Second Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Explores How Americans Perceive Opportunity Amid Economic Downturn
Survey shows that 87 percent of Americans believe in the "Land of Opportunity" but concerns are rising about the prospects available to future generations, the labor market and the high cost of education
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal announced the results of the second Heartland Monitor poll, a groundbreaking series of surveys conducted by FD that gauges how every day Americans are navigating through the economic downturn, and what role they expect government and business to play in helping them do so. This installment in the series asked survey respondents about the state of opportunity in America.
Presenting the survey's findings at National Journal Group's headquarters at The Watergate in Washington, D.C., were Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of Allstate; Ronald Brownstein, political director of Atlantic Media Company; and Edward J. Reilly, CEO of FD Americas.
Explaining his company's role in supporting the Heartland Monitor Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of Allstate commented, "We believe that the dialogue we are engaged in through this series of public surveys will help to focus the attention of government and the private sector alike on the economic concerns of every day Americans."
Commenting further on the findings of the Heartland Monitor, Wilson said, "What we know is that the current economic crisis has been a game-changer with Americans of all walks of life altering their view of our economic reality, and adjusting their expectations and goals accordingly. They are re-evaluating their own skills and the education they need to compete in the global marketplace, as well as questioning the effectiveness of government to create economic opportunities for them. However, Americans still believe in America. They have not wavered from the fundamental belief that America is the land of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard."
While the survey found that 87 percent believe that America is the "Land of Opportunity," it also uncovered anxieties about the future, with a plurality saying they expect today's children to have fewer opportunities upon reaching adulthood. More positively, more than two-thirds (67%) of Americans are confident they will get ahead financially within the next five years, and more than half (54%) believe their own skills - not the state of the economy - will be the key to doing so.
With respect to government, many respondents said the Obama administration's actions increase opportunities to get ahead, but 52 percent said government as a whole creates more obstacles. A majority of Americans who conceded they would welcome long term employment with a large company also said the private sector is, for the most part, focused on a short-term view that sees employees as expendable during a bad economy.
The Heartland Monitor also revealed concerns about the volatility of the labor market and the role education will play in serving the American workforce. While a majority (54%) continue to see a four-year college education as a necessity to being successful, 50 percent believe that a college education is an economic burden and only 40 percent described a four-year degree as a "ticket to the middle class." In addition, a majority of Americans say the fluid labor market, characterized by the accelerating trend of changing jobs, careers and companies increases their personal instability and risk.
"The results of the second Heartland Monitor poll reinforce and deepen the findings of the first survey this spring," said Atlantic Media Political Director Ronald Brownstein. "Both polls show that most Americans continue to see opportunity in today's economy, but believe that it exposes them to greater risk than earlier generations, and remain uncertain that either government or business can help them navigate these turbulent waters. These path-breaking results suggest that many Americans are looking for new answers that will help them better manage risk and maximize opportunity for themselves and their families."
Video of the release of the poll results is available online at NextGenWeb.org. Full results also are available at NationalJournal.com or in PDF format here.
Notes to Editors
The second installment of the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FD on July 5-12, 2009. Results are from a sample of 1,202 American adults. Questions asked of the full sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. The margin of error on other questions varied based on the size of the subsample.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help individuals in approximately 17 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through approximately 14,700 exclusive Allstate agencies and financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. Encompass® Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. The Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker- dealers. Customers can also access information about Allstate Financial Group products and services at myallstatefinancial.com.
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