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Friday, September 7, 2012

Are You Better Off

The Romney Campaign has been testing the idea of asking the old Reagan Question; are you better off than you were four years ago.  The problem is, per Pew Trust, for those who are still well off, the answer is yes, and the recent percentages are closer than you might think.  In 2007 (Bush Presidency) 50% said "they were in excellent or good shape financially".  Then, before President Bush left office then number dropped to 38%.  Since that time the number has recovered to 42%.  That could be good enough for the Obama Campaign.
The Pew Research Center has been tracking personal financial well-being for years.  The trend since 2007 helps explain why the Obama and Romney campaigns talk about this issue in such different terms.  On the one hand, Americans are clearly feeling more pinched than they were before the recession began.  The Pew Research Center’s November 2007 survey found 50% saying they were in excellent or good shape financially.  In June of this year, 41% rated their personal finances as excellent or good.

However, most of the decline in positive views occurred before Obama took office; there has been little change since then.  Between November 2007 and December 2008 the share of Americans who said they were in good financial shape fell 12 points to just 38%, and has neither improved nor worsened substantially over the past three-and-a-half years
The question is, how well do voters calibrate their political memories.  Can they mentally mark the distinction between the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration?  And, what is their understanding of the time to recover from a recession?

Regards  —  Cliff

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