Survey: 3 in 4 Americans say their finances haven't improved under Trump

Stephanie Asymkos
·Reporter

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign promise and slogan to “Make America Great Again” failed to make most Americans financially prosper since taking office.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans report their finances have not improved since President Trump has been in the White House, according to a new survey from Bankrate.

Read more: How to get the most out of your paycheck

Just 17% report their personal financial situations are better now than when President Trump took office in Jan. 2017. Another 45% think their situations have stayed about the same, while 29% are worse off now, and the remaining 10% reported they didn’t know.  

In this June 1, 2016 photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wears his "Make America Great Again" hat at a rally in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
In this June 1, 2016 photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wears his "Make America Great Again" hat at a rally in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

“Many of those left behind voted for candidate Donald Trump hoping that he would be their salvation,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst, in a press release. “Underscoring persistent income inequality, nearly 1 in 4 of the highest earners in America say their finances have improved under Trump, while only 15% of those making less than $30K annually made the same claim.”

The lack of progress over the last three years isn’t just because of the coronavirus pandemic — although it certainly didn’t help. More than 3 in 5 Americans failed to see financial improvement even before the outbreak.

Who has prospered during the Trump years?

A person wears a "Keep America Great" protective face mask during the coronavirus pandemic on May 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
A person wears a "Keep America Great" protective face mask during the coronavirus pandemic on May 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

The 17% who said their personal finances are healthier thanks to President Trump are mostly high-income earning white males, the survey found. 

Even among Trump stalwarts and Republicans, about a quarter (24%) report they are doing better now versus when Trump took office. Independents and Democrats have fared worse with 17% and 13% reporting positive financial change, respectively.  

What will November bring?

The remainder of 2020 brings with it uncertainty as the pandemic wages on and a vaccine is still in development. States’ reopening phases remain fluid to help contain the spread, and the country’s joblessness crisis continues. 

Given the country’s mood and current outlook, just over 1 in 4 anticipate any improvement to their personal financial situations by the time the November presidential election arrives, the survey found. Another 12% think things will only get worse, while 45% anticipate conditions staying the same. The remaining 16% are unsure.

Americans are split on which presidential candidate would be better for their personal financial situations; 36% side with Trump and 35% lean towards Biden. (AP Photo, File)
Americans are split on which presidential candidate would be better for their personal financial situations; 36% side with Trump and 35% lean towards Biden. (AP Photo, File)

Troublingly, just over a third of those whose finances have been hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak think their situations will improve by the election. Just over 1 in 5 think they will get worse, while 29% believe they’ll be the same.

What does this mean for Trump 2020?

While Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leads Trump in the polls, neither candidate has overwhelmingly captured the confidence of voters that their administration will help them financially prosper, according to the survey.

Potential voters are very closely split on which candidate would be better for their personal finances; 36% side with Trump and 35% lean towards Biden (14% say neither and 15% don’t know).

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The data isn’t predictive of November’s election outcome, Hamrick warned. “That doesn’t necessarily translate to a close race overall, however, as many voters will cast ballots based on a wide range of factors,” he said.

“In the current climate where people are sharply divided politically,” Hamrick added, “President Trump and Joe Biden are viewed overall as surprisingly close on the question of who would be best for Americans’ personal finances.” 

Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.

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