Latest Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Finds Millennials Hard-Hit by Downturn and Concerned About Future

Overall Attitudes Toward President Obama Remain at January's Lower Levels

May 12, 2010, 08:00 ET from Allstate Corporation

WASHINGTON, May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- "Millennial" Americans are hard-hit by the economic downturn and seek stability, according to the fifth Heartland Monitor Poll—the latest survey on middle class attitudes about the economy, government and the future sponsored by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal.

For the first time, the Heartland Monitor explored in depth the concerns of the 92 million members of the Millennial generation ages 18 to 29 through a separate online survey.

"The economy may show signs of recovery, but American confidence is not," said Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate chairman, president and chief executive officer. "While most Millennials have been able to make ends meet, they are having a hard time managing debt and saving for the future. Business, government and educators need to come together to help these young people achieve financial fitness and the American Dream of a life better than that of their parents."

The Millennials experience financial hurdles—with 39 percent regularly receiving support from parents or other relatives to meet their ordinary expenses, and 33 percent currently living with relatives. Only 16 percent say they can live comfortably and save an adequate amount, and fully 32 percent say they "find it hard to make ends meet every month." While the federal deficit approaches $13 trillion, individually Millennials carry an average personal debt burden of $21,900.

Although 42 percent of Millennials agree that a four-year degree is a ticket to the middle class, 55 percent say they could perform their job responsibilities just as well had they not obtained as much education. Forty-six percent say a four-year college degree is an economic burden. Of those respondents who did not pursue a four-year college degree, 26 percent say they cannot afford it and 16 percent say it is not worth the cost or worth getting into debt.

While President Obama carried 66 percent of the Millennial vote in 2008, the poll finds the recession has slightly dented that enthusiasm. In the poll, Obama's job approval rating among Millennials stands at 56 percent, with 46 percent saying they would vote to re-elect him. Forty-four percent believe his policies averted an even worse economic crisis, and 46 percent believe the recently-signed healthcare bill is a good thing for the country. Forty-five percent favor a left-leaning agenda of investment in infrastructure, education and research, and just one-fourth believe the country is worse off because of Obama's policies.

Looking toward their own futures, the Millennials seek stability in employment and finances. Fifty-five percent say their goal is long-term employment with a single employer, and almost half express interest in the historically-stable employment options of large companies, government, education and the military. When asked to rank their most important workplace priorities, job security was number one, slightly ahead of high pay. Given a hypothetical $100 to invest, Millennials preferred saving in a bank or paying down debt to buying a home or investing in the stock market.

"Buffeted by this tempestuous economy, many Millennials are urgently seeking shelter from the storm. Their generation is renowned for placing a high priority on personal expression, making a difference in society, and accumulating fulfilling experiences—and those instincts still resonate through the poll," writes Atlantic Media Political Director Ronald Brownstein. "But across a wide range of economic choices, the survey finds that the ferocity of the recession has left this generation with a powerful craving for certainty. Millennials would much rather stockpile savings in a bank or pay down debt than invest in the stock market. Even more striking is that they clearly prefer stability with one employer to the opportunity to frequently change jobs."

In addition to the online survey of young adults, the Heartland Monitor today also released the results of a national telephone survey of Americans age 18 and above focusing on President Obama's performance and assessments of the national economy. Although the economy may be thawing, the overall public assessment of President Obama's performance remains frozen when compared to the last Heartland Poll in January. The latest survey finds only 39 percent would vote for him if the 2012 election were held today, with 50 percent voting for another candidate—identical to January's result. Forty-eight percent approve of his job performance while 46 percent disapprove— mirroring the January result of 47 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

The nation remains closely divided in assessing the impact of the President's domestic initiatives. Forty-six percent of respondents feel his economic policies have run up a record deficit while failing to end the recession or slow the pace of job losses, while 42 percent say they helped avoid an even worse crisis. Only 11 percent say the country is significantly better off because of his policies, with 46 percent responding that although it isn't "better off yet," it is "beginning to move in the right direction."

Notes to Editors

Survey Methodology

The fifth installment of the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FD on April 22-26, 2010. A sample of 1,200 American adults was surveyed by telephone, and questions asked of the full sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. At the same time, 1,021 adults age 18 to 29 were surveyed online, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. The margin of error on other questions varied based on the size of the subsample.

About Allstate

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®” slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via and 1-800 Allstate®. For an overview of the other Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls, visit

About National Journal Group

Since 1969, National Journal Group has provided insight for insiders through nonpartisan reporting on current political and policy issues as well as tools professionals need to do their jobs well. National Journal Group properties include National Journal, CongressDaily,, The Hotline, The Almanac of American Politics and Global Security Newswire. It partners with WETA to produce "Washington Week With Gwen Ifill and National Journal."

About FD

One of the most highly regarded consultancies in the communications industry, FD employs more than 750 staff and advises more than 1,000 clients worldwide through its hub offices in London and New York, as well as its network of wholly owned offices in Bahrain, Beijing, Bogota, Boston, Brussels, Cape Town, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Moscow, Panama City, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney and Washington, DC. With a 20- year history of advising clients in both the private and public sectors, FD's services include financial public relations, capital markets communications, public affairs, crisis and issues management and corporate, business-to-business and business-to- consumer communications. FD is also a market leader in M&A advisory work. FD is structured around specialist sector teams operating on an international basis, covering consumer industries, financial services, basic industries, business services, life sciences & healthcare, media, real estate, technology and telecommunications. FD is a division of FTI Consulting Inc. (NYSE: FCN), the global business advisory firm. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Allstate Corporation