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Are You Better Off Than Four Years Ago?

The answer to this question around the country will have as much influence as any over who wins the U.S. presidency in November.

Exactly four years ago this month, the bottom dropped out of the U.S. economy.

Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. The next day, the Federal Reserve announced a bailout of AIG. Bad news continued to pile up almost daily, with the stock market collapsing and millions of jobs vanishing.

No single factor will define such a complex process as selection of a president, but none might be greater than the simple question: Are you better off than four years ago?

California's unemployment rate was 7.9 percent four years ago, spiked to 12.4 percent by February 2010 and is at 10.6 percent in the latest figures. The Los Angeles Times reported in August that median home prices in the Golden State rose to $281,000, the highest since Sept. 2008.

At 57 percent in recent California polls, Obama shows a strong lead to get Golden State's 55 electoral votes by November, and is in the lead for the entire country.

Is the improvement enough to help Obama win the election? Or can Mitt Romney capitalize on an economy that’s still a far cry from when Obama took office? Vote in our poll on whether you are better off than four years ago, and join the discussion in the comments section.

Keep up to date with who's leading in the polls in California.

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Mark Schoenbaum September 30, 2012 at 04:15 AM
No. I am worse off and I am ready for a change.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr September 30, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brant September 30, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I am not better off than four years ago. My income is about the same in non-inflation-adjusted terms and my cost of living has gone up. Government has expanded and gone deeply into debt, which will probably have more impact on the next generation than on me. The administrative aspects of government have become more powerful - have a look at what the EPA is doing if you don't believe that. All-in, we have gone in the wrong direction.
Tony Elshout September 30, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Yes I am!
EWC September 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Gas prices were $1.95 a gallon and $45 a barrel when Obama took office! Enough said on that alone.
Alex Montgomery September 30, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Yes, I am better off. Four years ago, my retirement portfolio was in the toilet, forcing me to continue working. Now the market has recovered, and I have been able to retire with a decent income. No thanks to the policy and practices of the previous administration which handed Obama an unmitigated disaster of an economy.
Dave Robertson September 30, 2012 at 07:38 PM
There is no improvement and the numbers have been made to look better as to promote the appearance that we are better off than four years ago. I hear so many people that are unhappy with Obama's poor performance and can only conclude that those who are in favor of him are young people under 30. You don't have to unhappy with our president to see all his failures and the damage he has done. I guess some people are still mesmerized by all of the fantasy 4 years ago that they want four more years of it.
Jeffrey Vaillant September 30, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Yes
eric folly October 01, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Obama has been endorsed by Hugo Chavez....socialism does not work....power in the hands of a government collapses under it's own in-efficency. Read Ludwig Von Mises, learn why inflation is created by the Fed to make you less free. Government controls you by taxes and debt....ask the Germans after WWI. The rises of Hitler was created by these dovish bankers and politicians!
Mark Burnham October 01, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Voting for Obama feels like buying a lemon Hybrid. You still have the warm and fuzzies for "doing the right thing" but you are left with the problems of a car that is costing you far more than promised.
R. Maionchi October 01, 2012 at 08:04 PM
No!
Whitey Guinther October 03, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The value of my home decreased about $250 K in the last four years. Gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon. If you are a homeowner you have lost a substancial amount of your wealth. Our grandchildren are going to be in a world of hurt as it stands now, if we have another four years of Obama's spend, spend, spend I believe that Obama will succeed in making the United States a third world country. How many millions of our tax paying dollars have been spent on the Obama's vacations to France, Africa, England, Hawaii etc. How many more Ambassadors are we willing to sacrifice with this inept administration. Get your heads out of the sand people Obama needs to be replaced.
Kenny B October 20, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Yes. I am financially, but who is president didn't have to do with that. We do not live in a "Terrorist Alert" color chart, Gas was not $1.86, housing tanked before presisent; stock market was 6000, bankruptcies at total huntry was bleeding 100,000's of jobs. Bush and his Administration, along with Congress had just aided Wall Street in stealing $800 Billion Dollars.

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