A majority of U.S. voters feel that the “American dream” cannot be achieved, according to a poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NORC.
Approximately 36% of voters said that the American Dream – as defined by the notion that if an individual works hard, they will get ahead – was attainable, down from 68% who said the same last year, according to the WSJ/NORC poll released on Friday. Roughly two-thirds of voters feel the economy is in poor condition as inflation continues to outpace wages and prices continue to rise.
Half of poll respondents said that quality of life in the U.S. is poorer than it was 50 years ago, compared to less than a third of respondents who felt it was better.
The idea of the “American Dream” seemed more unattainable to women and younger poll respondents, according to the WSJ/NORC poll. Compared to 46% of men, only 26% of women surveyed said they believed hard work would guarantee success, and only 28% of respondents in the under-50 bracket felt the same, compared to 48% in the over-50 bracket.
Additionally, only 35% of respondents felt the economy was in good condition, according to the WSJ/NORC poll. Higher inflation rates across the board have pressured Americans to spend less on “non-essentials,” such as vacations or eating out, and price increases were the biggest financial issue for 82% of Americans as of November 2023.
The price American families paid to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2023 was the highest in history, as relevant food prices for the holiday have increased roughly 26% since President Joe Biden took office. Uncooked poultry chicken prices have increased 31.2% since January 2021 while classic desserts like pies and cakes have jumped up by 31% in the same period.
The current administration continues to maintain that “Bidenomics is working,” even as only 14% of voters said that the economy is better off under President Joe Biden, while 70% felt the economy has suffered under his policies, according to a Nov. 13 Financial Times poll.
The WSJ/NORC poll was conducted with 1,163 respondents from Oct. 19 to Oct. 24. It contained a margin of error of ±4 percentage points.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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