryan

    We're at DEFCON 3 for Pete's sake. Do they even have editors at CNN anymore?

    April 12, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. DustyOnes

    Funny....the Money article on CNN yesterday was saying just the opposite.

    So does the 663,000 that dropped out of the job market last month.

    April 12, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Amused

    Wow, i would love to see what is behind this poll... who was asked by age, party affiliation. I find it very hard to believe that with the high unemployment figures, rising health insurance costs, and all the college graduates who can't find work, the plant closings, the uncertainty with the far east and N. Korea... NO, things are most definitely NOT getting better. I have a feeling that as the full impact of the Obamacare fees, taxes and premium increases hit in the coming year...even CNN will not be able to rig the stats to suit their ideology.

    April 12, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama:
    The GOP said that God would choose our President in 2008.
    God chose President Obama both in 2008 and 2012.

    Too funny!

    First they told us God wanted Michele Bachmann. Oops.

    Then they told us God wanted Rick Santorum. Another oops.

    Then they told us God wanted Rick Perry. Big oops, Perry was.

    Finally, they settled on telling us Mitt Romney was God's choice for America.

    And, all along it seems God really wanted Barack Hussien Obama. Again.

    April 12, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Esyld

    I wish people would stop referring to young people as "stupid." Were you the epitome of intelligence when you were young? I think "inexperienced" is a better word to describe them. They simply haven't lived enough life yet to have a fully mature perspective on things. What we also need to remember is that young people are the future. While they are young and care free with few worries, I say let them be happy and enjoy their youth. Why force them to grow up so fast and throw the world's problems in their faces before their childhoods are over? Apparently some people do not think the emotional and mental well-being of our youth matters much. What a jaded society we've become.

    April 12, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. vinster76

    for those of us with a little wisdom and some of life's difficult experiences behind us, we know things are different in this nation, and not necessarily in good ways. This current president, whether intentionally or not, fooled many people with promises and policies that have not worked. Yet, in youthful ignorance, or whether in the grand scheme of not knowing this history of other great nations in the past, the country is headed in the wrong direction on many fronts. Someone on here earlier spoke of businesses closing due to higher prices and the impact of the foolish government run health care plan......You can discount my words, but you will be unable to discount the judgment of history, which, if we do not change course, will be harsh on the once-great USA

    April 12, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Schloss

    Had to laugh when i read this. There are so many people unemployed right now. Talk about being out of touch, CNN.

    April 12, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Apotropoxy

    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, a CNN/ORC International survey shows.

    In other news, the Republican Party has just gone on suicide watch.

    April 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. BigObummer

    As a translation service for low information voters......the actual story is "for the past six years that Democrats have controlled congress the majority of people think things are going badly".

    April 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Get Real

    The Prez is steadily vacationing whilst he looks down his nose at others who do it in the private sector. He talks about how he knows the struggle of middle class.....but his solutions is more hand outs.

    April 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Scott

    who are you inteviewing. most are pessimistic

    April 12, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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