December 9th, 2010
09:55 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: 51 percent say they're worse off now than 2 years ago

Washington (CNN) - A new survey suggests that just over half of Americans say they're worse off now than they were two years ago.

And a Bloomberg National Poll released Thursday also indicates that two-thirds of the public thinks the country's headed on the wrong track, slightly higher than in other recent surveys by other organizations.

According to the Bloomberg poll, 51 percent of the public says they're worse off now than they were two years ago, with 35 saying that they are better off now that when President Barack Obama took office. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, are not sure.

Only a quarter of Republicans questioned in the survey saying they're better off now than they were two years ago, with that number rising to 34 percent for independent voters and 44 percent for Democrats.

The question of whether you are better off now was popularized by Ronald Reagan, in his challenge to President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.

Sixty-seven of people questioned in the poll say the nation's headed on the wrong track, with 27 percent saying the country's headed in the right direction. The Bloomberg poll indicates Democrats split over whether the country's headed in the right direction or wrong track, with two-thirds of independents and 85 percent of Republicans saying the country's on the wrong track. Sixty-eight percent of women and 63 percent of men say the country's on the wrong track.

The Bloomberg National Poll was conducted December 4-7, with 1,000 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Lyle

    I can't wait to see the polls two years from now after 2 mote years of GOP legislative sabotage.

    December 9, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. stufit

    If they did it for just people who actually work and pay taxes, it would be much worse. The Kenyan village idiot and his merry band of democrat liberal thieves have robbed us to give to their entitled, dope addicted, welfare addicted followers, the union bosses and left wing nut organizations devoted to stealing elections.

    December 9, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Dennis

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    December 9, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. LGNY

    Yes, that's why it's called a "recession".

    The more important question. Are you better off now than you would have been if the Fed had allowed the financial system to collapse in panic. Nearly every main street business relies on lending to buy/build products in anticipation of sales. We came close to a shutdown of all lending.

    I invite readers to go back into archives. In the last recession (and all prior ones), you'll find stories complaining about how the nation is having a job-less recovery. Jobs are the last item to recover from any recession because employers will not add employees until the existing staff are overworked and the employer is convinced that the demand for their products will persist.

    The current pain is very real, but we need to understand how economies work and have patience for the recovery process to run its course.

    December 9, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Sheena

    I'll bet those 51% will STILL go out and buy little Johnnie and little Suzie Christmas gifts – and get further in debt!

    December 9, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. gt

    its terrible ... real estate is a disaster,,jobs going to china and mexico.... is you can find a job your pay is limited....we need some one who can lead this country back to greatness,,,, obama is way over his head.....and not the answer...

    December 9, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    So did that 51% get out and VOTE for a RepubliCAN'Ts; who promised to get the Economy back in shape and bring JOBS back??? Does that 51% know that the RepubliCAN'Ts just raised the deficit another 900 Billion to satisfy the RICH? Is that 51% part of the UNEMPLOYED who was DENIED extensions because the RepubliCAN'Ts said those benefits should be “paid for” before they extend them, but yet the Million$ they gave to the RICH in the form of TAX CUTS “did not” have to be paid for??

    Who is that 51%??? I lost 2% of my salary just to keep my job. Am I upset about that? Yes! Am I "worse off" than two years ago? YES!!! But I am NOT going to BLAME anyone for that!!

    Americans need to GROW UP and look at themselves and figure out why they are MISERABLE!!! Period!! I know there are a lot of people out there suffering but STOP living beyond your MEANS!!! This is why I survived and will continue to survive. Cut out some of the things you USED TO DO and settle on what you CAN DO and be happy about it!!!

    I support our President and will continue to support him as HE CONTINUES to Move America Forward!!! He needs to, however, get away from the RepubliCAN’Ts who are out to DESTROY HIM……..Known FACT!!!

    December 9, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. all of america

    Well ,no kidding. Thanks to obama reid pelosi and the rest of corrupt democrats and those socialists in the obama administration. Fact is that this is the most corrupt administration in recent history with all the back room deals,socialist ,anti American people in this administration .These morons seem to think that they run this country, not the public.They have to be removed before this country is totally destroyed .

    December 9, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. KEVIN

    Silly CNN you call and talk to a 1,000 people in a country of over 300 million and I am suppose to believe that this represent the whole United States, your dreaming. Most of these people might be worst off, but please don't try to pass this as a new story because all this is HYPE.. Yes this country is in real trouble, yet our elect offical only care about building the debt and not cutting it. so we will go the way of the other nations that are long past. America is on the decline and don't think CNN that you are not part of the problem because you are with all this flully stories, you use to get at politican when the do what "LIE", now you say that they are not accurate, my mother me that is called 'LYING". Maybe if you stop letting politican lie and question the answer with thuth and facts maybe, just maybe this you can start a change back to honest politican.

    December 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Expat American

    1. What are the actual merits of this poll? Propaganda Tea Bus comic book fodder.
    2. For those who feel worse off than 2 years ago, then maybe it’s time to write your Republican senator or congressman and urge them to work collectively to improve the economic conditions for working people instead scratching the backs and rubbing the feet of White millionaires.
    3. 2 years to fix the failed Republican policies and ‘Values’ of Bush’s presidency is a laughable time frame. It will most likely take the better part of a generation to reverse the results of 8 failed years of Republican leadership.

    December 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Rick James B----

    That's because two years ago was when the noticeable downward spiral began, it just took two years to hit the bottom of the hill, now it's time to start climbing back up.

    December 9, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Molly

    Well, DUH! Look who's messing everything up–the stupid Libs.

    December 9, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Pot stirring 101

    Well, there you have it...the other 49% don't pay taxes and are part of the entitlement rolls.

    December 9, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Big George in Big D

    I, for one of many that I know of, am much better off now than 2 years ago! I do NOT live beyond my means and am not loaded with debt. These cry babies that are overloaded then lose jobs and go without work for months upon months do NOT have my sympathy. There are jobs out there and I know that as fact but the people that lived above their means cannot afford to take those jobs as their debt far exceeds what the pay would be. Just too hard to have sympathy for them.

    December 9, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. thomas

    Thats what we get for fighting Bush's useless Wars ! HOW MUCH HAVE THEY REALY COST US IN BLOOD , MONEY and STANDING ?

    December 9, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. AEK

    It took eight years for the Republicans and trickle down to bankrupt the country and an additional two years as the Party of NO to thwart the efforts of the Democratically controlled Congress and President Obama to put us back on the path to prosperity. Of course with America's sit com mentality and their incredible gullibility, it is not surprising that this latest poll is what it is. Remember folks, what the Republicans say and what they actually do are two COMPLETELY different things. "Pay as you go" and the extension of tax breaks for the rich are diametrically opposed!

    December 9, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, released a schedule on Wednesday which plans for mostly four-day work weeks in Washington, and also includes regular "constituent work weeks" for members to spend back in their districts. House sessions would go for two weeks, followed by a week back home in the district."

    4 day work weeks so they can have an extra day to politic their base at home and assure that it's far more difficult to get anything done in Congress? Good. Let's save some money cutting their salaries by 20% then.

    December 9, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Sniffit

    "51 percent say they're worse off now than 2 years ago "

    And the GOP is doing everything it can to increase that percentage because there's a Dem in the WH.

    December 9, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    That's odd... what could have happened in the last 2 years to cause this? Oh yeah... the 2008 election. Explains a lot.

    December 9, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This poll is just a republican pipedream.

    December 9, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. RG

    And the same 2% are MUCH better off than 2 years ago. The song remains the same.

    December 9, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. terry, va

    And this survey is a surprise? Obummie's socialist policies have destroyed this country. The only people better off are those that don't work. They will NEVER work as long as that idiot is in charge. Therefore those of us that do work are worse off than what we were 2 years ago. 2 years ago 30-32% of Americans didn't pay federal taxes. Today that number is 47-48%. Enough said !!!!!!

    December 9, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Sue from Ct

    The price of gas and fuel oil is soaring, groceries are more expensive now, etc., etc. and the newly elected Republicans and Tea Party folk are worried about tax cuts for millionaires. The middle class and those without are losing ground fast and it is questionable if they will ever be able to rebound. The Tea Party and Republicans have a great deal of support from the big banks, big oil, and Wall Street, and are bound to support the richest citizens, but who will support the rest of us? Obama is trying, but there are those who will stop at nothing until he is out of office. We need to form a united front and let them know that we are not going to take it anymore and will not rest until THEY are out of office.

    December 9, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. RICO

    These polls crack me up. Lets see, the stock market was tanking, jobs were being shed faster than ever, but everything was dandy.

    December 9, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. james Miller

    If 85% of the Repubs say we`re on the wrong track, then meaby we should go back to the Bush years !!! OOPS !!! Weren`t they handed a deficit in the black and managed to wreck it !!!! ----- Definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. The Neo-cons had their followers praying, singing God Bless America, saluting the flag while they ( Wall street bankers) robbed us blind.--- Thus proving people are truly like sheep.

    December 9, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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