It’s the classic re-election question, and it produces a classic mixed-bag result for Gallup in its polling. Do Americans believe themselves to be better off than they were four years ago? That seems like a pretty dangerous question for Donald Trump and his campaign, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic devastation that the shutdowns have wrought.
Surprisingly, though, that’s actually the best part of Gallup’s results for Team Trump. A majority of registered voters say they do consider themselves better off than in 2016, even with all of the chaos and economic damage this year. In fact, that’s the best rating on this question since Ronaldus Magnus himself used it to devastating effect on Jimmy Carter:
During his presidential campaign in 1980, Ronald Reagan asked Americans, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Since then, this question has served as a key standard that sitting presidents running for reelection have been held to.
Gallup’s most recent survey found a clear majority of registered voters (56%) saying they are better off now than they were four years ago, while 32% said they are worse off.