Americans Less Optimistic

less optimisticThe Atlantic and the Aspen Institute recently released the findings of a new survey of Americans that found, contrary to how we like to think of ourselves, that Americans are becoming decidedly less optimistic.

The poll is a jarring wake-up call to anyone who still believes America is a country of optimists. Nearly two-thirds of Americans—65 percent—question whether America will be on the right track in 10 years. They are also split on whether the country will be a “land of opportunity” (33 percent say yes, 42 percent say no, and 24 percent say they don’t know). In their view, the American Dream itself seems to be fading. Seven in 10 Americans have real doubts about whether working hard and playing by the rules will bring success in the future. They are also concerned about their children’s futures. Despite falling unemployment in many states, 64 percent of parents believe it will be difficult for their children to find good jobs in 10 years. …

Americans’ pessimism and uncertainty also extends to our ability to govern ourselves. Two-thirds of Americans doubt we will be more unified in the coming years. And while Americans are split on whether government as a whole will be any more effective in the future than it is today, there is more agreement that Congress itself will be less effective. Fifty-four percent of Americans also believe government will grow bigger in 10 years, with 38 percent of Americans believing America will have government-run health care. Just 18 percent of Americans believe Obamacare will exist with only minor changes in a decade. Two-thirds—67 percent—believe it will either exist with major changes or cease to exist at all. And two-thirds also believe a female president will be elected in the next 10 years.

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