While most believe they have either achieved the "American Dream" or are on their way there, many still confess to spending sleepless nights worrying about the future.

36 percent of respondents to a new Pew Research Center poll believe they have achieved the American Dream while another 46 percent believe they are "on the way to achieving it." That's 82 percent who believe their goals are realistic. How is that for optimism?

The Washington Examiner says the results are a sharp contrast to other recent polls. The paper sites a 2014 CNN poll in which 60 percent said the American Dream was unattainable and that their children would not live a better life than them. It also points to a Ripon Society poll from last year in which 70 percent of middle class voters felt the American Dream was out of reach for future generations.

What has happened in a year? Where is all of this renewed optimism coming from?  Could it be the election of Donald Trump? Consumer confidence is sky high and the markets are at record levels. Home values are soaring and unemployment is low.

Another poll indicates that while people are confident about achieving their goals, they are still concerned about the future of this country. 63 percent of those responding to the American Psychological Association's Stress In America Survey report being stressed about the nation's future. 62 percent say money issues keep them awake at night while 61 percent say it's work related.

52 percent of respondents say they were stressed by last year's national elections. 59 percent say the "current social divisiveness" in America causes them stress. But, various policy issues are also causing us to fret. Chief among them, health care followed by the economy and trust in government. By the way, climate change came in at the bottom of the list with only 21 percent saying they lose sleep over it.

We do seem to be living in troubled times. Terrorism, violent crime, corruption at all levels of government and taxes are enough to make us all worry.  Efforts to undermine our elected government and what appears to be a general indifference to that should concern us all as well.

And of course there is the nagging concern about what we'll do when Tom Brady finally does retire.

But, seriously, what keeps you awake at night? And do you believe the American Dream is within reach for you and your children? I'd like to know.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Source information courtesy of Bloomberg.com and The Washington Examiner

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