Americans Charge Government to Assist in Personal Economic Circumstances

In March 2011, the Pew Economic Mobility Project conducted a follow-up poll to its 2009 survey of the public’s perceptions of economic mobility and the American Dream. According to the report, although Americans have become increasingly pessimistic about their own economic state, they are optimistic about the future.
The poll in March found that less than a third (32%) rate their own financial situation as either “excellent” or “good.” This percentage is down by 9 points since last year, and down 23 points since the recession began in 2007. Although a majority of Americans (55%) rate the national economy as “poor,” this number is an improvement from the 73% who rated the economy as “poor” two years ago.
Americans believe that the government has the potential to help prevent individuals from struggling economically by keeping jobs in America, improving the quality of elementary and high school education, reducing the government’s debt, and making college more affordable. A vast majority (90%) of Americans rated keeping jobs in America as either “one of the most effective” or a “very effective” way in which the government can prevent downward mobility. Despite the public’s belief that the government has the ability to produce better economic circumstances for individuals, most Americans feel that currently the government has done more to hurt than to help individuals who are trying to improve their economic position.

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