American optimism about the next generation’s future is up seven points since Obama’s last year in office (2016).
According to a recent Gallup poll, about 6 in 10 Americans (61%) say it is very (18%) or somewhat (43%) likely that the next generation will have a better life than did their parents. That’s seven points higher than the last Gallup survey on the issue (June 14-23, 2016), when 54 percent of Americans said that it was very (16%) or somewhat (38%) likely that the next generation would have a better life than their parents did.
The 61 percent mark “is the highest since 2010,” notes Gallup, “but is still not back to the level of 66% measured in February 2008,” when former President Obama got elected.
Prior to 2008, The New York Times and CBS News asked the same question between 1995 and 2003. During that time period, the July 1999 and Dec. 2001 surveys recorded the highest reading, with 71 percent of Americans saying the next generation would live better lives than their parents.
Gallup admits that “Americans are generally feeling optimistic about the direction of the economy, and recent Gallup polling suggests that Americans still think the American dream is alive.” And Gallup seems to attribute the latest trend toward a more optimistic outlook for the next generation on economic outlook, suggesting that “[s]hould the nation's economy worsen, history shows that the public's assessment of opportunities for the next generation will also turn more pessimistic.