SURPRISE: Americans Actually Do Think Things Have Gotten Better Under Obama

Barack Obama

Photo: Getty

President Barack Obama finally got some cheery economic news in this Bloomberg poll released Wednesday: At least now, in June, people are looking up at their own personal economic situations. 

The Bloomberg survey found that 45 per cent of Americans say they’re better off than they were four years ago, compared with 36 per cent that say they’re worse off. Seventeen per cent said “about the same.”

Here’s a look:

Obama Romney poll

The poll appears to be the outlier of other recent national polls. But Ann Selzer, the president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll for Bloomberg, defended its results in a phone interview. 

“It’s different from other things that we’ve done and it’s different from other polls that are out there,” Selzer told Business Insider. “We took a look at the results of the poll — it’s our same methodology. There isn’t anything we changed in terms of that. The demographics aligned almost identically. 

“This is far from settled. Polls have been volatile. We were comfortable with it.”

Selzer pointed out that the firm found good and bad news for both candidates. For instance, 49 per cent of respondents picked Obama’s economic vision, compared with 33 per cent for Romney. And more people thought Mitt Romney’s private-equity background at Bain Capital does not make him better prepared to be president. 

But there’s also a flurry of news that should make Obama cautiously optimistic. 40-eight per cent of respondents are cautious about the economy because “nothing is really happening.” And here’s the kicker:

Obama Romney poll

“People are having a sense that, in their personal economy, things are getting better,” Selzer said. “In terms of the national mood, if you look at the right track-wrong track question, things are as pessimistic as ever. 

“That’s part of the fragility of any lead that we might be showing for Obama right now. You question, ‘How can you vote for the guy if you think things are headed in the wrong direction?’ I think that has to do with some of the dynamic of Romney, and that the affirmative case on both sides has yet to be made.”

If this is any indication, though, voters right now are answering Ronald Reagan’s “better off than you were four years ago” question with a “Yes” for perhaps the first time in the 2012 election cycle. 

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