Analysis

Opinion Poll on Economic Mobility and the American Dream

POLL 2009

In early 2009, the project commissioned a national survey and series of focus groups to provide a more accurate picture of how Americans view their own economic mobility and to better understand how their perceptions square with the reality of the project’s data. The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, seeks to answer questions such as: What defines Americans’ experience with mobility? What do we believe are the key determinants of our, and others’, mobility? How do our perceptions and perspectives on mobility differ as we look to the near future, as well as over generations, and how has this changed?

The results, released March 12, 2009, reveal that despite the current economic crisis, a strong and uniquely American undercurrent of optimism shines through. Americans believe in their ability --- and the ability of their children --- to get ahead. Resoundingly, Americans place greater importance on ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to improve their economic standing over reducing inequality. The report provides clear insights into how the American public views the factors, institutions, circumstances and values that may aid or impede their path to future economic success. In doing so, it offers valuable perspectives for elected officials, advocates and policymakers committed to ensuring that the fundamental economic bedrock of the American Dream remains solid for generations to come.