WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal show that seventy percent of Americans desire "major changes" on par with historical social movements, but question whether their collective voices are heard and acted upon by America's leaders. Seventy-one percent of respondents said that Americans can, through their own actions, make at least some difference on issues affecting the country. Americans say the most effective ways to promote change are through volunteering (80 percent), helping to elect a candidate for public office (67 percent), organizing a group of people with similar views (66 percent) and using consumer purchasing power to influence companies (59 percent).
Americans attribute the country's major social achievements such as civil rights and women's suffrage to the efforts of ordinary citizens and grassroots leadership – as opposed to government-led efforts. Against this backdrop, most Americans believe that the best way to make a meaningful and lasting impact on key issues is for citizens to get involved in their communities through individual action and the democratic process.
"Americans have a history of rising up and leading change at the local level to achieve important social progress," said Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of The Allstate Corporation. "This survey shows that a large majority of Americans have a real desire and willingness to come together and act on challenges confronting their communities and the nation. This is a reminder that each one of us has a hand in tomorrow and, together with our fellow citizens, we can drive meaningful change that improves lives and overcomes our collective challenges."
Overall, the 20th installment of the Allstate/ National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll reveals an American public that believes it has the power to bring about change, particularly around civil and social issues. When asked about the issues where average Americans can make the biggest impact:
- 78 percent cited environmental protection
- 74 percent highlighted K-12 education
- 72 percent said civil rights
- 70 percent named crime and domestic violence
- 67 percent donate money to a community organization
- 65 percent volunteer in your community
- 63 percent share your opinions with people you know through email or social networks
- 59 percent make purchases based on a company's business practices and issue positions
- 37 percent attend community meetings or town halls
- 31 percent write or call your elected officials
- 30 percent share your opinions on issues by publicly posting online or in the news media
- 29 percent donate money to a political or issue campaigns
- 20 percent volunteer on political or issue campaigns
- 17 percent attend political rallies
- Most Americans (70 percent) believe the country is on the wrong track on many key issues, including:
- protecting individual privacy (72 percent)
- reducing taxes and government spending (70 percent)
- reducing poverty (66 percent)
- keeping college affordable (61 percent)
- protecting Social Security and Medicare (59 percent)
- President Obama's job approval rests at 41 percent, just a few points above his November 2013 score (38 percent), with just one-in-four (25 percent) saying that the actions being taken by the administration will increase opportunity for people to get ahead. By comparison, Congress is suffering through an 11 percent approval rating.
- Just 27 percent say America is headed in the right direction; 62 percent say wrong track.
- Ninety-five percent of Americans believe change is needed, and a plurality (42 percent) believe that those changes should be led by average Americans. Another 40 percent are split between preferring that changes be led by state and local government (21 percent) or the federal government (19 percent).
- Nearly three-in-five (58 percent) respondents are more concerned about the country than about the world (25 percent), their neighborhood or their local community (15 percent).