Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

'Experts,' American People View Issues Differently

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

'Experts,' American People View Issues Differently

Article excerpt

Today's new economy has bred insecurity among Americans that neither conservatives nor liberals are addressing adequately, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.

"There is an enormous gulf between the experts who interpret the economy and the people who live it every day, and that gulf impedes developing a national conversation that can address our economic problems," said Lawrence Mishel, EPI president.

The report, "Talking Past Each Other: What Everyday Americans Really Think (and Elites Don't Get) about the Economy," analyzed hundreds of national opinion surveys going back to the early 1990s. Also included are data from The Great Disconnect, compiled from a new survey and focus groups conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Lake Research Partners.

Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation, said the research shows a consistency in Americans' attitudes, and some optimism.

"Even though the specific economic issues that are on people's minds have changed somewhat over time, the general patterns of their attitudes toward economic issues are remarkably consistent over the past 15 years," said Teixeira. "The body of opinion research reveals a public whose views are far from confused or contradictory - rather, they are concerned, yet hopeful."

Teixeira said conservatives have been out of touch by underestimating people's economic pessimism, while liberals underestimate their optimism about their own personal situation.

As an example of the latter, he pointed to research showing that 70 percent of Americans believe they will ultimately achieve the American dream.

"Americans are an aspirational people," Teixeira said.

At the same time, he said, 82 percent said they expect retirement to present difficulties.

Researcher Celinda Lake said people expect reaching the American dream to be more difficult to achieve. …

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