Four years ago, as voters were about to cast the first ballots in the 2008 election, the public’s mood was not very good. But, it it was still a lot better than it is today.

Although the Great Recession officially began in December 2007, the economic picture at the time looked much brighter to Americans than it does now. In 2007, 48% of Americans reported that jobs were difficult to find in their local community. That number increased to 79% this year.

In late 2007, the economic recession was gaining strength and the public’s view of the economy had grown more negative. Only about a quarter (27%) of people were satisfied with national conditions, which is not much higher than the current measure of 17%.

At the time, about two-thirds (66%) of the public was dissatisfied with national conditions; this year, 78% expressed dissatisfaction. In 2007, about three-quarters (73%) of people rated the state of the economy only “fair” or “poor;” 91% say so today. Finally, 49% of people said that their personal finances were only “fair” or “poor” at the time; that figure has increased to 61%. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.