The Big Number: Forty-one percent of Americans say they’ve become worse off financially since President Joe Biden took office a little more than two years ago, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
That’s the highest percentage to report such a sentiment under any president in the ABC/Post polls, which have asked the question almost three dozen times since 1986, according to an ABC report.
Former President Ronald Reagan popularized the “better off” phrase, the report added. Reagan was in office from January 1981 to January 1989.
In the latest poll, 16% of Americans said they’ve become better off financially under Biden, while 42% said their finances were in about the same shape.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, and it has a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.
What happened: Biden has talked up his administration’s work in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, along with accomplishments such as July 2022’s Chips and Science Act, August 2022’s climate and healthcare package (dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act), and November 2021’s infrastructure law.
But high inflation has weighed on Americans for months, and 401(k)s, along with other investing and retirement accounts, have taken big hits. U.S. stocks
last month notched the weakest midterm presidential performance in 20 years.
Related: This key inflation gauge is still flashing warning signs for the economy
And see: Consumer sentiment jumps to 9-month high as inflation ebbs and stocks rebound
What it means: The downbeat data points for Biden in the ABC/Post poll underscore how the president will face no small task on Tuesday night, when he delivers his State of the Union speech.
He looks poised to address challenges such as recession worries, the debt-limit standoff and conflicts at home and abroad in his remarks.
See: State of the Union — 5 key challenges for Biden as he delivers his speech
And read: What time the State of the Union address starts — and what else you need to know
Gallup’s annual update on Americans’ economic predictions — released Monday — also reflects some pessimism.
Americans are more likely to predict negative rather than positive outcomes for five key aspects of the U.S. economy over the next six months, according to Gallup. Higher inflation, unemployment and interest rates, as well as reduced economic growth and stock-market
values, are all expected, the analytics company said.
On the other hand, the January jobs report on Friday showed the U.S. economy gained 517,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate falling to a 54-year low of 3.4% from 3.5%. The report “ends U.S. recession fears,” one economist said.