About 38 percent of the 633 Connecticut residents surveyed by Siena College Research Institute said they are better off today than they were four years ago, but 51 percent say they are not and about 10 percent say their financial condition is unchanged.

For the second year in a row, a greater percentage of Connecticut residents think the country’s best economic days are behind it as opposed to about 45 percent that believe the economy is strong and will rebound.

There is a “dogged desire to be optimistic when looking at the future” Don Levy, director of Siena Research Institute, said Monday. But that optimism seems to depend upon a person’s political party.

Twenty-two percent of Republicans believe they are better off, while 54 percent of Democrats believe they are better off than they were four years ago, the survey found.

“Only one in five residents say their financial lot has improved over the last twelve months while merely one third expect to improve economically over the coming year,“ Levy said. “With about forty percent treading financial water, it isn’t surprising that residents are split on whether the economy and business conditions will improve or worsen in the near future.”

The telephone survey, which was conducted between Oct. 4-14, found that the percentage of households with someone who lost a job was down slightly, but the number of households who knew someone in foreclosure was up.

The percentage of households with a member losing a job this year is down slightly from last year, moving from 20 percent last year to 17 percent today. Twenty-four percent of residents — down from 29 percent last year — have had their hours cut back at work.

Levy said one of the “scarier” numbers to him was the number of residents who personally know someone in foreclosure. The survey found 35 percent of those surveyed know someone in foreclosure, which is up from 29 percent last year.

“I was surprised to see that number go up,“ Levy said.

But on a brighter note, the economic downturn seems to have more people keeping track of their finances. A growing majority, 53 percent up from 48 percent last year, have a monthly budget that they use to keep track of their income and expenses. Two-thirds or 67 percent of residents have a savings account with at least $1,000 in it and 40 percent have enough in savings to take care of six months of household expenses.

In order to get the economy going again, 68 percent of voters would support increasing the federal income tax on those making more than $250,000 a year. But 44 percent strongly or somewhat oppose lowering taxes on corporations, while 38 percent support that proposal.

Almost 75 percent of residents support improving infrastructure projects and expanding transportation options, according to the survey. And 63 percent oppose lessening entitlement spending on Social Security and Medicare, and 70 percent want to end the war in Afghanistan and bring the troops home.

The survey has a 3.9 percent margin of error and was conducted using live callers.

Click here to download the complete survey.