There has been a sharp improvement in the state of American lives during President Barack Obama's time in office, according to Gallup and Healthways data released Tuesday.
The group found that 55.4 percent of U.S. adults considered their lives to be "thriving." That's a gain of four percentage points from when Obama took office in January 2009 and "2016 is on pace to be the highest recorded year in the nine years Gallup and Healthway have tracked it," the report states.
The survey classifies U.S. adults as "thriving," "struggling" or "suffering," depending on how they rate their current and future lives on a 1-10 scale. To qualify as thriving a respondent has to present a current rating of seven or higher, with a future rating of eight or higher.
In 2008, President George W. Bush's final year in office, 48.9 percent of U.S. adults were thriving. A major factor in the improvement under Obama is likely due to a strengthened economy.
"U.S. adults' life evaluations are better today than when President Obama took office in January 2009," Gallup wrote. "During the Great Recession, the rapid decline in the labor market played an instrumental role in suppressing life evaluations nationally, setting the scene for improvement to come. Many factors could help explain the subsequent uptick in life evaluations, including the election of the president himself."
Life ratings have approved across whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, the major groups tracked by Gallup, but not at a uniform rate. Asians saw the largest uptick, rising from 52.8 percent "thriving" to 62.8 percent "thriving" during Obama's presidency. The results of the surveys are based on television interviews of a random sample of U.S. adults aged 18 or older. For the 2016 figures, Gallup spoke with some 105,000 people and the margin of error was no more than plus or minus 1 percentage point in most cases, but as much as 1.6 percentage points for the figures measuring Asians' life evaluations.
Some of the notable accomplishments during the Obama administration include the Affordable Care Act, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the withdrawal of troops in Iraq, and the killing of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
Recent polls have shown Obama's approval rating hovering around 54 percent, which would put him on par with Republican President Ronald Reagan when he left office in 1988 and just behind Democratic President Bill Clinton in 2000.
It's unclear if Obama's popularity will help propel Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to victory in November. Election trends have mostly shown that after eight years of one party in the White House, the opposing party wins the next election.