Political labels: Are you financially stressed but upbeat?

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0512_financially_stressed_Americans_upbeat_and_looking_to_government.jpgMeet the New Coalition Democrats, a financially stressed but upbeat group in our political landscape. This is one of several groups the Pew Research Center identified in their recent poll.

If you’re financially stressed, what’s there to be upbeat about? Members of this group, who favor Democrats, have an optimistic view of the world. They believe in the nation’s ability to solve problems. They believe in the individual’s ability to get ahead through hard work. For this group, financial difficulties are just a temporary setback.

Demographically, this group is diverse, about equally split between whites, blacks, and Latinos. Just more than half have a high school education. Half volunteer regularly for charity or nonprofit work. Only one in four listens to National Public Radio.

New Coalition Democrats are a religious group. Nine of ten say that religion is very important in their lives. They are also pro-government. Three of four say that  government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public. About 65% would prefer a bigger government with more services.

New Coalition Democrats are different from another financially stressed group who also tend to support Democrats. These are what Pew calls the Hard-Pressed Democrats. They are not upbeat about the nation’s ability or the individual’s ability to solve problems and get ahead. They are critical of government, thinking it is almost always wasteful and inefficient. But a majority of them also believe the government should do more to help Americans in need, even if that means taking on more federal debt.

Most of us feel financial pressure, if not outright stress, brought on by the prolonged economic recession. But, consider these questions …

How are you reacting to financial stress?

Do you identify with one of these groups?

What should government do to help? Provide services? Set regulations?

(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

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