The Wall Street Journal published a poll this week in conjunction with NBC that found, among other things, 76 percent of respondents did not feel confident that their children’s generation will have a better life than they. That’s up from 60 percent in 2007. We’re jaded—which, in a nation built by immigrants striving to better their families’ fortunes, seems somehow wrong.
A CBS and New York Times poll cited in a Gallup compilation shows a peak in American optimism in December of 2001. Seventy-one percent of respondents believed in a brighter future for the next generation, despite the burst of the dot-com bubble and the attacks on the Twin Towers. When the world was at its worst, we felt up to the task of putting the pieces back together, united by a common enemy and a kind of renewed patriotism