2nd Quarter 2011 / Heartland Monitor Poll № 9
The latest installment of the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor series was on the topic of “A World Nation.”
The survey uncovered core attitudes and beliefs about the American economy, the government’s role therein, and the potential impacts of a changing American population. Specifically, the survey focused on measuring how Americans of different ethnic and racial backgrounds viewed these issues.
Overall, on many measures, there is much to be cheered about in the data when it comes to race and ethnicity in America:
- Americans believe that the country has made progress in recent years in providing equal opportunity to people of all backgrounds.
- And, though there are considerable differences by race and ethnicity, Americans are generally optimistic about the availability and sources of opportunity.
- One’s education level, hard work, and income level are viewed as more significant drivers of one’s ability to get ahead than their racial or ethnic background.
- Among all American demographic groups, there is belief in the power of the “free market” to create more societal positives than negatives.
- Racial tensions are seen as less of a source of conflict in society than tensions created by income inequality.
- And, Americans think it is likely that the trend towards increased diversity will result in the following:
- 85% expect more racial tolerance;
- 84% expect increased success for minority-owned businesses;
- 76% expect a more diverse workforce with unique skills; and o 65% expect a richer cultural experience for all Americans.
That said, there are also points of considerable tension.
- There are pronounced differences by race and ethnicity when it comes to how Americans perceive the availability of opportunity to get ahead.
- There are also divergent views by race and ethnicity about the proper role of government in the economy.
- However, these differences are as likely to correspond with Americans’ individual political viewpoints as they are with racial or ethnic background.
- There is anxiety over the potential impacts of the changing population:
- 67% expect more racial intolerance and tension;
- 64% expect more income inequality;
- 63% expect fewer people who will uphold America’s cultural heritage; o 62% expect fewer skilled workers for the American economy; and
- 52% expect fewer people who will uphold traditional American values.
Finally, continuing the trends we have tracked through the life of the Heartland Monitor:
- Minority populations are considerably more likely than Whites to believe they have more opportunity than their parents did.
- Looking into the future, Hispanics and African-Americans believe in a greater opportunity for the next generation than do Whites and Asians.
- People of color are more optimistic about the state of the American economy over the next twelve months.
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