CNN poll: Americans fear a new Great Depression

CNN poll reveals a growing number of Americans fear the recession could turn into another Great Depression.

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By Paul Steinhauser, CNN

What progress is the Obama administration making toward ending the recession?
  • It's succeeding
  • The recovery is too slow
  • It's not helping at all

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The number of Americans who think another Great Depression will occur within the next year is on the rise, a poll released Tuesday shows.

Forty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey said another depression is likely.

"Will the Great Recession turn into another Great Depression? A growing number of Americans think it might," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Last December, 38% said a depression like the one the U.S. experienced in the 1930s was likely in the next year. Now that number is up 7 points."

But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn't share that sentiment. Asked during an interview with CBS on Sunday whether the country is headed into a new depression, Bernanke said, "I think we've averted that risk. I think we've gotten past that."

The poll described the 1930s' Great Depression as a time in which roughly one out of four workers was unemployed, banks failed across the country and millions of ordinary Americans were temporarily homeless or unable to feed their families.

Nearly nine out of ten people questioned in the survey said economic conditions in the country are poor today, with only 11% suggesting that conditions are good.

And the poll indicates that Americans think it will take time to rebound from the recession, which began at the end of 2007.

"Only one in ten say recovery is likely within a year; one in five predict it will take longer than four years for the country to get back on its feet," Holland said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. To top of page

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