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

    yes, the fake red, orange, yellow terror alerts are gone, inciting false fear in america, this admin is trying, with the exception of roadblocks to stop any obama efforts romneycare/obamacare, the grand designer is against it suddenly

    September 13, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. truth hurts

    honestly.... if you have to ask, you aren't! the only ones better off are government dependents and obama supporters like unions and green energy company scam artists.

    but obama and the democrats have kept the country down in the gutter so long that even a glimmer of the top of the curb is considered a big success where is times past, it would have been considered a miserable failure.

    September 13, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. lolo

    Looks like Romneyhood and Boy Wonder Ryan better come up with a new question. This one is not flying.

    September 13, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Dean

    The average American taxpayer is not better off, but worse. Those who do not work and gladly accept government assistance are much better off.

    To those that fall into the second category:
    1. Don't put the idiot back in the White House.
    2. Get off your asses and get a job.

    September 13, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Jay clagg

    Must Be Government Workers That Are Better Off

    September 13, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Byron

    The nation is far better off today than four years ago.

    Job creation is better, we"re not losing 800K jobs per month anymore, house prices aren't tanking, the stock market is at a four year high.

    Yes, many people are still not working or are under employed but that's true around the world. It's a global slowdown and will take time to recover.

    Romney's policies will benefit only a few and they have been tried and they failed.

    Stay the course.

    September 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Facts don't Lie

    hey why not ask corporations that are sitting on TRILLIONS of dollars of profit and still not hiring if they are better off than they were 4 years ago. Afer all corporations are people too, right?

    September 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Increase wages for the middle class professionals!

    September 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. NameWillie

    Obama 2012

    September 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Kef14

    I very much prefer -700k or more jobs per month than positive jobs today. No brainer that the country was better off. Think of all the guys making millions short selling everything. Obviously they are way way worse today than 4 years ago.

    September 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Mitt is done

    Wahhh! Wahhh! We are not better off, we need the govimint to help us! Waaaah!

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

    Of course the bad economy that obama inherited was bush's fault. my problem is that after almost 4 years in office NOTHING was done about it. if obama would put forth a different plan for the next 4 years i might want to give him another chance but all hes saying is that the measures i took didnt work yet so give it a little more time to work. would someone tell me why something that didnt work after four years will work after 5 6 or 7? so i for one am trying somebody else who i dont even like cuz the economy aint getting better under obama for sure and it might get better under romney and id rather a maybe yes than a definite no

    September 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. mike58

    Amazing CNN you are soooooo in bed with Obama it's just laughable
    you have no objective left

    September 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. obama victim

    this may indeed be Bush' fault......but this loser was hired to fix it..he wanted the job,,,he has failed...C ya Barry

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

    Am I better off now than 4 years ago? No. Am I better off now than I would be if McCain/Palin had won in 2008? Almost certainly.

    September 13, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Dave

    I don't feel that a poll qualifies as top Breaking News

    September 13, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Sandy

    I'm better off. My son was kicked off our insurance a couple of years ago (he's 23 and his job doesn't provide insurance) and we had to insure him at $500 a month until Obamacare was passed. Blue Cross allowed us to add him back to our insurance a month early before Obamacare passed at NO EXTRA CHARGE. So I am saving $500 per month because of Obamacare. Yes, I'm much better off. I can save money again!

    September 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Yes I'm better off than four years ago so is Romney, Congress and a hole lot of people. But If you lost your job, sick, lost your home and home less can't pay your bills no your not. CNN should ask Romney is he better off than four years ago he made over $60,000,000 in the last four years. People want to blame President Obama but they should start with the Republican Congress first. Just say no, don't passing the jobs bill, don't close the loops hole or tax break for company that ship jobs over seas, oil company, cut goverment waste. pay taxes on all your money.

    September 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Joe c

    Well,let's get a new President and administration a try...let's clean house and let someone else give it a go..I voted for Obama and gave him a chance...He hasn't been as effective as I hoped...I plan to give Romney a chance

    September 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    The Iraqi war is over, GM and the auto industry are strong, Osama is dead., the stock market is at a 6 yr high and the Republicans have nominated Palin in Pants Romney-what's not to like

    September 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Pandering for Votes

    Obama should hold up his words. "If I can't fix this by then end of my first term, then this should be a one term proposition"

    September 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Forgot to mention that Obamacare not only saved me $500 per month by adding my son back to our health insurance at no extra cost, but it also saved money because we no longer have to pay co-pays for preventative care or birth control.

    September 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Eric

    My 401(k)s and IRA recovered from the 2008-2009 decline within 2 years and are well ahead now. I feel much safer in my job. Gas is cheaper now than it was in July 2008. My pay has gone up about the same as inflation. I refinanced my home at a lower interest rate. So I'm better off now.

    September 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Marry

    Much better!!!! Yes!!! Obama and strait Dem ticket 2012!!!!!

    September 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. BYEObama

    Knew this would be the answer.

    September 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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