PRINCETON, NJ—In poll findings which contradict the notion that traditional American values are dwindling, the Gallup Organization announced Monday that 89 percent of citizens still believe in the possibility of achieving the American dream car within their lifetime.
"Contrary to popular belief, optimism is alive and well in 1999," Gallup spokesman David Feuerstein said. "Our nation has been through some tough times recently, but it's still a country where Mr. and Mrs. Main Street know that with hard work, faith in God and a little luck, they can make their dream car come true."
According to the poll, belief in the American dream car cuts across all demographic boundaries, with Americans of every income level, color and creed expressing "high to very high" faith that they can make the car a reality.
"From the poor inner-city youth who dreams of one day owning a fly hoopty with tinted windows, a rear spoiler and booming bass in the trunk, to the wealthy scion of a Texas oil baron who dreams of a fully loaded Italian sportscar upon his graduation from boarding school, people across this great land still have faith," Feuerstein said. "Now, that poor kid in South Central L.A. may not get all the breaks. He may not ever get an education. He may not ever be rich. And he certainly won't ever be president. But none of these things will keep him from realizing his dream car."
Experts say belief in the dream car is a positive sign at a time when most citizens are working longer hours for less money than ever. Longer workdays, combined with the rising cost of living, have caused most Americans to abandon the aspirations held by previous generations.
"For most Americans, a $400,000 dream home in the suburbs is out of reach. So is a $70,000-a-year dream job," said Dr. William Oberst, professor of American Studies at Georgetown University. "But a $30,000 dream car, well, that's at least somewhat more realistic."
Continued Oberst: "As the nation has grown, the dream car has grown with it, from Henry Ford's little Model A to the classic mid-sized '57 Chevy to today's 7,000-pound GM Suburban. And as America moves into the future, it is with the strong faith that, at least in terms of our automobiles, anything is possible. Our dream cars will only get bigger."
"Some cynics would say that America is no longer the land of opportunity, that we've been stripped of our aspirations," said author and historian John Ambrose. "Well, look into the eyes of someone walking through a BMW showroom, and you'll know that's not true."
According to the poll, the American way of coveting luxury automobiles is unlikely to change anytime soon: Faith in the American dream car, the poll found, runs strongest among America's young people.
"I'm getting a black Toyota 4-Runner as soon as I get out of high school," said Hector Ordonez, 16, a junior at Kingswood High School in Salinas, CA. "And if I can make my dream car come true sooner by dropping out halfway through senior year and working at Burger King, that's what I'll do. Whatever it takes, it's worth it."