Heartland Monitor Poll: Insights on the new economic landscape
NORTHBROOK — A poll by Northbrook based insurance comapny Allstate found that while roughly 57 percent of Americans are pessimistic about the current direction of the country, 60 percent believe that their own financial well-being is determined by their actions and not events out of their control. The poll, The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, demonstrates the continuing impact of the Great Recession on Americans.
The Heartland Monitor Poll was conducted over a three year span with aims to understand the American experience and attitudes on the changing economy. It also acts to give a voice to the concerns and views of the middle class.
On Aug. 30 and Sept. 4, Allstate, National Journal The Atlantic and will host two summits to discuss the findings of the polls. Both summits correspond with the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, respectively. Leading figures in politics, media, business and academia will review and discuss all 13 polls that have been conducted since April 2009.
Since its inception, The Heartland Monitor Poll has focused on a wide range of issues providing important insights on attitudes toward retirement, unemployment, changing demographics, home ownership, education, manufacturing and the financial stability of American families. This research has helped to paint an increasingly complex picture of middle class Americans' financial situation and political mindset that extends beyond the rhetoric and political discord that dominates public dialogue.
Findings from the polling series include:
-Nearly one in five Americans say they have a hard time making ends meet each month. Another 52 percent indicate that while they get by each month, they find it is difficult to save and invest for the future.
-Forty-four percent of Americans expect that their financial situation will improve by next year, with only around one in ten indicating that they think they will be worse off.
-Seventy-two percent of African-Americans and 59 percent of Hispanics believe their financial situation will improve the the next year, while only 38 percent of Caucasions do. Fifty-five percent of Americans aged 18-44 also believe their situation will improve.
-According to the most recent Heartland poll, information from political candidates (43 percent) and large corporations (42 percent) is trusted by only a minority of respondents.
-Although 42 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds agree that a four-year degree is a ticket to the middle class, 55 percent say they could perform their job responsibilities just as well had they not obtained as much education. Forty-six percent say a four-year college degree is an economic burden.
-One-third of Americans believe the United States will have the world's strongest economy 20 years from now, roughly in line with those who hold similar expectations of China's economy.
-Forty-four percent of Americans believe that compared to their parents they have had more opportunity to get ahead, with 24 percent indicating they have had about the same amount of opportunity.
-Despite the economic headwinds, three in five Americans indicate they are currently living the American Dream.
"In 2009, when Allstate partnered with the National Journal for the first Heartland Monitor Poll, America was in the midst of an unprecedented financial and economic crisis, and as a company, we could not simply stand by when the hopes of so many were being put to the test," said Joan Walker, executive vice president of corporate relations for Allstate. "We embarked on this research expedition to not only understand what was happening to average Americans, but to also use these findings to start conversations about solutions. Over the past three years, we have learned that Americans have resounding optimism about the uncertain economy and believe that they control their own destiny as it relates to the American Dream."