Past more comforting than future for many: poll

Mon Aug 2, 2010 3:50pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Most Americans think the quality of life for adults under 30 years old, or Generation Y, won't be as good as it is for their baby-boomer parents, according to a new poll.

More than 60 percent of people were pessimistic about the future, and 71 percent of young Americans under 30 said they would rather go back in time than leap to the future.

"It's interesting how strongly people feel things are getting worse, and how strongly people are backward looking," said Michael Hogan, 35, executive online editor at Vanity Fair which conducted the survey with CBS News.

"This is a time of high unemployment, people coming out of school with very few job prospects. The past probably seems more comforting," he added.

Although the past may seem appealing for young Americans, only 50 percent of seniors over 65 said they wanted to travel back in time.

The nationwide poll of 1,167 adults, which included questions about culture, lifestyle and politics, also revealed that if given the choice to take anything with them to the afterlife, 25 percent would take a pet, 47 percent would opt for a photo album but only nine percent wanted to take an iPhone or a Blackberry.

"The idea is to ask questions a little more thought-provoking , more provocative, but using scientific polling methods" said Hogan. "We're trying to pin down the national mood."

Despite romancing the past, people believe in rewarding the forward-minded. Thirty-three percent of those polled believe Internet entrepreneurs are most deserving of their large salaries, followed by 15 percent for sports stars and 12 percent for bankers.

Only eight percent felt movie stars should get the dollars they do.

And despite a recent trip to the United States, more than three-quarters of people questioned could not identity David Cameron as the prime minister of Great Britain. Twenty seven percent might have confused him with "Avatar" director James Cameron when they thought he was a movie director.

The full results of the poll, which are published in Vanity Fair, can be found on 60MINUTES.com and VF.com.