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PND Poll (Jan. 8 - 15, 2008) -- Results

January 16, 2008

As this historic presidential election season rolls along, I thought you might be interested in the results of last week's (admittedly unscientific) PND Poll:

What is the biggest obstacle to success in American society? [258 votes total]

  • Gender (8) -- 3%
  • Race (33) -- 13%
  • Education (112) -- 43%
  • Class (61) -- 24%
  • Other (44) -- 17%

Most would probably agree that the low vote total received by Race (13 percent) and Gender (3 percent) is surprising -- or maybe it isn't. Maybe Americans, especially those of us who work in the charitable sector, really do believe the country is more tolerant and committed to equal opportunity for all than it ever has been. Certainly, our workplaces and the increasingly diverse composition of those assuming leadership roles in the sector would support that thesis.

Nor does it surprise me that Education (43 percent) received as many votes as it did. The crisis in public education has been on most people's radar since the mid-80s, and today concerns about America's ability to compete -- and create good jobs -- in a global economy clearly are driving voters to reject the status quo and opt for "change." Indeed, a new report from the National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, underscores those concerns.

But what about Other, which received 17 percent of the total votes in the poll? What could possibly be a bigger obstacle to success in American society than education, class, race, or gender? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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Posted by Jamie  |   January 16, 2008 at 02:04 PM

I would consider Education to actually be a function of class. Even though there are opportunities available for people of lower class...the type and level of education you are able to achieve is often dependent on money, what is modeled by others in your social class, physical location...and money.

Posted by Matt  |   January 17, 2008 at 08:21 AM

I'd consider "poverty" an other, but it may also be an umbrella term that includes education and race and class. I'm still struck by the level of poverty that was exposed by Hurricane Katrina, and I don't believe the situation has been improved. Moreover, the growing disparity between the very rich and the very poor augurs a potentially frightening future. While we may all be created equal here in America, we certainly don't seem to stay that way.

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