PRESS RELEASE from Progressive Future

28 Years Later, New Ad Echoes Reagan in Asking if Americans Are "Better Off"

Go to the Progressive Future Better Off O8 page.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                               
Oct. 29, 2008      

Brad Martin: 406.750.3457; (c) 202.543.3332 (w)
Adam Lioz: 202.251.8519; (c); 303.893.0458 (w)

Washington, DC – Following the 28th anniversary of the historic debate performance that many believe won Ronald Reagan the 1980 election, a new advertisement evokes Reagan’s famous words:

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?  Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago?  Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?  If you don’t think that this course that we’ve been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have.”

In addition to being featured in an online outreach program to swing voters in battleground states, the advertisement, sponsored by Progressive Future, will run this week in Ohio and Florida.  Viewers can also access the ad at

“Ronald Reagan asked the American people a simple question, and we’re asking it again,” said Jeff Goodby, who produced the ad through his firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.  Mr. Goodby learned his craft from Hal Riney, who produced “Morning in America,” a one-minute spot for President Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign that many consider one of the most effective political ads in American history.

“With our economy in crisis and our soldiers still at war, Ronald Reagan’s question is as relevant today as it was in 1980,” said Brad Martin, Progressive Future Political Director. 

Martin noted that current public opinion polling and a new report by Third Way, a non-partisan think tank, underscore his point.  A recent Gallup poll found that a record 91% of Americans are “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time.” 

The Third Way report put the public’s frustration in concrete terms.  The authors of “Are You Better Off” compared Americans’ financial well-being over the past eight years (2001-2008) with the previous eight (1993-2000).  The researchers found that between large drops in wages and investment income, and higher prices for health care, energy, food, and more, the typical working household was an estimated $94,929 worse off over the past eight years than over the previous eight. 

The authors also broke down the comparison by state.  Only two states experienced gains, while the residents of 15 states were at least $100,000 worse off during the Bush years.  Ohio residents took a $121,409 step back, according to the report addendum.  Florida residents fared better but still lost an estimated $16,040 worth of ground.  Michigan residents took the biggest hit from the Bush years, falling behind by $181,735.
Taking a broader view, the authors reported that the country as a whole is worse off across a range of metrics including unemployment, health care coverage, job creation, debt, and more. 

The report is available at, and state-by-state breakdowns are available at
“If you’re tired of George Bush’s failed policies, tired of paying more for groceries and gas, and sick of worrying about whether your retirement savings will disappear overnight, then Barack Obama is, in Reagan’s words, ‘another choice that you have,’” Martin added.
Although independently conceived, several similar video concepts can be found on the internet, demonstrating the strength of the message.  Through its media buy and additional online organizing program, Progressive Future will bring the concept to a wider audience. 

Progressive Future wishes to acknowledge and celebrate other versions of this concept and the many creative efforts of online videographers in support of Barack Obama.

In addition to sponsoring the “Better Off 08” ad, Progressive Future is conducting field programs to elect Barack Obama.  Just as the ad is aimed at connecting with independent-minded voters, many of whom voted for Reagan, the organization is currently focused on persuading undecided voters through face-to-face contacts at the door in critical battleground states.  In the final 96 hours of the election, the group will shift its focus to mobilizing its members and activists to conduct a volunteer-based get-out-the-vote drive.