Gallup Asks the Classic Reagan Question: Finds Most Say Things Have Not Improved Under Bush

By: E&P Staff

On the eve of the State of the Union message, Gallup pollsters last week posed the question Ronald Reagan asked in 1980 when he was running against Jimmy Carter for president: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

The reply from Americans represents “a strong rebuke of the Bush era,” Gallup declared today, with nearly two-thirds saying things have gotten worse in the past five years. Only 28% say things have improved.

In reply to another question, 35% said they were “satisfied” with the direction of the country, and 65% are dissatisfied.

Does this represent merely the lingering fallout from 9/11? Not likely, since only 3% cited “terrorism” and 2% “homeland security” as a main reason for offerign negative views. Most often cited as evidence that things have gotten worse: Iraq (cited by 26%) and “the economy” (24%).

Asked separately to list the “most important problem facing the country,” 23% said the Iraq war, and only 7% terrorism. Various economic issues accounted for 30%.

As expected a whopping 92% of Democrats gave a negative reply to question of have-things-improved-under-Bush, while 60% of Republicans went positive. But, critically, 70% of Independents gave that “not improved” assessment.

Only 6% cited gas prices and 3% poverty as reasons for a negative view.

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