WASHINGTON, DC – 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.”
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.
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.