In Obama Economy, 'Not Falling Behind' the American Dream

Four years into the presidency of Barack Obama, a poll finds that the "American Dream" for many is now just treading water economically and not falling behind.

According to an Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor Poll, “an overwhelming majority of Americans still define the U.S. as ‘the land of opportunity,’ but “nearly as many agree that getting ahead is more difficult for workers today than it was for previous generations.”

A majority of respondents said “‘because of the recent economic downturn,’ getting ahead these days in essence means not falling behind: ‘holding a job, being able to pay bills, avoid debt, and save some money for the future.” And only one-fourth of those surveyed thought they would “get ahead consistently over the next five or ten years.” 

Eighty-percent of respondents said “being free of debt” and “being able to save for a comfortable and secure retirement” were signs of getting ahead. 

The poll found 56% of respondents said they would prefer a job that “‘offers a great deal of job security but only modest pay and little opportunity for advancement’ over one that offered more opportunity ‘and the possibility of high pay but little job security.’”

In addition, 70% of those surveyed said “having a secure job that you can rely on, even through tough economic times” was a sign of getting ahead, and only 45% said they defined getting ahead as “advancing in a job and achieving greater financial success each year.”


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