Poll: How do you rate the economy?
May 24th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: How do you rate the economy?

Washington (CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans say that the nation's economy is in poor shape, but a new national poll indicates there are a few glimmers of optimism.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday morning, a third of the public says economic conditions are good right now. That's up seven percentage points from the 26% who felt that way in a CNN poll from December. And the 67% who rate the nation's economic conditions as poor is down from 74% at the end of last year.

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The poll also indicates that the number who say that conditions are "very poor," the worst option offered in the questionnaire, stands at 29%, the lowest point in over a year.

"Any positive changes in the economy appear to have only helped college graduates, while the rest of the country is still struggling," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The number of college graduates who think the economy is in good shape rose from 34% in March to 42% now, compared to no significant change among Americans with no college degree."

According to the survey, a majority say that the economic news they have heard recently has been mostly bad, but there is a glimmer of hope there as well. Thirty-seven percent say that the economic news they have heard recently has been good. That's up from 21% who said the same thing in a CNN poll from 2010.

Has the bull market on Wall Street made a difference?

"For some Americans, probably yes, but whether you consider record-high Dow Jones averages as good news probably depends on whether you own stocks. People who make more than $50,000 a year - and are much more likely to own stocks - are also much more likely than lower-income Americans to say that they have heard good economic news recently," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted May 17-18 by ORC International, with 923 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Economy
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I have plenty of college degrees and an income, but I see the USA economy for what it is: a mess caused by the people, not by the government or either political party.

    May 24, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. Republican who supports President Obama

    I think the people who answered the poll much be watching the "F" networks. In reality the market is getting better – I have a stable job, I am getting calls from headhunters, my 401K is in good shape, people are spending money, I see more luxury cars on the roads, wall street is performing on a top tier, etc. So tell me is the economy all that bad??????

    Things would be better once businesses stop overworking lower and middle-level folks take some of their profiits and give them more money (a 10%+ increase would be a good start). Do not just focus on top level management – they have enough going for them.

    May 24, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. Rick

    Live within your means just like Harvard Alumni does and you will be successful. We did it and we are doing fine. Don't be a consumer. This is the problem with America, we buy "things" because we want them, not because we need them. We buy a bigger TV because Joe next door has one. We buy a fancier car because the salesman says it's a great deal. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you want something bad enough, save up the cash to buy it. And most of all, don't go into dept just because you want something now.

    May 24, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. David Kuklinski

    Notice a trend there? The same right-wing, undereducated Anti-Americans are the ones skewing these polls. If you never made your grab for life in this country and instead sat around the trailer blaming "welfare moms" and "ghetto people" chances are you're in the "the economy is awful" bracket.

    May 24, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. Colorado

    Well allright. A little improvement. Now if we could only get both houses of Congress to stop tripping over themselves we might actually see some larger jumps.

    May 24, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. MaryM

    Much, Much better. Now if the repubs in congress would do what they promised and concentrate on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs the economy will the Alot better.

    May 24, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. It's Me

    Mr. Obama and his administration of misfits is focused on gun control, gay rights and illegal immigration instead of the economy, the debt and jobs. Oh well, 3 1/2 more years of NOTHING.

    May 24, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. Goby Dillis

    Its unchanged from 3 years ago, People just have overactive imaginations and eccentric perceptions about how the economy works and the time frames that are involved for changes to even be noticable. It gets hard to discern with all the hyperbole and misinformation, the political cherry picking and and over emphasis extolled by point pushers. Its the same. No real improvements yet.

    May 24, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. moving1

    Once again,CNN has good timing since the scandal is turning out to be nothing. So; let look for another news to paint Mr. O bad. Anytime O does someting good, they talk about in the lat 10 minutes of their news, and let it be a bad day, lead on with breaking news. Anyway, the economy is getting better, but we can do more to help everyoen who needs help.

    May 24, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Taroya

    The economy is better, but I want to see it improve to the point that employers realize that they no longer have their employees over a barrel.
    It is disgusting how they get away with hiring one person to do the work of two or more because they can put that one on salary and threaten them with unemployment if they don't like it.
    They claim that the the economy is too uncertain to hire, but they are quite certain enough to still give the CEO a multi-million dollar bonus. How many jobs do you think that amount could pay for? In the meantime, we would have more employed, and the more employed the more that is bought, and the more that are employed to keep up with the demand.
    In addition, we need to implement higher tariffs, so that companies that buy raw materials here, ship them to a country with cheap labor and then import the finished product can no longer pull that stunt to save a buck at the expense of American people.
    When was the last time you saw a label "Made in USA"?

    May 24, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. WouldYouLookAtThat

    MaryM wrote:
    Much, Much better. Now if the repubs in congress would do what they promised and concentrate on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs the economy will the Alot better.
    It would be a lot easier for them to focus on jobs if the white house wasn't being run amok and laced with scandals up to BO's ears....

    May 24, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. Walter

    We are closing in on 17 trillion dollars in debt. There are fewer and fewer "wealthy" people that we can seemingly make pay for the 1,385,752 things people want "for free." Businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars and no lib is going to make them spend a penny of it to hire a single worker. Gee, I wonder why there is so much malaise?

    May 24, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    It's coming back with no help from the gop bafoons party . The gop has worked sence 2009 to keep the economic down so Obama would be blamed,so they could get their man in the white house and failed again . The gop has done nothing for five years except hold 37 votes to repeal Obama care and hold hearings, witch hunts at 1.5 million each. I hear there's a memo out there that assa wants to hold hearings to see if the alcada terrorists rights were violated because they have to keep ducking maverick missles. The gop hearing czar assa needs to go in 2014 ,a wast of taxpayers money !!!!

    May 24, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. straighttalk

    The US economy is in big trouble because there are no new jobs paying a decent salary. Most of the jobs created are in construction, fast food and health care which pay little. The US Government is pumping money into the Stock Market giving the false impression that the economy will get better. It will not because China is making evereything form soup to nuts. Americans are made consumer slaves until they are totally broake. This is coming to a bitter end as soon as the Fed stops printing cheap money. The Gov is not telling the truth because it would create a panic in teh USA and so they keep us feeding false information. The truth is, this economy is in big trouble. Mark my word and see for yourself in about one more year or less.

    May 24, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. straighttalk

    The COngress and the Senate have destroyed the US economy by allwoing outsourcing. These people in Washington had no clue what they signed on when the big corporations outsourced. The Senators and Congresmen and women are an elitiest group who do not care about American citizens. They care about keeping their elitist status until they can retire and cash in on a good pension. These politicians in Washington are the poison which is killing America.

    May 24, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Marie MD

    @stuffit. For real. stuffit!
    That being said, you realize that most od those on welfare are in red states?
    I have been a registered Democrat all my life and have even voted a few times, when there was bipartisanship, for rethugs (best person for the job). I am not a dope addict, I don't steal from the government and have never belonged to a union.
    As far as the President's prom picture (realy nice BTW) I bet you didn't have a date to go to yours and had to stay in your basement crying. Too busy worrying about those welfare leeches to enjoy yourself then and now.

    May 24, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    How was under BUSH THE THUSH?? It is now good, stocks say it all.

    May 24, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. bencoates57

    As a social scientist I am aware of the confound here. The public responds to what they hear from CNN. If CNN keeps pushing its agenda of spreading optimism regardless of the reality, the numbers will go up. CNN is interested in the results of this poll but only because it gives them an indication of how well they're manipulating public perception.

    May 24, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Name Bob

    Just paid 150000 for college so my son can work for 13 $ an hour and live at home.That's is the new America.

    May 24, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. oldleftcoastdude

    Moral of the story....knuckle down, study hard and get a college education, if you want to succeed. It's that simple. High school and dropping out don't do it anymore.

    May 24, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. ice9load

    Polls like this are funny. Payrolls are down, taxes are up, unemployment remains unchanged for years. The administration does nothing about unemployment (except wait to drop more from the rolls so they don't have to be counted), runaway healthcare costs or corporate welfare.

    May 24, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The Economy currently is still suffering from the Housing Bubble. Too many people took out Morgages that had no way to pay under the liberal rules that caused the bsnks to collapse. That and the "Afordable" Care Act, known as Obama Care is holding back hiring. Anmd so the Economy is way down.

    May 24, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Tim

    I feel bad for those that have struggled. I am in much better shape now than I was 6-7 years ago. I'd hate to go back to that time. I have finally been able to retire after many years of working and owning two businesses. I've feel I've earned my government-funded retirement and along with my savings can enjoy my remaining years relaxing and doing volunteer work. Best wishes!

    May 24, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Too few USA citizens are willing to understand that the damnation of aspiration to great wealth had a very destructive effect on their economy. Selfishness was the fuel of America's rise to power.

    May 24, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Evergreen

    I rate it not as good as the Clinton years but a lot better than the Bush years.

    May 24, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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