Nearly two-thirds of Americans say their finances have not improved since Donald Trump was elected president nearly two years ago. According to the Bankrate 2018 midterm election survey only 38% of respondents say they are better off financially now than they were in November of 2016.
The largest number, 45%, say their finances now are about the same as they were two years ago, and 17% say they are actually worse off now than before Trump became president.
The survey, released Wednesday, shows that some Americans are benefiting from stock market gains and a slight increase in wages. The people who have been benefiting the most in Trump’s America are white, higher-income earners who tend to support the Republican Party. This is the group of individuals who say responded by saying they are better off financially with the November 6 midterm elections less than two weeks away, the survey found.
Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate said that the U.S. economy has continued to improve since Trump was elected.
“Ultimately, a rising economic tide lifts many boats. It does not lift all of them,” Hamrick commented. “The economy is paying dividends for many Americans, but there are still many people and pockets of the U.S. economy that are hoping for those dividends to appear.”
Most people say that their financial situations are about the same now as they were in 2016.
“Wages are taking a slight uptick, but people in general are not seeing huge bumps in their salaries or wages that would make them say, ‘Oh wow, things are really getting good,” says Margaret Simms, an economist at the Urban Institute.
“People may feel more secure and not worried about losing ground, but they feel they have not gained a lot of ground,” Simms says.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings of American workers increased by just $53 (6 percent) from September of 2016 to September of 2018.
People have very different economic outlooks depending on which political party they support.
Over 70% of Democrats said their personal financial situation was either the same (48 percent) or worse (23 percent) compared with two years ago. On the other hand, just 40 percent of Republicans said they were either the same (31 percent) or worse off (9 percent).
“We have a weird tribalism going on,” says Diane Swonk, chief economist of Grant Thornton. “We saw the polarization pick up in the 2000 election, and it’s just accelerated.”
Democrats whose financial situation declined since 2016 were more likely to blame Trump (17 percent), Republicans in Congress (5 percent) or both (39 percent). But just one-third of Republicans believe the White House and/or GOP lawmakers are the ones to blame for their worsening financial health.
Democrats who said things got better for them since 2016 do not give credit to Republicans for their improving finances. Just 7 percent believe that their financial situation has gotten better because of Trump, Republicans in Congress or both.
But among Republicans, 71 percent who saw financial improvements attributed that to Trump (39 percent), Republicans in Congress (5 percent) or both (27 percent), the survey finds.
Some Republicans are claiming that the economy now is better than at any time in the history of our country. But just because the say that doesn’t mean it is true.
“At the end of the day, people know what they have in their pocket, they know how they’re doing, and you can’t fool them,” Swonk says. “You can’t say the economy is better than it is. You can’t just say it’s worse than it is to them. It just is, even if it’s not where they want to be.”
Trump and the GOP believe they deserve credit for the great economic success of America but this new survey points out that most Americans are not better off now than before Republicans took over the government. To benefit the greatest number of Americans we need to have a government run by Democrats who truly look out for the lower and middle income people who are the backbone of our country.