Americans Say 2016 Election Is More Important Than Others in Recent History, New Poll Reveals
–Americans overwhelmingly concerned about lack of progress in D.C., but optimistic about personal financial situations, according to new Allstate-Atlantic Media poll–
–Despite frustration with Washington, Americans look to state and local governments, non-profit institutions and communities to create change–
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2016) – Weary of political gridlock in Washington, but determined to find solutions to the nation’s most pressing issues, Americans hope a collaboration between entities closer to home – state and local governments, businesses, nonprofits or individuals – will move the country forward, according to a new Heartland Monitor Poll released today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and Atlantic Media.
As the 2016 general election campaign kicks off, the 26th Allstate-Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll gauges Americans’ opinions on current trends shaping the country, including our most important issues, our greatest opportunities and challenges and where we look for solutions. The results reveal an engaged citizenry that believes key national issues such as political gridlock, education and national security make this election more important than past contests (63 percent).
A growing disillusionment with the federal government’s effectiveness, however, means people aren’t waiting for D.C. to address their everyday issues.
“We’ve been asking Americans for eight years which issues are most important to them, and we heard loud and clear in Heartland 26 they believe it’ll take non-traditional partnerships at the local level to move the country forward,” said Bill Vainisi, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Law and Regulation, Allstate. “While people continue to look to the federal government for large-scale change, we realize that takes time. As a network of small businesses in nearly every community in America, Allstate knows how critical local innovators are to improving lives from the ground up.”
Americans believe partisan politics are impeding progress when it comes to the nation’s most concerning problems, though there is an overall belief in the resiliency of the American people.
- Nearly all Americans (92 percent) say the political system in Washington isn’t working well enough to produce solutions to the country’s problems.
- The gridlock in Washington is a problem felt by everyone, regardless of party lines: Eighty percent of both Republicans and Independents, as well as 63 percent of Democrats, say it’s a serious problem.
- Almost half of Americans (47 percent) are looking beyond the federal government, saying it will take a new, innovative partnership between some combination of businesses, local governments, non-profits and individuals to move the country forward.
While Americans are frustrated by inaction in Washington and remain uncertain about the country’s economic future, they feel more optimistic toward their personal financial situations.
- Most Americans think their current personal financial situation is good (39 percent) or fair (35 percent). One-in-10 (9 percent) say they have an excellent personal financial situation, while 14 percent label their financial situation as poor.
- More Americans believe their personal financial situation will improve (39 percent) than become worse (9 percent) over the next year. Nearly half believe their finances will stay the same (46 percent).
- Twenty-two percent expect the national economy to improve over the next year, while 25 percent think it will worsen over that same period. Thirty-eight percent expect it to stay the same.
- Americans are enthusiastic about some trends they’re seeing:
- Americans are saving more money than they did before the economic crash of 2008 (37 percent mostly positive impact on the country); and
- Americans are becoming increasingly self-employed, including working in flexible positions through the sharing economy (34 percent mostly positive impact on the country).
The political division on the national level is driving engagement among Americans, many of whom perceive the upcoming election as more important and potentially more impactful than past elections.
- Nine-in-10 Americans (90 percent) believe this election will affect America’s standing in the world. Only 4 percent believe it will not have much impact, and 3 percent think it will have no impact at all.
- Among registered voters and those planning to register before the general election, three-quarters (75 percent) say they will definitely cast a ballot in November. Another 9 percent say they will probably vote, and 7 percent say there’s a 50/50 chance they will make it to the polls.
- Six-in-10 registered voters who did not vote or participate in their state’s primary or caucus (62 percent) say they will definitely make it to the polls in November. More than a quarter are considering casting a ballot (16 percent probably vote and 11 percent 50/50 chance of voting).
- More than eight-in-10 registered voters who did vote or participate in their state’s primary or caucus (84 percent) say they will definitely make it to the polls in November.
- Despite their beliefs about the importance of the election, Americans largely feel only incremental change, if any, will occur if their preferred candidate is elected: Forty percent foresee minor progress and 19 percent predict no change.
- The prospect of the election’s impact on personal quality of life is expected to be much less than the impact made on the world. Four-in-10 (41 percent) say it will have a great deal of impact on their personal life, and another 29 percent say it will have a moderate impact. A quarter (25 percent) believe the election will have either little or no impact.
- There is a stark age and gender divide when it comes to Americans’ perceptions of the impact of the upcoming election:
- Women and Americans 50 years and older are more likely than their counterparts to say they will see a great deal of impact caused by this election.
- Eighty-five percent of women 50 years and older say this election will have a great deal of impact on America’s standing in the world. Slightly less confident, 73 percent of the other gender and age combinations, (men 18-49, women 18-49, men 50+) believe the election will have a great impact.
- Half of women 50 years and older (51 percent) say the election will have a great deal of impact on their personal quality of life. The other gender and age combinations are less likely to say it will have a great impact on their life (for example, 31 percent of men and 41 percent of women ages 18-49, as well as 44 percent of men ages 50+).
“These findings signal that after years of stalemate and partisan paralysis in Washington, most Americans’ first instinct now is to look for change instigated from the bottom up rather than the top down,” said Ronald Brownstein, Atlantic Media’s editorial director for strategic partnerships. “The political credo the poll suggests might be summarized as: argue nationally, act locally.”
To see in-depth poll data for the 26th Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll, please visit HeartlandMonitor.com. The Atlantic is reporting on the poll results and their implications in a series at TheAtlantic.com, where the full topline findings are also available.
The 26th installment of the Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll, conducted June 19-24, 2016, comprises questions asked in the final months leading up to the 2016 presidential election: How do Americans view the current trends shaping the country? What are the biggest problems and who do we look towards to fix the issues? Will the 2016 Presidential election make a difference? The survey was conducted among a national sample of 1,000 American adults age 18+, with 500 reached via cell phone and 500 reached via landline. The margin of error for a sample of 1,000 is +/- 3.1 in 95 out of 100 cases.
About Allstate Corporation
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Now celebrating its 85th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. In 2015, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities.
About Atlantic Media
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FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN) is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,600 employees located in 26 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.78 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2015. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.
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