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. notacommie

    Really?? The world is burning around us and mainstream media tells us otherwise....great journalism!!!!!

    April 12, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Believer 360

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America! God shed his grace on Thee

    "America The Beautiful" (which should be our National Anthem).

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Big Time

    Just waiting for the next correction to hit when folks realize the current market situation is built on an even weaker house of cards than the last two "bubbles". Will it really take three crashes and recessions within 20 years to get folks to wake up???...based on current behavior I'm not sure if we'll ever learn...stand by for more Detroit's...

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Robert

    Interesting, since the headline on CNBC right now is "Consumer Mood Sours as Fears About Jobs Rise."

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Homer Simpson

    The sky is falling!

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. wildling

    "ignorance is bliss" ? there really isn't much to celebrate... we have a stock market bubble in the works and it looks like real estate may take another dive soon... oh and subprime is back jack!

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Jon King

    Republicans before Obama....deficits don't matter. Now....deficits are all that matters.

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Mark

    The fact that so many people are happy is making the conservatives and Republicans really sad!

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. DebbbieS

    Sorry things are getting better, repubs......must really burn your britches.

    April 12, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. jim

    lol – contrary to all other indicators, surveys and polls, we are supposed to believe this one....

    April 12, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. james

    they say the countries improving, my butt, workmans comp cut in half, medical isnt paying for cancer, local company fired 900 employees, another company fired 200 emplyees all in a weeks time, now just like my brother needs a kidny transplant dang insurance doesnt cover that, forget obamacare, your polls are wrong unemplyment has sky rocketed, and economy has dropped so far down the crapper, get your polls right

    April 12, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Robert

    A NNC ("We're In The Tank for Obama") poll with these results. What a surprise. I suppose the other economic numbers are just a fluke...since young people think the country is in great shape that MUST be true. Forget about the Fed artificially keeping the market high, or the small number of new jobs, or the very great number of people who have stopped working.

    The funny thing about NNC is that they're so completely subjective and shameless in their pandering. The last two days of pandering for gun control wasn't enough ("news" channel? really?) it's yet more efforts to support their beloved President.

    Too bad, guys. You actually used to be a real news channel.

    April 12, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. Linda

    What planet do they live on? It's hard to believe so many of them are low information voters, Just wait until reality hits them in the face.

    April 12, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Larry in Houston

    something doesn't smell right – the stock market is the highest it's EVER Been . Sad part is : the Feds keep pumping IN more money – & the Government continues to PRINT it – no wonder Gold is at an all time high ! I remember when Gold was 35 bucks per oz. & money was actually Worth Something.

    April 12, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Nik

    Of course the youth of this nation is optimistic. Baby boomers are starting to die off and will stop draining our economy and holding on to antiquated ideals. We will happily lead the country and actually fix the problems you all created in the name of not saddling "your kids and grandkids" with x, y and z.

    The best thing The Boomers could do is get out of the way because there is no way the younger generations could possibly screw it up worse than you already have.

    April 12, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Gaunt

    So what will the tea party do next to sabotage the country so that they can blame it on Obama?

    April 12, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. Knucklehead

    Do they have an app for that? Optimism, I mean?

    April 12, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. JFCanton

    I think things are OK, and that opinion hasn't really changed since 2007. Getting over 50% is hardly a major achievement, though; it must be either a shallow or a negatively tilted poll?

    And I would question why younger people would be more likely to be optimistic when they're the ones who are going to pay off MUCH more collective personal and government debt than their parents or grandparents did. (I will have to pay it too, though I hope to earn enough to cease making taxable income before the bill really comes due.)

    April 12, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. blake

    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.

    April 12, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Michael Thieme

    Do people really believe this crap? I don't know why I'm surprised anymore.

    April 12, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. John Henry

    Over $1T in student loan debt. 48M people on food stamps. The labor force participation rate is the lowest since 1979. Is that a rosy scenario?
    From ancient times forward excessive debt has destroyed countries. That’s why religions outlawed loan interest payments. Exodus 22:24 (25) — If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest.
    Congress has spent America into the grave. There is no way to resolve our debt crisis without a financial meltdown. Rumors of Bernanke stopping QE are wrong. If Bernanke stops QE the interest payments on our public debt rises to $1.2T.
    Asia is preparing to dump the US dollar as the world's reserve currency. When that occurs we can no longer buy imports with US dollars. That's when the wheels come off the wagon.

    April 12, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. C. Rodgers

    Youthful optimism is nothing new. Unfortunately simply feeling optimistic doesn't affect reality

    April 12, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Bev

    WHAT FOOL wrote this and what kind of Koolaide is he drinking? what a load of bull.

    April 12, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. d

    ..Ive never in 50 yrs been approached for any kind of poll...I wonder who the people are theyre talking to? Maybe all the people they interviewed for this live in Malibu or theyre exceptionally naive

    April 12, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Zach Leach

    While young people are important for the health of a society, I have found that while most Americans are fairly uneducated on "issues", young people are generally so. I definitely was one, once haha, but my opinions are plain. They will grow up and realize that the stock market hasn't made their job prospects any better. In fact, the stock market's engine depends on their future in the United States becoming even more bleak.

    April 12, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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