Zogby: American Attitudes Shifting Away from Material Focus

Americans are increasingly shifting their focus away from wealth accumulation, and looking to find fulfillment in other pursuits, said John Zogby, president & CEO of Zogby International. The widely-quoted pollster was the keynote speaker and master of ceremonies of CPN’s Executive Awards luncheon, held Friday in New York. Zogby (pictured), author of a new book, The Way We’ll Be, said the American Dream still lives, but it is not all about accumulating wealth. “It is about finding fulfillment as a person,” he said. Many Americans have had to readjust their income expectations after losing a job and having to settle for a lower income. But others with higher incomes are also questioning whether more is actually more. They are asking if they really need the latest version of the I-Phone, or  if they really need that 3,000 square foot extension on their house. Zogby said that many Baby Boomers will have to examine what to do with the rest of their lives, as they will be the first generation who will have 1 million of their group live to be 100 years of age. He said that he has found, through his polling, that Americans will make sacrifices. For example, Americans he has polled will recycle waste if they see a larger benefit in it, and if others are also willing to do the same. Zogby expressed the most optimism about the 18 to 29 age group, which he called the “first global generation,” with 56 percent of them having passports. Over 20 percent of this generation, when asked, will say they expect to live in a foreign country at one point in their lives. He said that this acceptance of multiculturalism was a large factor in the strong youth vote for President-elect Barack Obama. On the subject of the new president, Zogby said he believes the new administration will target money to help fortify the treasuries of state governments and for the creation of “green collar” jobs. He also sees the Obama administration allocating money to improve the U.S. infrastructure. “I wouldn’t want to be a Congressman who has to explain that he voted for a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, but voted against money to improve the infrastructure,” he said.