Fifty-eight percent of Americans (including 66 percent of 16-24 year olds) believe that their generation is economically worse off than their parents’ generation, but seventy-seven percent say they are better equipped than the previous generation to drive innovation to address challenges in America
Results of Survey Announced Ahead of CGI America meeting hosted by President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton in Denver, Colorado
DENVER, CO – June 24, 2014 – New research released today finds that Americans believe that the American Dream has grown less attainable, yet remain confident that they are better equipped than the previous generation to solve the nation’s most pressing problems. Despite persistent concerns about the economic recovery, a majority of respondents still believe that America’s youth will be able to climb the economic ladder.
The results come ahead of the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Denver, Colorado from June 23 to June 25, where President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will convene nearly 1,000 leaders from the business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofit sectors to share knowledge, build partnerships and generate Commitments to Action to promote economic recovery and the long-term competitiveness of the United States.
Many of the survey’s findings provide perspective on current debates playing out in cities, states and on the federal level, including regarding the minimum wage and the role of energy in our national economy. For example, while people are divided as to whether a higher minimum wage helps the economy, 61 percent think that the minimum wage is too low, including 52 percent of those who make more than $100,000 per year. 40 percent say we should be using as many natural resources as possible in order to grow the economy, while 72 percent say it is better for the American economy if we keep our extra natural resources here for use at home rather than selling them to international buyers.
Among the key findings of the poll are:
- 58 percent of Americans (including 66 percent of 16-24 year olds) think that their generation is economically worse off than their parents’ generation was.
- 65 percent say the American Dream is less attainable than it was for their parents’ generation.
Addressing Key Issues
- 77 percent say that they are better equipped than the previous generation to drive innovation, and 56 percent say they are better equipped to improve education in America.
- 67 percent have confidence in the ability of America’s youth to climb the economic ladder (including 86 percent of 16-24 year olds).
- 40 percent of Americans cite the high cost of higher education as the greatest barrier between America’s youth and the skills they need, more than twice the number who say that the lack of access to quality primary schools is the greatest barrier.
- 69 percent say that community colleges or technical schools offer better value than four-year colleges, post-graduate programs, and private high schools; however, only 44 percent of 16-24 year olds agree.
Innovation and Local Solutions
- 57 percent say that more progress will come from adopting innovative and new ideas, compared with 21 percent who say that more progress will come from tried-and-true ideas.
- 60 percent believe that the best ideas for addressing economic issues tend to come from the local level and spread nationally.
- 59 percent say that voluntarily paying a living wage is the best or second best way for corporations to demonstrate good corporate citizenship.
- 37 percent say a higher minimum wage helps the economy, while 30 percent say it hurts the economy. 33 percent say it is roughly an even trade-off.
- While people are not sure whether a higher minimum wage helps the economy, 61 percent think that the minimum wage is too low, including 52 percent of those who make more than $100,000 per year.
Technology and energy
- 32 percent say that green technology is the most important technology for improving their local economy, compared with 13 percent who say that fuel extraction technologies (like fracking) are most important.
- Among 16-24 year olds, 43 percent say that “green” technology is most important to improving their community’s economy.
- Americans think renewable, clean energy is vital to our economic success, with 56 percent (including 64 percent of 16-24 year olds) saying that solar power is one of our two most vital natural resources for future success.
- 72 percent, including 66 percent of those who make more than $100,000 per year, say it is better for the American economy if we keep our extra natural resources here for use at home rather than selling them to international buyers.
These issues are among those that will be discussed and addressed through new CGI Commitments to Action announced at CGI America: new, specific, and measurable plans to address some of the United States’ most pressing challenges. Since CGI America’s launch in 2011, participants have made over 300 commitments valued at more than $15 billion when fully funded and implemented.
The CGI-Bing Pulse Poll was commissioned by Microsoft and conducted online on June 19th by research firm Penn Schoen Berland among a representative sample of 1,000 Americans aged 16 and above. The overall margin of error on the survey is +/- 3.1%. The margin of error on sub-samples is larger.
In addition to the CGI-Bing Pulse Poll of Americans, CGI will also use Microsoft’s Bing Pulse real-time voting technology to give attendees and those joining via a live web stream the opportunity to weigh-in with their views. A session on Tuesday, June 24th from 1:00 PM-2:15 PM MDT will be ‘Pulsed.” Voting will be at http://bing.com/cgi.On Wed., June 25th at 8:30 am MDT, MSNBC.com will webcast a special session on energy and managing natural resources. Tune into this webcast and vote in real-time by visiting http://thegreatdebate.msnbc.com.
Bing Pulse allows anyone with a mobile device, tablet or computer to engage more deeply in live events, whether on-site or on-air, by voting on poll questions or responding to the content itself. The technology enables audiences to give speakers and broadcast hosts real-time feedback as events are taking place. Bing Pulse has previously been used at CGI University earlier this year.
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