Survey: Voters Still Believe American Dream Is 'Alive and Well'

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Feb 06, 2016 3:20 PM
Survey: Voters Still Believe American Dream Is 'Alive and Well'

Eureka College, the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, released its first annual “American Opportunity Index,” this week, which measured how much freedom and opportunity Americans feel they have to pursue their dreams.

Based on respondents’ views, American opportunity stands at 66 percent of its full potential. These findings, carried out in partnership with national research and polling firm McLaughlin & Associates, are based on seven metrics: personal access, equality of access, compared to past generations, compared to other nations, attitude about the future, belief in the future of American Opportunity and leadership.          

“As the smallest college to graduate a President of the United States and as a college that provides opportunities for all our students, we believe it is essential to assess the general perspectives of the American people on opportunity,” said Eureka College President, Dr. J. David Arnold. “The results from the 2016 American Opportunity Index are also a litmus test whether index respondents share President Reagan’s optimism about the future—do they, like President Reagan, view America as a ‘shining city on a hill.'”

A random sampling of 1,000 adults were asked seven questions, which were then collectively scored to create the Index. Here are the findings:

-91 percent agree that America gives them the freedoms & opportunities to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams

-2:1 agree that every American today has the same freedom and opportunity to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams.

-54 percent agree that they have the same freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams today that their parents and grandparents had.

-50 percent agree that future generations will have the same freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams compared to today.

-90 percent agree that Americans have greater freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams compared to people living in other countries.

-73 percent believe the concept of the overall promise of freedom and opportunity will exist in America’s future.

-57 percent believe that leaders are working to make sure Americans have the freedom and opportunity to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams.

The Index results varied across sub-groups, however, such as political party affiliation, race and ethnicity, and generations.

“The idea of freedom and opportunity in America is alive and well, but skepticism exists when voters are asked in a more personal fashion,” the report states, noting the lower Index score among younger voters is not surprising given the current economic and societal conditions.

“Will this translate into political disillusionment for younger voters or perhaps motivate them to turnout? The American Opportunity Index will help to answer these questions and gauge these sentiments from year to year and it will be quite instructive to see how the Index is affected one year from now, on the heels of the inauguration of our next President,” it concludes. 

You can take a sample version of the poll here and see how your answers stack up to the other respondents.