Majority of Americans say better off now than 2016 despite COVID, riots
The question is seen as a key metric in deciding elections.
US President Donald Trump gestures while boarding Air Force One as he departs Washington for campaign travel to Iowa at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, October 14, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)
A majority of voters in the United States have told Gallup that they’re better off now, despite the coronavirus pandemic and riots which have shaken many cities, than they were four years ago. The metric is widely considered a key factor in the outcome of elections.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan asked voters: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” The question has since become a standard that Presidents running for re-election have held to.
This year, in a poll taken between September 14 and 28, some 56% of respondents believed they and their family to be better off now than they were four years ago, against 32% who said they were worse off.
Moreover, the figure is the highest yet recorded: the same question asked in December 2012 found that 45% of Americans felt better off than they had four years previously. In 2004, 47% of Americans felt that way, and in 1992, 38% of Americans felt that way, the lowest result on record.
The Gallup poll will make welcome reading for US President Donald Trump, who is currently around ten points behind his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls nationwide, although recent polls in key states such as Florida have suggested that gap is closing.
Commenting on Twitter, President Trump said: “The Gallup Poll has just come out with the incredible finding that 56% of you say that you are better off today, during a pandemic, than you were four years ago (OBiden). Highest number on record! Pretty amazing!”
Mr Biden, who was Vice President between January 2009 and January 2017, suggested that the majority view may be mistaken.
“Well, if they think that they probably shouldn’t” vote for me, he told WKRC-TV in Ohio this week. “Their memory’s not very good, quite frankly.”