Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Personal Financial Satisfaction

From a summary of a Pew Research Center report:

"Roughly eight-in-ten Republicans (81%) say they are largely satisfied with the way things are going for them financially, compared with much smaller majorities of Democrats and independents (54% each) – the largest partisan gap recorded since the Pew values surveys began 20 years ago. A decade ago, partisan differences in satisfaction with personal finances were modest, and in 1994 Republicans, Democrats and independents expressed nearly identical levels of satisfaction with their finances. The partisan split is especially notable among Americans of mid- to low income levels. Three-quarters of Republicans with household incomes of $50,000 or less say they are pretty well satisfied with the way things are going for them financially, compared with just 40% of Democrats and a similar share of independents (39%). Even among Republicans who say they often do not have enough money to make ends meet, nearly six-in-ten (58%) express satisfaction in the way things are going for them financially. By contrast, just 30% of Democrats and 32% of independents who have trouble making ends meet say they are satisfied with their personal financial situation.
Excerpt from the report:
"The study of the public's political values and attitudes by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press – the most recent in a series of such reports dating back to 1987 – finds a pattern of rising support since the mid-1990s for government action to help disadvantaged Americans. More Americans believe that the government has a responsibility to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves, and that it should help more needy people even if it means going deeper into debt.

"These attitudes have undergone a major change since 1994, when the Republicans won control of Congress. In particular, 54% say the government should help more needy people, even if it adds to the nation's debt, up from just 41% in 1994. All party groups are now more supportive of government aid to the poor, though Republicans remain much less supportive than Democrats or independents if it means adding to the deficit.

"Despite these favorable shifts in support for more government help for the poor, 69% agree that 'poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.' Still, the number in agreement has been declining over the past decade.

"More broadly, the poll finds that money worries are rising. More than four-in-ten (44%) say they 'don't have enough money to make ends meet, up from 35% in 2002. While a majority continues to say they are "pretty well satisfied" with their personal financial situation, that number is lower than it has been in more than a decade.

"In addition, an increasing number of Americans subscribe to the sentiment 'today it's really true that the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.' Currently, 73% concur with that sentiment, up from 65% five years ago. Growing concerns about income inequality are most apparent among affluent Americans; large percentages of lower-income people have long held this opinion."


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