Survey taken before election shows how Trump supporters' outlook on the future propelled him to victory

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One of the main narratives that Democratic leaders and pundits have used to explain Hillary Clinton's shocking defeat is that President-elect Donald Trump tapped into the belief many Americans have that life isn't as good as it used to be.

Trump's campaign slogan, repeated countless times in the last year and a half, was to "make America great again," suggesting that the nation has lost the greatness it once had.

Related: Trump's life leading up to the election

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Donald Trump's life leading up to the election
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Donald Trump's life leading up to the election

Bound for the rigors of business school in the future, Donald Trump received discipline at an early age by attending a military academy. There, he reportedly excelled in extracurricular activities such as being the Honor Cadet.

Donald Trump in the New York Military Academy's 1964 yearbook

Source: Classmates

As someone who loves the art of negotiation, Donald Trump was able to negotiate New York City to provide a 40-year tax abatement for the Grand Hyatt Hotel — the first ever granted to a commercial property.

Governor Hugh Carey points to an artists' conception of the new New York Hyatt Hotel/Convention facility that will be build on the site of the former Commordore Hotel, June 28, 1978.  (AP Photo)

Source: The Trump Organization

Master renovator: Trump offered to renovate decrepit areas in need, such as a long-closed ice-skating rink, at no profit to himself, after the city's renovation effort went through five years of delays and more than double the original cost estimate.

Developer Donald Trump, right, poses with New York City's Park Commissioner Henry Stern holding a pair of ice skates that are intended for use at the Wollman Skating Rink Central Park in New York, Aug. 7, 1986.  (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)

Source: AP

Trump's enterprise also stretched out into sports, where he was the original owner of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.

In this March 8, 1984 photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team.  (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File)

Trump owns a fleet of luxury helicopters.

 Donald Trump poses in front of one of three Sikorsky helicopters at New York Port Authority's West 30 Street Heliport on March 22, 1988. (AP Photo/Wilbur Funches)

Trump also enjoys tennis — he even played a round, wearing his traditional suit, against the legendary Serena Williams.

Developer Donald Trump talks with his former wife Ivana Trump during the men's final at the U.S. Open September 7, 1997. REUTERS/File Photo 

Trump was also notorious for befriending attractive supermodels. His first wife, Ivana, a Czech-American, was a member of the social elite.

Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose outside the Federal Courthouse after she was sworn in as a United States citizen, May 1988. (AP Photo)

No expense was spared for his belongings, as Donald Trump once paid the sultan of Brunei $30 million for a nearly 300-foot yacht.

In this July 4, 1998 photo, Donald Trump waves to reporters with his former wife, Ivana, as they board their yacht "The Trump Princess" in New York. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

Being the entertaining host, Trump also spared no expense in providing a spectacular show for friends and family.

 Developer and multi-millionaire Donald Trump (R) watches as ex-wife Marla Maples gets a kiss from Earl Sinclair of TV's 'Dinosaurs' during lunch at the Trump Plaza Hotel November 2, 1992. REUTERS/Henry Ray Abrams

As a self-proclaimed family man, Trump attended many public events and television shows with his family, even before his current campaign.

 Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump attend U.S. Open Tennis Tournament on August 30, 1991 at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Source: Oprah

Trump first started showing signs of interest for a possible bid for the US presidency with the formation of a presidential exploratory committee ahead of the 2000 election.

Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump (R) talks with host Larry King after taping a segment of King's CNN talk show, in New York October 7. Reuters

Source: Reuters

To test the political waters, the potential Reform Party presidential candidate traveled to several areas to address party leaders.

New York billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump made an appearance for the media atop a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel Monday, Dec. 6, 1999. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Source: AP

In 2005, Donald Trump married fashion designer and model Melania Trump.

Real estate magnate Donald Trump (L) and Melania Trump leave Hollinger International's annual meeting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on May 22, 2003.

REUTERS/Peter Morgan PM/ME

Source: PolitiFact

As no stranger to the political process, Donald Trump was even acquainted with members of the judicial branch.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (L), serving as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500, speaks to Donald Trump  on the starting grid at the Daytona International Speedway February 14. JLS/ELD

He also became the owner of the infamous Miss Universe beauty pageant for many years.

 Donald Trump and Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady pose onstage after Brady won the 2013 Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

Unbeknownst to many, Donald Trump is a formidable opponent on the green. He owns 15 golf courses.

Real Estate mongul Donald Trump takes a swing on the 11th green of his newly acquired Ocean Trails Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Source: Golf

Sometimes, negotiating can be a tough sport. What better way to exert your dominance by taking the center stage among the world's most bombastic figures?

Donald Trump, left, and Bobby Lashley, right shave the head of Vince McMahon after Lashley defeated Umaga Detroit, Sunday, April 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Trump famously launched his presidential campaign in June 2015 by coming down an escalator in Trump Tower. Since then, he has weathered waves of controversy to become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

 (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

As the fog of the political battlefield has cleared on the Republican side, Trump is now preparing for a likely battle with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Trump made his final appeal to voters in swing-states as the contentious campaign drew to a close.

 Donald Trump speaks at a rally at SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH, on Nov. 7, 2016, the night before election day. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

President-elect Trump at his election night party at the Hilton Hotel in New York City.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during his election night event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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A Pew Research Center survey of 2,010 Americans taken in August reveals just how far Trump supporters think their country has fallen:

Is past or present better for people like you? Trump, Clinton supporters differ

While 59% of Clinton supporters said life in the US was better today than it was 50 years ago, 81% of Trump supporters said it was worse.

The key phrase in the question is better "for people like you." Exit polls show Trump captured majorities among white male voters over 40, many of whom have less power and focus than they did 50 years ago as women and minorities have started to gain equal footing.

Not only did Trump supporters (and a majority of people polled overall) think life was worse today than it was in the past, they also thought life would be worse in the future for people like them.

Most Trump supporters say life for next generation will be worse than today

While Clinton supporters thought America was already great and getting greater, more Americans believed it was on the wrong track for them. It stands to reason that such people launched Trump to his stunning victory.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose own bid for the Democratic nomination focused on the plight of working-class Americans, has lamented in the days after the election how Clinton didn't tap into many Americans' discontent with the status quo.

Related: Trump's rumored picks for the Trump administration

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Donald Trump's rumored picks for his administration
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Donald Trump's rumored picks for his administration
Sarah Palin is rumored to be among Trump's picks for Interior Secretary. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump named Jeff Sessions his pick for U.S. attorney general. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump named Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn his pick for National Security Adviser. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Trump named Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., as his preferred pick for CIA director. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Newt Gingrich is rumored to be among Trump's top picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Mitt Romney has reportedly been in discussions for secretary of state. 

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Ted Cruz was believed to be under consideration for Trump's attorney general

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Steven Mnuchin is rumored to be Trump's top pick for Treasury Secretary. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
 

Bob Corker is also rumored to be among Trump's picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Stephen Hadley is rumored to be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Jim Talent is rumored to also be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Tim Parker 

Rudy Giuliani was also rumored to be among Trump's top picks for attorney general. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Forrest Lucas is rumored to be Trump's top pick for Interior Secretary. ( Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Robert Grady is also being eyed for the Interior Secretary position.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser 

Donald Trump Jr. is also said to have interest in the Interior Secretary position. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Controversial pick Sid Miller is one of the many being considered for Agriculture Secretary. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Sam Brownback is also one of the several names being considered for Agriculture Secretary. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Billionaire Wilbur Ross is a rumored choice for Commerce Secretary. FINANCE-WLROSS/ REUTERS/Tim Chong 

Daniel Dimicco, a Trump Trade Advisor is also on the possible list for Commerce Secretary.  REUTERS/Chris Keane 

Victoria Lipnic (left) is being considered for Labor Secretary.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Rick Scott is considered to be a top contender for Health and Human Services Secretary.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Ben Carson was also rumored to be in the running for Health and Human Services Secretary -- but said he doesn't want the job. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Harold Hamm is considered to be the top contender for Energy Secretary.  (AP PhotoKevin Cederstrom)

Jeff Miller's name has been bounced around many times for the Veterans Affairs Secretary position. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

David Clarke is rumored to be among Trump's top picks for Homeland Security Secretary. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Myron Bell who has been a part of Trump's transition team is rumored to be the top pick for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator position. 

Photo Credit: Twitter/oliverwasow

Representative Tom Price of Georgia is being considered for the position of secretary of health and human services.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Ivana Trump, the president-elect's ex-wife, has said she wants Trump to name her as ambassador to the Czech Republic.

(Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

John Bolton is yet another rumored pick for secretary of state. 

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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"The simple truth — and Mr. Trump tapped into this — is that millions of American are working longer hours for lower wages, they're worried to death about the future for their children and they want an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent," Sanders said in a Facebook post last Thursday.

"The Democratic Party has got to make it very clear that it is the party of working people in 50 states in this country, not just in New York and California."

NOW WATCH: Trump goes on a tweetstorm less than 48 hours after promising to be more 'restrained' on Twitter

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