Poll: Democrats Pessimistic About American Dream

Thursday, 08 Aug 2013 03:55 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Many Americans believe wealth inequality is growing in the United States and doubt that the American Dream is still a possibility for most, a new survey finds.

In a new YouGov poll, 41 percent said that achieving the American Dream has become impossible for most people, while 21 percent said they weren't sure. Another 38 percent still believe that it is possible.

When it came to party affiliation, there was a clear split between Republicans and Democrats on the issue, with 55 percent of Republicans saying that the American dream is still achievable and 53 percent of Democrats saying that it is not.

In the survey taken from August 1-2 of 1,000 American adults, 64 percent also believe that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, while 23 percent believe that it is the same, and four percent say that it is shrinking.

The perception is not far from the reality on this issue. The Economist reported in March that the gap between the rich and poor is greater than it has been since the 1920s.

However, 45 percent of Americans believe the government should "let people get ahead on their own," while 37 percent agree that the government should guarantee each person a job and certain standard of living.

Amid the pessimism, Americans still remain optimistic about what is possible if someone is talented and works hard. Sixty three percent of Americans agreed with the statement that "anyone with talent who is willing to work can rise to the top." And only 23 percent said they agreed that "success in America today is mostly reserved for those from privileged backgrounds who know the right people; talented people from poor backgrounds don't have a chance."

American optimism definitely stands out compared to how those in Great Britain responded to those same statements, with 38 percent of those polled saying that hard work can lead to success for anyone and 43 percent believing that success was more possible for those who come from a privileged background.

In the UK people were also more pessimistic about social mobility, with 40 percent saying that Britain had become less mobile, while 44 percent of Americans saying that the United States is more mobile.

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