In a survey released Thursday, 38 percent said they felt financially better off than they did a year ago, while 34 percent said they felt worse off, Gallup reported.
In President Obama's first year of office, 54 percent said they were worse off.
The new data shows a slight improvement from the same poll in May, when 37 percent said they were better off. The level was the highest since 2007.
In 1976, 1980 and 1992, when people said they were worse off, the incumbent presidents were defeated.
The sentiments in the latest poll were partisan. Some 62 percent of Democrats said they were better off than a year ago, while 34 percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans said they felt the same way.
Overall, most Americans said they were optimistic about their financial future: 80 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans.
The survey was conducted by telephone Monday and Tuesday with a random sample of 1,064 adults more than 18 years old. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.