Ronald Reagan asked Americans in 1980 if they were better off than they were four years prior -- an argument that resonated deeply and helped him defeat Jimmy Carter that November. President Obama could be vulnerable to a similar argument, according to a new Bloomberg News poll released early Thursday.
A plurality of Americans say they are worse off than they were at the start of 2009, when Obama took office amid a deepening economic recession. Overall, 44 percent of Americans say they are worse off, 34 percent say they are better off, and 21 percent volunteered that they were neither better nor worse.
Only 30 percent of Americans (and 31 percent of likely voters) say they will definitely vote for Obama in 2012. The percentage of those who would definitely vote for another candidate is 36 percent among all adults, but 40 percent among a subsample of self-identified likely voters; 27 percent of all adults and 24 percent of likely voters say they would consider another candidate.
One bright spot for the White House amid an avalanche of bad data: Americans are slightly more worried about Republicans winning in 2012 and implementing "their proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and many other domestic programs" than about Democrats winning and continuing "their current spending policies."
Overall, 49 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 44 percent disapprove. That is down from a 51-percent approval rating in March.
The Bloomberg poll was conducted June 17-20 by Iowa-based pollster Selzer & Co. The poll surveyed 1,000 adults, for a margin of error +/- 3.1 percent. There were 741 likely voters, for a margin of error +/- 3.6 percent.