World-renowned pollster John Zogby came back for his second visit to the UR campus on Wednesday, Sept. 24. In front of the packed Welles-Brown Room in Rush Rhees Library, the best-selling author discussed his new book, the upcoming presidential election and the changes that are, in his opinion, overtaking America. His book, ‘The Way We’ll Be: The John Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream,” uses decades of polling results to conclude that Americans are becoming less materialistic, more creative and more global.
Zogby claims his prediction is an upbeat one which is based on data from his many polls. He stated that more and more Americans today see the American dream as spiritual. The dream is no longer to move from the city to the suburbs; it is now to create a life that is personally fulfilling.
People who have lost their industrial jobs were angry, but they have gotten over the loss. They figured out what they believe really matters in life. Zogby characterized the baby-boomer generation as one that is truly fronting this transformation. They realize that they have 25 to 35 more years left, so they coach, teach, mentor or travel. According to the Utica, N.Y. native, Americans are coming to grips with globalization and the limits it imposes. They are ready to sacrifice for a larger cause.
Zogby discussed the 18-to-29-year-old age bracket, an age group which was relevant to the mostly student audience.
His company’s research has found that 56 percent of these individuals have passports, not just the college students or the elite.
People engage in international social networking, and they are more likely to identify themselves as citizens of the globe before identifying themselves as citizens of the United States.
They also do not view American culture as superior to other cultures.
Contrasting all this optimism, however, were Zogby’s views of institutions, which he says are not transforming like individuals are.
Zogby used the example of Hurricane Katrina, which highlighted an institutional failure that, in Zogby’s eyes, was more important now than was Sept. 11, 2001.
As for the election, Zogby, who has accurately predicted the winners in the last three presidential elections, would not reveal his forecast for 2008.
He did say, however, that it would be a landslide victory and the world will know the winner soon after Election Day. Zogby believed that the economy will be a number one issue.
He also explained that for Senator Barack Obama to win, his leadership ability and intelligence will not suffice. He will have to connect with voters on a personal level.
So far, Zogby says many Americans feel detatched from Obama’s story. This is because Obama’s story is so unique. It is different than that of the average American citizen’s.
On the other hand, according to Zogby, Senator John McCain’s story is clear. McCain gets the upper hand in this arena, as Obama’s story is not as clear.
McCain’s decision to choose Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running mate was also touched upon.
Zogby saw the decision as McCain’s way of restoring his campaign’s conservative nature, and that she is a woman did not matter in the campaign’s casting Palin as its vice-presidential pick.
Attracting laughter from the audience, Zogby did say that no matter who is elected, neither candidate will know what to do.
Zogby visited UR last April to discuss the ’08 elections even before the party nominees were known.
The room was equally crowded at that time, when Zogby analyzed the upcoming Pennsylvania Democratic primary and discussed the elections as a whole in front of the full audience.
He has polled for major media publications, such as the Democrat and Chronicle, the New York Post, Fox News, the Albany Times Union, the Buffalo News, the Syracuse Herald, and many other newspapers.
Walsh is a member of the class of 2012.