CNN Poll: Are you better off than four years ago?
September 13th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Are you better off than four years ago?

Washington (CNN) - It was the question that Mitt Romney presidential campaign and Republican Party officials kept asking earlier this month: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

After some initial stumbling, the response from President Obama's campaign and other top Democrats was "yes."

So what do you think?

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A new national survey indicates that a plurality of registered voters say they're not better off. But a majority continue to blame former President George W. Bush and Republicans for the country's economic problems.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll (PDF) released Thursday, 37% of registered voters say compared to four years ago, their financial situation is now better, with 44% saying they're now financially worse off, and nearly one in five saying that their situation is the same. Among crucial independent voters, one in three say they're better off, with nearly half saying they're worse off and 17% saying they're in the same financial situation.

As for the country as a whole, nearly seven in ten say that current economic conditions are somewhat poor or very poor, with 32% saying conditions are very or somewhat good. Two-thirds say conditions will be very or somewhat good a year from now, with just over three in ten predicting they will be very or somewhat poor.

"That's a major switch from last year, when six in ten were pessimistic about the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

INTERACTIVE: Are you better off?

As for who gets the blame for the current state of the economy, fingers are still being pointed at the former president.

"Since President Barack Obama's first year in office, a majority of Americans have said that former President Bush's policies were more responsible for current economic problems than Obama's policies were. That figure is at 57% today, with 35% saying the current president and Democrats are mostly to blame for economic problems," adds Holland.

As for which candidate would do a better job handling the economy, according to numbers released earlier this week, likely voters are divided between Obama and Romney, the GOP presidential nominee.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from September 7-9 (entirely after last week's Democratic National Convention), with 875 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

BY THE NUMBERS: Are you better off?

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Michael Olenick

    The four-year question doesn't work when there was a financial collapse, caused by the prior President from the opposite party, four years ago. We're not dumb enough to forget who occupied the Oval Office when the economy collapsed, who showed up right after, and which political party each came from.

    September 13, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. ryche

    exactly right Real Talk.. start blaming the democrat majority congress that was in place when the financial collapse happened... I mean if all the democrats are going to run around and place blame of the worlds woa's on the current congress, than we should all be screaming at the rooftops of how the democrats, along with pelosi, got us in this mess to begin with.... so yes i agree real talk.. lets start talking about congress..

    September 13, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. PFP

    The only difference between now and 4 years ago is the fact we are gaining jobs and not losing them. President Obama should be focusing more on getting this country back on track than doing fundraisers and golfing. President Bush certainly had his own issues. Also, members of congress should be held accountable for their inability to get much of anything done. Time to move the country forward and stop whining!

    September 13, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. cleareye1

    I am better off than 4 years ago for sure, but Im better off than 3 years ago, 2 years ago and 1 year ago, all thanks to a president who didn't blink when faced with an opposition party willing to sacrifice the health of the nation for political gain.

    Added to the soul of a warrior that got serious about going after the enemy, and has decimated their leadership, I can't imagine voting for anyone other than Obama

    September 13, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Its always nice to see polls that think that calling 875 of the millions of people in America gives us a good sample of what the economic situation is for all Americas.

    September 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. needNewGov

    So far business has been very good. The DOW is going crazy, so investments are doing well. I thank Obama for this despite a GOP that sits on it's hands.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Ozzie

    Yes we doing better compare what Mr. Bush left we need to give Mr. Obama 4 more yrs.

    September 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. 2 stupid4u

    Romney and Ryan 2 loosers....

    September 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. kayla

    some how dean, you have not been listening to YOUR IDIOT CANDIDATE, NOW THATS AN IDIOT.

    September 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Mike

    Personally, yes.

    Nationally? It's hard to argue. We were staring down the barrel of the biggest recession in the history of the nation and were already beginning the plunge.

    4 years ago is not 2009. It's 2008.

    September 13, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

    No, because the president had not come into office yet. Now that he has, I am and so is the world.
    Thank you.

    September 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Goin' where the wind don't blow so strange,
    Maybe off on some Obama's Change.
    Survived one term but the prize wasn't anything,
    A knife in the back and more of the same.

    Same old, Liberal on the podium, going out on a limb,
    You know better but I know him.
    Like I told you, what I said,
    He'll Lie to your face right off your head.

    Let's hope he's GONE"

    Jerry would break his guitar over your head for that.

    September 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. just sayin

    obama ran against bush in 2008 with promises of hope and change. do you feel the hope? do you feel the change? is it for the better?

    obama used bill clinton to get people to forget what the last 4 years has been and try to cozy up to clintons economic successes and here we are in 2012 and obama is still running against bush once again. and now the slogan is forward. forward to what??? we do not know. but we do know hope and change was a fraud. and deep down we know forward is a fraud as well.

    i can't possibly swallow anymore obama snake oil.

    September 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Ozzie

    I'm a Republican, and I don't see what is Rommey plans ??? to Fix the economy.

    September 13, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Philip

    I can unequivocally say that I am better off than four years ago:

    This time in 2008, I was laid off with no insurance. I even had to swallow my pride, leave my home city and stay with sister in Nevada. Mind you that I have a 2 bachelor's degrees and a master's degree to boot in the tech sector. Furthermore, I had held a steady job since I was 14 (34 now).

    I am now gainfully employed with health insurance once again, back in the black on my bills and living under my own roof.

    I begrudgingly accepted unemployment for the first time in my life and only managed to stay fed for many months while hunting for a new job because of that fact.

    Thank you President Obama. No matter what the delusional try to say, I know your administration pulled our country from the brink and I am eternally grateful!

    September 13, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. myviewis

    needNewGov

    So far business has been very good. The DOW is going crazy, so investments are doing well. I thank Obama for this despite a GOP that sits on it's hands.
    --------------------------

    Is this what you're talking about....... "A rally on Wall Street sent stocks to fresh multiyear highs as investors welcomed the Federal Reserve's new bond-buying plan."

    September 13, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. JtheM

    Bush did not hurt me. Obama did not help me.

    September 13, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. John the Historian

    I hope everyone remembers over 200 billion dollar debt from that worthless Iraq war. Bush inherited a budget surplus. It takes time to recover from the Bush recession. It took the country many years to recover from Vietnam. Willard doesn't have a clue. Anyone who believes the Latter Day cult should be ashamed and start getting educated. The book of mormon is what Mark Twain said chloroform in print. White evangelicals in the South will never vote for a cult follower.

    September 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. snowdogg

    Yes, better off and I'm not of the 1%

    September 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    "Since President Barack Obama's first year in office, a majority of Americans have said that former President Bush's policies were more responsible for current economic problems than Obama's policies were.

    ----------
    Food Stamp President = George W. Bush.

    September 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Paula

    Not better off but hanging in there......To those that are doing better great...but wait till your great grandchildren have to pay off the debt....do you think you will shine in their eyes then?

    September 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Say_NO_to_four_more_years

    Better off?

    two words – "Hell no!"

    September 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. myviewis

    Woman In California

    "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

    No, because the president had not come into office yet. Now that he has, I am and so is the world.
    Thank you.
    --------------------–

    You have got to get off your pot or at least put some distance between you and your pot plants.

    September 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Fred Phred

    Went into a car dealership last week with my wife to look at a {make} Fusion.

    We had to wait to talk to someone, about 40 minutes.

    It was like they were giving cars away. I know some people want to pretend they're worse off, or like AL – that their job is gone because of this president (but if it was a GOP president their job would have been somehow saved).

    How bad is it really when you have to wait at a car dealership?

    September 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. kk

    it want buch it was the president before that and geoge buch was just tring to make things better but obama brought every thing back down

    September 13, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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