CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise
August 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET
8 years ago

CNN Poll: Percentage who say economy's 'good' on the rise

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans still say that the economy's in poor shape. But the percentage who describe economic conditions as good continue to slowly but steadily increase, and now stands at its highest level since before the last recession, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll indicates that 58% of those surveyed rates the nation's economic conditions as poor, with 41% saying they are good.

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The percentage who say things are good is up from 29% last October to 32% in December, 36% in February, 38% in May and 41% now.

"The 41% is the largest number of Americans with a positive view of the economy since Barack Obama became President, and it represents the highest rating for the economy since the last recession officially began in December of 2007," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

CNN poll economic conditions graphic

The poll's Friday release preceded the Labor Department's report on July unemployment.

And it hits two days after new data showing that the economy bounced back in the spring, growing at a 4% annual pace in the second quarter. That's better than what economists had expected.

U.S. economy bounces back sharply

Revised numbers from that Commerce Department report also showed that the economy's winter contraction wasn't as bleak as first reported.

When it comes to perceptions about the economy, the CNN poll indicates a geographical divide.
"People in the Northeast, Midwest and West all appear to see some improvement in the economy. The number of Westerners who say the economy's in good shape has nearly doubled, and there are 15-to-18 point gains in the Midwest and Northeast.

"But it's a different story in the South, where the number of southerners who give a thumbs-up to the economy has remained stubbornly stuck at 34%, suggesting either that better times have yet to visit the South or that southerners have yet to perceive that things are getting better," Holland adds.

The poll also indicates a small gender difference as well, with economic optimism growing more rapidly among women than men.

Economy impacts midterms

Perceptions about economic conditions will be an important factor in November's midterm elections, as the economy remains the top issue on the mind of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released last week, 49% of those questioned said it was extremely important for the President and Congress to deal with the economy, higher than any other issue tested.

Key races to watch in 2014

More than a third of the Senate and the entire House are up for grabs in November.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

In the House, the Democrats would need to pick up an extremely challenging 17 Republican-held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Obama said Wednesday that "there are a lot of good reasons to be optimistic about America. We hold the best cards. Things are getting better."

But when it comes to the economy, the President and congressional Democrats blame the GOP in Congress for putting up roadblocks to measures that would help the middle class. Congressional Republicans return the fire, saying that Obama's economic policies are not working.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20 with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. big dawg

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read the headline and then saw that 60% (more than half) think the economy is not doing so well.

    We're up ..what..2% GDP for the ..let's not kid ourselves, that is not impressive.

    Also starting to see news of major layoffs.

    By the way, doesn't look like yesterday's 300 point loss reflected much confidence with investors.

    August 1, 2014 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  2. where is that 10 trillion ?

    with a 20 trillion debt that is being ignored by the media of which 10 trillion over and above is obama's only in only 5 yrs
    taking 235 yrs to amass the first 10 trillion. whats wrong with that picuture?
    castro and chavez robbed the banks and stashed 50 billion each in caribbean banks. where did obama stash
    the 10 trillion?

    August 1, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  3. BigB

    OMG! LOL. Really? If the economy is so good why is are the Feds continuing to print Billons of fiat currency every month?

    August 1, 2014 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  4. gregrustin

    great news. thanks Mr. Pres

    August 1, 2014 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  5. James B, FLORIDA

    It does not surprise me that the south is the one geographic area where people feel the economy is not improving. Republicans are the elected office holders "du jour" and their policies are generally ill conceived (and often based on THEIR religious values) for most citizens. They do next to nothing to promote job growth, work very hard to depress wages and cut back programs for those less fortunate. The south is the primary "taker" of government largesse yet lecture the rest of us about wasteful government spending.

    August 1, 2014 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  6. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Maybe those people down south would do THEMSELVES well if they got rid of their REPUBLICAN GOVENORS and LEGISLATURE that are holding their economy's back with their 1850s agendas!!!! Maybe you should join with the rest of us MOVING FORWARD in stead of BACKWARDS with the GOP CLOWNS. Wait till November when we kick out the GOP CLOWN SCOTT and his GOP CROOKED legislature, look at what the GOP is doing in Washington , making fools of them selves trying to prove that goverment doesn't work when it is that the GOP DOESNT WORK. KICK the GOP OUT across the country in November and MAYBE you might get a return on your tax money instead of watching the GOP WASTE IT and get NOTHING for it!!!!!!

    August 1, 2014 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  7. Just say'n

    Spin it. Way under half and everything is great.

    August 1, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  8. humtake

    Questioning by telephone doesn't do any good. People base their judgement solely on their own situation. So the person who has 5 children and works at McDonald's will say the economy is poor because they didn't graduate high school and expect the government to give them everything. And the person who exploits his workers and does shady dealings that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars will say the economy is fine.

    August 1, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  9. nunYerDamnBizness

    Economy getting better on BO's watch! this will only make the republicans try harder to mess things up... ridiculous people!

    August 1, 2014 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    --yes, USA economy is doing much, much, much better. They are calling me to work extra hours. Prices are coming down, ex, milk to 2.99 in Walgreens. Yes, I bought a shirt for three dollars. A pair of shorts for 4.99 plus tax. Gas needs to come down even further. We are producing more gas than importing from Saudi or Venezuela. Greed needs to come down, CEOs need to come to earth to comprehend these. Much better, knock on the wood, USA, god bless!!!!

    August 1, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  11. works4me

    Damn Obama... can you imagine where it would be IF the Republicans actually helped instead of standing on the nuts of the President and America?

    August 1, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  12. Insight

    Out of 58% who say economy is poor, 40% is GOP congressmen.

    August 1, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  13. stingray

    we will see

    August 1, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. TomInRochNY

    Hey, Republicans, where are the JOBS, JOBS, JOBS? Your economic plan isn't working. I'm still waiting to be trickled on. Oh, wait, I have been, for years.

    August 1, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  15. greenaxe

    Could very well be true, although I believe the GOP is in denial.

    August 1, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  16. BP4

    I see ...HELP WANTED ...signs all over. In my suburban town, Wendy's had to take out a mail circular to every home looking for workers.
    ...Now, I KNOW these are bottom rung jobs, ....BUT.....this indicates those openings are due to people getting BETTER JOBS,..............leaving the bottom rung open.

    August 1, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  17. BOK_in_Larksville

    They are being brainwashed by mainstream Media to think that.. It would amaze me if the NEWS actually reported the truth for once.. You have become nothing more than a corporate propaganda machine..

    August 1, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. korkea aika

    I wonder why the southern states can't get an optimistic outlook on the economy. Could it be that their republican and tea party members of congress are constantly bombarding them with fake bad news? or could it be that the lion's share of governmental largess goes to the south, and their republican representatives have choked the government at every turn? Either way, the southerners (poor, or on military retirement and VA benefits) need to wake up. The economy is on track, beating all of our world competitors and positioned to grow. So all the nay saying has to stop now!

    August 1, 2014 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  19. tsl

    another feel good story to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    August 1, 2014 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  20. Anonymous

    The Republican myth that the Economy is bad and Obama Care will kill small business.

    August 1, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  21. Dave1157

    "Congressional Republicans return the fire, saying that Obama's economic policies are not working."

    Well, statistics, math, and every respected economist say the exact opposite. But hey, don't let facts get in the way. It's becoming painfully obvious that the Republican party is pinning all its hopes on an uneducated and ill-informed electorate who incapable of thinking for themselves. And the really sad part is that strategy has been paying off to a fairly large degree. "Keep 'em dumb, barefoot, and pregnant." That seems to be the GOP mantra.

    August 1, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  22. stilldoinit

    Anyone who denies the economy has dramatically improved over the past 5.5 years simply is not paying attention, or is not looking at the economy objectively.

    Is it wonderful? Not by a long shot. Is it radically better than the waste laid by the Bush-Cheney Administration? Absolutely!

    The only thing that will likely kill it is voter apathy in 2014, and a failure to purge Congress of the "Do Nothing, Anti-American" GOP Congress.

    August 1, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  23. dave

    The economy must be pretty good, if so many can consider bringing more workers. It's like I've always said, the 15 million, or more, without jobs, will soon be forgotten. Millions drop out of the labor force, and that changes the statistic, and that's always been good enough. The republicans and democrats are really on the same page, both want to bring in more workers, not willing to do anything about the 11+ million illegal workers already here, and both are in favor or more bad trade deals. Meanwhile they blame each other for the bad economy. No matter which way the elections go, there's no way workers are going to win, it's just that same old steady, gradual decline for them. Workers just don't have a voice any longer, no one speaks, or lobbies for them, they have no 24/7 media voice. They can still vote, but votes heavily influenced by massive propaganda and lobbying. An example of that is that so many workers are in favor of bringing in more workers, even though they know that wages/salaries are in serious decline, and millions don't have jobs, many can't even find jobs to pay off their student loans. It's just that they are victims, victims of the propaganda.

    August 1, 2014 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Obama's economic policies are working, and that is without a single republican vote. Notice the south has not seen the economic growth, nor has Wisconsin, the Mississippi of the north. Hopefully, voters will realize that republicans have no economic policies other than tax cuts for the wealthy, and begin cleaning house on the brain dead republican governors.

    August 1, 2014 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  25. Srcactus

    When should you stop beating your wife?

    August 1, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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