In the minds of many Americans, the American dream—the notion that anyone who works diligently can achieve success, irrespective of background—has now slipped even further from their grasp.
A new Wall Street Journal/NORC survey found that only 36% of voters still believe in the American ideal, which is significantly lower than the 53% who said so in 2012 and the 48% who said so in 2016 in comparable surveys of adults conducted by another pollster.
A Wall Street Journal poll from the previous year found that 68% of respondents agreed that diligent work increases the likelihood of success in the United States. This percentage is nearly double that of the new poll.
Amidst numerous indications of economic and social progress, the survey provides the most recent evidence that Americans of all political persuasions are experiencing economic fragility and doubt regarding the stability of the ascent to higher living standards.
In the new poll, half of the respondents stated that life in the United States is worse than it was fifty years ago, while thirty percent believed it had improved.
When queried about their perception of the economic and political system being “stacked against people like me,” 39% of respondents disagreed with the statement, while 50% agreed.
Young adults and women perceived the American ideal as the most elusive in the survey.
The ideal of advancement through hard labor is still valid, according to 46% of men and 28% of women surveyed, as well as 48% of voters aged 65 or older but only about 28% of those under the age of 50.
Individuals affiliated with both political parties expressed these feelings of unease and disinterest.
From October 19 to October 24, 1,163 registered electors were surveyed by the Journal-NORC. The margin of error is four percentage points, either plus or minus.
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