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. ghostriter

    It's going great for me. Then again, it wasn't ever really bad for me. Lost some money when the market went sour. But the unemployment rate for those with ANY degree was 4%.

    Bob, that's alot of cash. Hopefully, your kid got a decent degree. Seems like Harvard and myself did. Makes all the difference, especially now.

    May 24, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Gregory L. Faith

    we are on auto pilot and the Federal Government is no where to be found. Things will continue the way they are only because you and I keep doing what we've been doing for the past few years. Cheers.

    May 24, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    When you are dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, things won't improve rapidly over night. And when you have a divisive congress where teapublicans block 99.9% of jobs initiatives just to score political points and undermine the Obama administration, economic growth would be slow. But the economy has improved significantly in the past four years nontheless because of the hard work and commitment by the Obama administration to stabilize the economy and put Americans back to work.

    May 24, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. rosethornne

    Tie Congressional pay to the minimum wage and I'll bet you'd see a real living wage right quick

    May 24, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. ghostriter

    Georgia Ray......It is always interesting to note how the liberals who didn't control the White House or Congress can be blamed for a recession that started under a republican White House and Congress. Especially since they "knew" this was coming. Maybe you can tell us why when they could pass tax cuts multiple times, Medicare Part D and pretty much anything else they wanted over the course of 2000-2006, but couldn't find the time to stop a recession from hitting. Maybe it was the liberal media's fault. Or maybe it was Obama's fault.

    May 24, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. Patrick

    The Fed is printing billions of dollars. The highest number of people on food stamps ever. The stock markets are are record highs yet many people are not working. Yet the unemployment number is going down. And college grads have slim change of getting a job. This is good?

    The stock market is high due to those companies taking advantage of the money being printed by the Fed. The smaller workforce also helps the bottom line of those companies. That helps companies stock prices. If the number of people of food stamps was at record low numbers and unemployment was at record low numbers then I would say the economy is doing better. Right now this is all smoke and mirrors.

    May 24, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. CJ

    "the economy" is a hard topic to cover. The markets are booming but the masses are stagnating.

    The cries of "there are jobs" is laughable. My company ran an add for a part-time bookkeeper last month and received 200 resumes the first day. Think about that. 200 people live close enough to a part time job and searched for jobs the very day it was listed, had a resume already ready and sent it in.

    The pool of unemployed and under employed people will not be exhausted in the next 5 years at the rate 'real' jobs are being created and that's not accounting for all the shiny new college grads that end up underemployed.

    May 24, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. spudnik56

    This poll is bogus, the housing market is up, unemployment is down, rates have not changed, and business spending is up. The pollsters must be talking to idiots...

    May 24, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Mammadukes

    I do not believe it is as bad as our politicians try to make us believe. It gives the power! I think they should all be fired. and I totally agree with a statement Blah Blah stated that a divisive congress where teapublicans block 99.9% of jobs initiatives just to score political points and undermine the Obama administration. I do not choose to believe there crap and I will continue to thrive. The rest of us, Americans .. need to speak up, take action like we did in the 60's. It get things done!

    May 24, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. 4kidsandahusband

    I would like to say that I think the economy is getting better, but I truthfully can't. My husband and I both have decent jobs but he has not had a raise in 6 years! With me only getting 3 1/2% raises each year, yet our taxes and insurance doubling in that time, we are actually living on less income now. We have no credit card debt, no auto debt, ( 3 cars that are 7,10, and 20 years old), and contribute modestly to my 401K program, but have very little emergency savings to speak of. With 2 of our kids in college, it takes everything we have to feed, clothe, and house our kids as they try to get their college degrees. I realize we are alot better off than others, but it is really hard to feel like you are moving foward financially when you always feel you are one big disaster away from going into a hole you could not get out of.

    May 24, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The sad reality is that conservatives will NEVER work with the current administration to move the country forward on any domestic issues because in their view, if things improve, it would be a win, not for America but for Obama. I remember the debt ceiling compromise two years ago where conservatives stressed deficit reduction. But when the Obama administration even went overboard to cut critical domestic programs to reach a deal with conservatives, Eric Cantor and the tea party attacked Paul Ryan, claiming that their compromise averting a government shutdown, may have just resulting in Obama re-election.

    And unfortunately, this deliberate and shameless conspiracy by conservatives to undermine the Obama administration to score political points and cater to their special interests has hurt this country tremendously and sadly, these deliberate roadblocks and policy delaying tactics continue more than four years today. I never knew the color of a man's skin bothered conservatives as much as the President's skin color bothers them. Simply appalling.

    May 24, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. bla

    It's... Really about the same as years before for me and my family.

    The actual numbers may tell a different story, but the way it feels for most people (which is what the poll accounts for) is nothing's really changed.

    May 24, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I believe the poll is accurate because it reflects the participants view of the economy. But this isn't a report from Marketwatch, CNNMoney or the Congressional Budget Office's assessment of the economy which is usually accurate. The las few reports I saw from these financial sources said we were over the Great recesssion and the economy was on the rebound. The current poll in question is just an opinionated poll. I rely on reliable sources.

    May 24, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    If I didn't know better I'd swear I was at the Fox News site. So the Dow being the highest it's been in years, deficit down and more people getting back to work is bad???
    The labor participation rate is the lowest it's been on record. That is the truest barometer of the economy – the more people you have participating in the economy, the better it is. IT IS AT IT'S HISTORIC LOW.

    The Dow? Please... is the Dow at it's highs a reflection of fundamental economic strength, or the fact that t-bills and investment quality bonds are returning historically low yields?

    May 24, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. emskadittle

    The republicans just need to admit that he won the election and get back to work

    May 24, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. ghostriter

    Fair, CJ,

    These employer shenanigans began after 9/11. I remember the good ol' days of yearly reviews for raises, vacation time, sick time and personal time. Raises fell off back then and never came back. Now we have PTO..vacation time you can use for everything.

    What I've noticed is that now employers are doing more with less. Let's face it, not many are gonna complain. Most folks have mouths to feed. They will accept low paying jobs, they will accept working 50+ hour weeks. Working on weekends. Just to keep their jobs. Americans are at an al time high in productivity. Yet our wages have been stagnant for over a decade. Meanwhile, companies get to enjoy the benefits while claiming the bad economy is holding them back.

    I am fortunate enough to be in the tech field. Unfortunately, one of the few things congress can agree on is to increase the number of foreigners they will let work here. Imagine that.

    May 24, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. RDH

    This economy isnt bad, now when the FED induced money supply bubble breaks and we enter into hyper inflation then you will know what a bad economy is.

    May 24, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What did Sen. McCain call the policy busting wing nuts in the House? O' yea, "whacko birds." I remember before the 2010 mid term election, the democratic controlled congress was adding 400,000 to 500,000 jobs a month. But when the "whacko birds" took over, we were barely adding 60,000 jobs a month.Following President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address in which he introduced the American Jobs Act of which the CBO and several independent economists said would have added 1.9 million jobs right away, the whacko birds blocked the bill, claiming that it won't work. But four plus years later, the whacko birds are YET to introduce a jobs bill that works.

    May 24, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    @ ghostriter –

    "I am fortunate enough to be in the tech field. Unfortunately, one of the few things congress can agree on is to increase the number of foreigners they will let work here. Imagine that."
    My husband is an IT guy. Are you aware that the so-called "Immigration Reform" legislation passed overwhelmingly out of committee in the Senate contains a provision for 160,000 NEW H1-B visas, and that the spose of each of those visas can get an IT job as well? It's disgusting and SOMETHING needs to be done about it.

    May 24, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Wake up People!

    @Blah, blah. I couldn't agree more.

    Fair..... Oh just forget it.

    To the poster crying about only getting a 1/2% raise. Cry me a river. That is the greed of the company you work for. The company I work for doesn't even give raises. Why is no one upset with these greedy "job creators"??

    May 24, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Matt

    The official numbers mask how bad the economy is. Unemployment is only creeping down because the tally doesn't count those who give up looking and those whose unemployment insurance ran out. The growth rate is a positive number only because inflation is calculated leaving out daily expenses of ordinary people like groceries and gasoline. The stock market is high only because money is cheap.

    May 24, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. CM46

    The economy is clearly improved in the Bay Area. The stores have more traffic; restaurants are full again. My son and his friends are now all employed in positions with a future.
    My IRAs have regained all their value. Economy is better despite the efforts of the House of Representatives to ruin it.

    May 24, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Peach

    Wow where do all you people live that say this economy is good-- under a rock?

    May 24, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    @Blah, blah. I couldn't agree more.

    Fair..... Oh just forget it.
    No facts, "wake up"????

    May 24, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What did Sen. McCain call the policy busting wing nuts in the House? O' yea, "whacko birds." I remember before the 2010 mid term election, the democratic controlled congress was adding 400,000 to 500,000 jobs a month.
    The following data comes from the federal government's department of labor statistics – jobs lost (-) or added (+) by month for 2009 and 2010.

    Jan 2009 -794,000...Feb 2009 -695,000...Mar 2009 -830,000....Apr 2009 – 704,000...May 2009 -352,000
    Jun 2009 -472,000...Jul 2009 -351,000...Aug 2009 -210,000...Sep 2009 -233,000...Oct 2009 -170,000
    Nov 2009 -21,000... Dec 2009 -220,000

    Jan 2010 -13,000... Feb 2010 -40,000... Mar 2010 +154,000... Apr 2010 +229,000... May 2010 +521,000
    Jun 2010 -130,000... Jul 2010 -86,000... Aug 2010 -37,000... Sept 2010 -43,000... Oct 2010 +228,000
    Nov 2010 +144,000... Dec 2010 +95,000

    Care to restate your comment?

    May 24, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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