Survey Says: What Does the American Dream Mean to You?

By Lauren Kreisberg, Director of Research Applications

For many people, the American Dream is the ability for their children to do better than they have done. It’s tied in with owning a house, supporting a family, and being free from fears of poverty.  However, in our latest survey, we found a slightly conflicted America when it comes to the American Dream, the gap between the rich and the poor, and the ability to “come from nothing” and make it on your own.

While 62% of online adults agree that the country is still a meritocracy where people can succeed through hard work, only 38% agree that the American Dream is still within reach for most people (a sentiment echoed in a recent ORC International poll) and 56% think that the gap between the rich and the poor is expanding.  Meanwhile, only 22% believe that the country is headed in the right direction.


Unlike specific issue positions, these kinds of motivators are not only difficult for campaigns to educate and to persuade against, but they are also difficult to predict from publicly available data about voters.  Using data on just age, gender, region, and income (the last of which is often a model itself when using public data) produces a very weak model when trying to forecast viewpoints on the American Dream.  Resonate is pleased to offer our psychographic motivational targeting and analytics set in time for the 2014 mid-terms. These types of values-based views construct the core of much political rhetoric during standard election cycles.