Local voters answer the ‘Are you better off now' question

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Are you better off than you were four years ago?

This week, Republicans are resurrecting that question from Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign, while Democrats are reassuring voters they will answer at their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., which starts Tuesday.

Polled voters have said the economy is the number one issue this election. Pundits project key swing voters will decide which political party gets their vote based on how they see their economic situation.

In the most recent Associated Press poll, 28 percent of respondents said they were better off than four years ago, while 36 percent said they were worse off and 36 percent said they were in about the same financial position.

Clinton Buntin is one of those sidewalk guys who don costumes to wave customers into a nearby business. The funny man on the sidewalk in Waldo said he loves his job, and said it is proof the economy is better than it was four years ago.

"A couple of years ago, I went three months before finally found a job. Now it's only been a month. That shows the economy is getting better," explained Buntin.

Buntin said because the economy is adding jobs, he will be voting for President Barack Obama.

Republicans continue to attack Obama on the economy and blame him and the Democrats for not creating more jobs and reducing the high unemployment rate.

The President this week said he will focus on a plan to improve the economic situation for the middle class.

Dr. Charles Moran, a political science professor at Rockhurst University, believes it will come down to which group can convince the public of their approach.

"That's the bull's-eye for both parties. Whichever of the two is perceived to have a better answer to these kinds of questions will be the party who will win," explained Moran.

Pundits and voters alike are not sure either party has adequately spelled out definitive plans.

"What's said at election time is hard to take seriously," said John Goodwin, manager of the Waldo Grain Company.

Goodwin said he has seen business significantly decline in the past four years, and that is why he will be voting against the president.

"It's definitely time for a change," he said.

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