Economically Isolated Americans

One-quarter of Americans hold attitudes that indicate they have a growing frustration with both big government and big business.  These Americans are finding it difficult to get ahead and placing blame on any and all plausible targets.

Executive Summary

The results of an online survey conducted among 1,508 members of the general public were used for an in-depth look at a group of economically isolated Americans.  The key findings of this analysis are as follows:

  • A majority of Americans (52%) believe that the focus of business should be on helping society. However, this statistic may be deceiving as many in this group have other, much less liberal attitudes about economics.
  • One-quarter of Americans can be considered economically isolated meaning they are in the middle class and find it difficult to get ahead despite hard work. This group sees big business and big government both as the enemies and feels like neither group cares about them.
  • Among the economically isolated, frustration with their financial situation drives the negative opinions of big business and big government. Deep down they are unlikely to be anti-capitalism but they have internalized messages from Democratic campaigns against business. In many cases, they think of “business” as one large group but their negative feelings are more tied to large corporations.  The distinction of “small business” is an important one.
  • It is possible to tap into the anti-big business sentiment without being economically liberal. Messages against crony capitalism will be especially effective with Independents and Republicans in the economically isolated group.

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