Are We Better Off? America Weighs In

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WASHINGTON - Are you better off than you were four years ago? That was the famous question Ronald Reagan used to win The White House in 1980.

So what are voters saying today when they're asked that question, and what does it mean for this year's election?

Wallet Woes

With housing foreclosures rising and the dollar falling to historic lows, oil at record highs hovering around $110 a barrel, gas and food prices on the rise Americans are feeling the pinch.

"You wanna see what I got in my pocket? I'll show you what I got in my pocket - it's zero," said one disgruntled consumer.

For the first time since 1992, more Americans say they are worse off now than they were four years ago than say they're better off.

According to Wall Street Journal and NBC polls, 43 percent say they're are worse off, while 34 percent say they're better off. And 21 percent say their status has stayed the same.

Voters say the economy is the number one issue in this election year. And they favor a Democrat over a republican 56 percent to 30 percent when it comes to the economy and health care.

But the democrats have problems of their own. With just eight state contests to go, this primary season, the race between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is extremely tight.

It's also sometimes bitter with testy exchanges like the one that forced Geraldine Ferraro to step down from the Clinton campaign after saying Obama would not have made it this far if he were white.

Clinton Apologizes

Last night, Clinton repudiated those remarks and repeatedly apologized for them as well as comments by her husband about Jesse Jackson.

But then there's the issue of Michigan and Florida whose results don't count because their primaries violated party rules.

"This will hurt us if it is not resolved," said Florida state Senator Steve Gellar.

"We have a basic obligation to make sure that every vote in America counts… and I hope that Senator Obama's campaign will join me in working to make that happen," Clinton said.

Florida's Democratic Party chair wants to re-do the contest in part by mail-in and part in-person voting.

But the Obama campaign is against the mail-in option. It favors a caucus, a full-primary, or a 50/50 split between delegates.

"Really what's happened is that the Clinton campaign has identified those states where they won - laughs - and suggested that those are the states that count," Obama said.

Although Clinton leads Obama in the Wall Street Journal poll, Democrats see the freshman senator as having a better chance of defeating Republican John McCain 48 percent to 38 percent.

But the poll also shows both candidates in a statistical dead heat with the Arizona senator.

So despite the economic issues that appear to favor the Democrats, this could shape up to be very close election this fall.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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