There's been a bit of chatter today about the new CNN poll finding that George W. Bush is the only living president with a favorability rating of under 50 percent. But this number, from the internals, seems particularly interesting:
I’d like you to compare your financial situation to what it was four years ago, during the last presidential election when George W. Bush was still president. Would you say that you are financially better off now than you were four years ago, or are you financially worse off?
Better off: 47
Worse off: 41
A plurality says they’re better off than when Bush was still president. (The numbers were lower when the question was asked without Bush’s name.) This seems at least somewhat at odds with a lot of recent polling, which shows far lower percentages thinking things have improved for them.
Indeed, much of the polling on this question is perilously bad for Obama. On the generic question that everyone says is the key metric — are you better off than you were four years ago? — we keep being told, rightly I think, that Obama is in the danger zone.
Yet if you ask people to think back to the end of the Bush years, a plurality suddenly feels like they are better off now than they were four years ago — not great numbers, but certainly better than others we’ve seen. Go figure. Maybe there’s a message in there somewhere.