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. Ryan

    Wow, a slightly misleading headline when it's still 41% vs 58%

    August 1, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Tennis Nirvana

    Yep, when you have 100 million people unable to even feed themselves and are on food stamps, the economy must be awesome!

    August 1, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  3. SorryCNN

    You're surveying the same group of people that elected Obama twice. So why are we assuming they are always right about everything?

    August 1, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. Oliver

    A marginal improvement due to the massive amount of liquidity injected by the Fed. Not to mention interest rates at their lowest level.. However, the fundamentals are still very weak. More than 2/3 of the GDP is "consumption" and the average consumer simply does not have much money to spend [low wages]. Fundamentals are like gravity. You can choose to ignore them at your own peril.

    August 1, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  5. Shefter Laurent

    Good job Mr. President. Obamacare, the economy... All getting better!
    You beat the Repub-haters. Ha haha

    August 1, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Numbers don't lie unless you're reading Karl Rove's. I thought the President's policies were destroying the economy?

    August 1, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  7. banlarson

    Things are getting better Mr. President? Must be all the good things you are doing....wait, what have you been doing besides fund raising and continuing to campaign?

    August 1, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. jackm7

    CNN: "The economy is good....the economy is good...the economy is good...!"
    REAL news: "The stock market closed down 300 points yesterday, The unemployment rate is still over 6%. Border crises continues. The IRS, Dept. of Justice and Veterans Administration are scandalized."

    August 1, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  9. On the Up and Up But

    There can be no doubt that the economy is improving and if it were not for Conservative obstructionists in Congress that stand in the way of further progress it could be in much better shape for the Middle Class and other groups.

    August 1, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    By a roughly 3:2 margin, people feel that economic conditions are poor. Yet, the markets are running in record territories and corporations are making record profits. This tells me that the war on the middle class is nearly over. People seem to have given up, and mass surrender is imminent.

    August 1, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  11. CoryT

    This won't sit well with the GOP.

    August 1, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. Duke Sweden

    Was this poll taken before or after it was announced that Radio Shack's days were numbered?

    August 1, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  13. Mr. Dank Stuff

    It is better where I work. We go a pay raise (3%) and hired 8 more people. Better than the furloughs of a few years ago.

    August 1, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. John Q

    Listen. The fed just keeps printing money. It's going to be akin to Monopoly money soon. This has to stop. But it may already be too late.

    August 1, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. smith

    Record number of people on foodstamps and our biggest expenditure being welfare I would say our economy is poor. We are living beyond our means. Responsability is something the goverment and the people have lost and need to get back.

    August 1, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  16. Name

    People are simply getting used to it. Duh

    August 1, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  17. Steve - Texas

    Thank you Mr. President!...

    August 1, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. Ryan Wurst

    Idiot Sheeple that think it is normal to make 10 bucks an hour to live off of while collecting food stamps and welfare think the economy is good because the government subsidizes everything. I make more than allowed to collect welfare and food stamps and think the economy blows. The wealth inequality is at an all time high and soon we will all find out what happens when nobody makes any money and the 1% expect the government to pay for everything.

    August 1, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. Brian Macker

    This is still a sham economy. We are just following the same policies as Greenspan was but this time on steroids. This will end badly.

    August 1, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. Liz

    Who did the poll the DNC?

    August 1, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  21. Name king

    Ahh what a devastating blow to the repubs that have been doing everything in power to crash the economy so they can blame Obama. Dam dam daggit.

    August 1, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  22. Chris

    This article is just pure spin.

    August 1, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  23. ib4ucy

    When at rock bottom, the only way is up.

    August 1, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  24. altamar

    Not sure if good. Its definitely better. At least my position and prospects are way better... hmm, maybe its good.

    August 1, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  25. Dave

    The poll was taken before today's job numbers were released and unemployment ticked up.

    August 1, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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