According to a newly released poll, approximately half of the U.S. thinks they are better off after eight years under the Obama administration. The survey data show that a person’s feeling on their lot in life heavily depends on whether they are a self-identifying Democrat or Republican.
Gallup released the survey results on Jan. 28. The primary question respondents answered was “Are you better off than you were eight years ago, or not?”
Fifty percent of those polled responded, "Yes, better off," while 42 percent responded, "No, not better off." Six percent indicated they were "just as well off," and the remaining 2 percent had no opinion.
The survey did not explicitly ask respondents about President Barack Obama, but by specifying "eight years," the results appear to be a measure of whether his administration has improved Americans’ lives.
The answers were sharply different between respondents who lean Democratic and those who lean Republican.
While 71 percent of Democrats said that they were better off, only 29 percent of Republicans agreed. Similarly, only 21 percent of Democrats said they feel worse off after the last eight years, while 66 percent percent of Republicans feel that things have gone downhill.
Part of the overwhelmingly negative Republican response was generational; 53 percent of Republicans under 45 responded that things had improved, but 82 percent of Republicans aged 65 and older said they were not better off.
The Gallup survey also measured respondents’ financial situations, finding that the amount of Americans saving was split nearly in half; 50 percent of respondents said they were saving, while 48 percent were not saving at all. Another 27 percent said they were making ends meet, and 13 percent were running into debt.
Something to note about the data is that there is virtually no difference between Republican and Democratic respondents’ answers about their finances. Even though there is no difference in how they are doing financially, Republicans feel greater anxiety about the economy than Democrats.
These results reflect the difference between the two parties when asked how they are doing and, by extension, how the country is doing. Democrats seem to have general optimism for the state of country, eight years after the economic collapse of 2008, while older Republicans overwhelmingly believe that their lives have deteriorated.
It’s important to keep in mind going into the 2016 presidential election that half of voters want America to be great again while the other half think it’s already great.