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Biden says the 56% of Americans who say they’re better off than in 2016 'shouldn't' vote for him

"Their memory is not very good, quite frankly," the Democratic presidential nominee said.

Published: October 13, 2020 9:03am

Updated: October 13, 2020 4:35pm

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says Americans who think they're better off than they were four years ago have faulty memories and they "probably shouldn't" vote for him.

In a Gallup poll taken Sept. 14-28, more than 1,000 Americans were asked "to compare your situation today with what it was four years ago. Are you better off than you were four years ago or not?" 

A whopping 56% said they are better off. Just under a third (32%) said they were not.

Biden said they're wrong.

WKRC reporter Kyle Inskeep, who interviewed Biden on Monday in Cincinnati, cited the poll and asked the former vice president, "Why should people who feel that they're better off today under a Trump administration vote for you?"

"Well if they think that, they probably shouldn't," Biden said.

He went on to cite the poll's finding incorrectly, lowering the percentage of people who feel better off.

"They think — 54 percent of the American people believe they're better off economically today than they were under our administration? Well, their memory is not very good, quite frankly," Biden said.

Biden then moved on to attack President Trump.

"And in addition to that, we have a president who doesn't share the values of most Americans," Biden said. "He's not very honest with people. He's flouting the conventions relative to public safety in terms of even now — not wearing a mask, a guy who has been a superspreader. But look, whatever they believe they should go out and vote. People should vote. Period."

Ronald Reagan in 1980 famously asked Americans, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" 

The question has since been asked every four years, and Gallup has for decades asked Americans the same question.

Historically, presidents who are at least in the mid-40s on the question have won reelection. In December 2012, shortly after President Barack Obama was reelected, Gallup found 45% felt that they were better off than four years ago. Just before President George W. Bush was reelected in 2004, Gallup found that 47% said they were better off. And before Reagan won reelection in a 49-state landslide in 1984, 44% said they were better off.

But during President George H.W. Bush's reelection bid in 1992, just 38% of Americans told Gallup they were better off than four years before. He lost.

The Gallup survey gathered some other interesting data, including voter enthusiasm.

"Americans are expressing greater enthusiasm about voting in the 2020 election than they have done at a similar point in any election year since 2004," Gallup wrote. "In fact, the 67% currently saying they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting ties as the highest Gallup has measured at any point in prior campaigns, including a late October 2008 reading and a reading right after the 2004 Democratic convention."

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