Posts tagged with "Gallup"

The presidency personally affects mood of U.S. population

February 15, 2018

About half of Americans (52%) say “the person who is serving as president” (regardless of whom that happens to be) affects their overall happiness, either “a fair amount” (30%) or “a great deal” (22%), based on findings of a recent Gallup poll of 809 adults nationwide.

At least two-thirds of respondents also believe that the presidency has a major effect on their fundamental attitudes about the nation as a whole and; on a personal level, their standard of living.

On only one aspect—their relationships with other people—do a majority (57%) say that they are affected only a little (24%) or not at all (33%).

More than four in 10 apply the strongest descriptor—a great deal—in describing the effect that the president has on their optimism about the nation’s future (45%). In fact, 40% say their confidence in the U.S. economy is affected a great deal, and 37% say the presidency greatly affects their satisfaction with the way things are going in the country.

On aspects of their personal lives, 35% say their confidence in maintaining or improving their standard of living is affected a great deal.

The presidency also has a relatively strong effect on Americans’ engagement with public affairs. Forty-five percent say the person serving as president affects their interest in current events a great deal; while 23% say a fair amount; 21%, only a little;and 10%, not at all.

There are few significant differences among major demographic groups — gender, education, political party affiliation — regarding people’s self-reports of the presidency’s effects. But there are differences by income and by attitudes about Trump in particular.
Looking at our current president, although Americans on both sides of the political aisle may have strong opinions of Trump, those who approve of the job he is doing are more likely than those who disapprove to say that the presidency affects them.
The largest gap between the two groups is related to confidence in the economy: 54% of those who approve versus 33% of those who disapprove say the presidency greatly affects that aspect of their lives.

Number of conservative-leaning states drops from 44 to 39

February 13, 2018

While all 50 states were right-leaning as recently as 2010, the number of net-conservative states had dropped to 44 by 2016 and had decreased even further, to 39, by 2017, polling results released on February 6 by Gallup reveal.

The poll, which was conducted among some 180,000 adults nationwide, found that, last year, Rhode Island, California, Oregon, Maryland and Washington State all scored as net-liberal for the first time.

Connecticut and New York also have been left-leaning for at least the past two years. And since 2013, Vermont and Massachusetts consistently have had more liberal than conservative self-identifiers.

Gallup measures political ideology by asking respondents whether their political views are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal or very liberal. Nationally, in 2017, a combined 35% of adults identified themselves as conservative and 26% as liberal, resulting in a nine-percentage-point conservative advantage. This was down from 11 points from 2016; as well as 15 points from 2008—and 19 points from 1992, Gallup’s baseline year for this measure.

With another 35% of Americans identifying as politically “moderate,” neither liberals nor conservatives dominate in any state. Rather, these are minority-sized groups that affect the ideological balance of each state at the margins.

In line with the drop in conservative-leaning states, net-conservative scores have declined in all but four states since 2008— the first year Gallup produced state-level estimates. The three exceptions where net-conservatism has increased are Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana; Kansas remains the same.

Eight states have seen declines of at least 10 points in net conservatism since 2008: Georgia, California, Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Delaware.

Wyoming in 2017 was the most politically conservative state in the nation for the second consecutive year. Forty-six percent of Wyoming residents identified as conservative and 13% as liberal, yielding a net-conservative score of +33. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and Massachusetts were the least conservative states, with liberals outnumbering conservatives by double-digit margins.


If 40l(k)s were not tax-deferred, workers would stash away less

January 25, 2018

Better “save” than sorry? Forty-six percent of Americans who are still in the workforce say they would “save less” or “stop saving” entirely if their 401(k) plan’s tax-deferred status were taken away, according to findings of a  Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index updated in mid-December.

The Internal Revenue Service reports that 401(k) plans are the most popular type of retirement program used today by working Americans. A 401(k) allows employees to contribute a portion of their wages to individual accounts, with the stipulations that:

  • Elective salary deferrals are excluded from the employee’s taxable income (except for designated Roth deferrals).
  • Employers can contribute to employees’ accounts.
  • Distributions, including earnings, can be part of taxable income at retirement (except for qualified distributions of designated Roth accounts).

Three-quarters of non-retired investors who responded to the survey have a 401(k) plan, and more than half – 57% – say the most valued feature of their plan is the “match contribution from their employer,” the study found.

The next-most-valued feature is the tax deferral on the money they contribute, which was noted by 33% of the 1,015 U.S. investors (67% of whom already are retired) who were interviewed by telephone for the report

Of those, 42% said they would “save the same amount”—tax-advantaged or not.

“The 401(k) plan has evolved into the greatest savings and investment vehicle that Americans have today to steadily build a retirement nest egg,” stated Fredrik Axsater, executive vice president and head of Strategic Business Segments at Wells Fargo Asset Management.

According to the poll, 72% of investors are “somewhat” or “very optimistic” that they will be able to achieve their investment goals over the next five years,—up from 52% of investors during the same quarter five years ago.

Nearly all non-retired investors — 98% — “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that “it is important to have a guaranteed income stream in retirement, in addition to Social Security,” and yet there is confusion about how to get this additional income stream.

Six in ten (61 percent) either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they want a guaranteed monthly income stream that lasts as long as they need it, even if that means “giving up access to some of their money.”

But at the same time, 75% of non-retired investors either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they want the freedom to spend their money as they want in retirement, even if that means they may run out of money “too soon.”

Indeed, more than half of non-retired investors (53%) have a savings “number” in mind for retirement, but 47% do not.

Interestingly enough, investors who say they need to save a target of $1 million or more expect to draw 5% per year from their accounts, on average; while those who say they need to save less than $1 million expect to draw an average of 7% annually. The latter group is aiming to save less but to withdraw a larger proportion per year in retirement.

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College students fear flubbing real-world careers

January 24, 2018

There is a crisis of confidence among American college-level students about whether their education will enable them to launch a career, based on polling results released on January 17 by Gallup and Strada Education Network.

In fact, the poll of more than 32,000 students at 43 randomly selected four-year institutions nationwide found that only one-third (34%) of students believe that they will graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the job market, as well as in the workplace (36%).

Just half (53%) think that the major they have chosen will lead to a good job.

Indeed, the 2017 College Student Survey found that most students don’t think that they have the real-world skills to climb any corporate ladder.

“Higher education’s promise of social mobility hinges on students graduating with confidence, purpose and the skills needed to land their first job,” stated Strada CEO William Hansen. “Students are telling us they feel underprepared to enter the workforce, while employers bemoan the skills of recent graduates. That signals demand for new career advising and work-relevant learning models that support more successful transitions from education to employment.”

Among the other key findings of the report are the following:

  • Student confidence differs across majors. Students pursuing science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degrees have developed the most confidence about their job prospects, with 62% strongly agreeing that their major will lead to a good job; compared with 40% of liberal arts majors, 51% of business majors, and 58% of those in public service majors such as education, social work and criminal justice.
  • Nearly four in 10 students have never used their school’s career services resources. Overall, 39% of students have never visited their school’s career services office or used their online resources, including more than one-third of seniors.
  • Career services and advisors are helpful for minority, first generation and older students. Black, Hispanic, first-generation and older students are all far more likely to rate the guidance they received from their career services office and academic advisors as very helpful.

“Students aren’t prepared for work— and they know it,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director, Education & Workforce Development at Gallup. “The fact that 88% of freshman say, ‘getting a good job’ is the reason [why] they go to college, yet only a third strongly agree they are getting the skills and knowledge they need to succeed is a mandate to improve how institutions approach everything from their academic curriculum to advising.”

The Strada-Gallup College Student Survey is the latest addition to a growing portfolio of Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Insights. Since June 2016, Gallup has interviewed nearly 250,000 U.S. adults from more than 3,000 postsecondary institutions about their education experiences, decisions and outcomes.


Norway gives thumbs-down to Trump administration

January 22, 2018

During President Donald Trump’s first year in office, the number of nations and territories where majorities of the population disapproved of U.S. leadership more than tripled—from 15 in 2016 to a record 53 in 2017—based on findings of a Gallup poll of 1,000 adults in each country released on January 19.

Interestingly enough, the people of Norway—whom Trump recently said would be among the most welcome immigrants to America—have the lowest opinion of U.S. leadership, at 83% disapproval.

Indeed, during the past year, Norwegians disapproved more strongly of U.S. leadership than they did of the ruling class of China (66%) or of Russia (78%)—a country that Norway has generally considered its top security threat

While Gallup’s Rating World Leaders: 2018 report finds disapproval of U.S. leadership in Pakistan and the Palestinian Territories remaining high year after year, many countries with typically warm relations with America ranked among its toughest critics in 2017.

Among the 15 countries with the highest levels of disapproval in 2017 were Western nations and close allies, including Canada, Mexico, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands.

On the campaign trail, Trump first set off alarm bells among longtime European allies when he referred to NATO as “obsolete,” Gallup notes. While the president later affirmed that he no longer viewed NATO as passé, relations between the new U.S. administration and U.S. allies have continued to deteriorate; as they continue to disagree with President Trump on issues such as the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear agreement and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Until the president’s comments about nixing immigration from “s**thole countries” went viral, support for U.S. leadership remained consistently higher among African countries than those in other regions.

At the time of the survey—conducted between March and November 2017— Africa was home to 11 of the 15 countries most likely to approve of U.S. leadership in 2017. At least two in three adults give their approval in Guinea (71%), Togo (70%), Central African Republic (68%) and Ghana (66%).

In Israel, approval of U.S. leadership has been relatively high since Gallup began asking about it in 2006 but experienced a significant jump in 2017, increasing from 53% to 67%. Polling in Israel was completed before the U.S. announcement to move its embassy to Jerusalem. However, Trump’s campaign promise that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the need to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal may have found support among some Israelis.

Based on the data, Gallup believes, “The presence of many Western and allied countries among those most disapproving of the U.S. is a practical concern. In the post-World War II era, the U.S. has leaned on its many powerful partners to assist it in affecting issues beyond its borders time and again. Large declines in the image of U.S. leadership among traditional allies could threaten the country’s ability to mobilize its most reliable partners needed in the pursuit of its foreign policy objectives.”


AG’s marijuana ‘Prohibition’ exposes GOP to 2018 backlash

January 8, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that he intends to “return to the rule of law,” starting a new era of 1920s-type Prohibition in the United States—this time, for marijuana rather than alcoholic beverages.

While the ban would not be mandatory—Sessions would allow federal prosecutors in areas where marijuana already is legal to decide how aggressively to enforce it—the intention is clear.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, plainly said at an April 2016 hearing: “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

That may be what he believes, but U.S. citizens and their legislators are not happy about it. Indeed, pot legalization has been very popular nationwide: 64% percent of Americans favor it, based on results of an October 2017 Gallup poll.

“Sessions’s move just adds another weight to the ankles of vulnerable House Republicans in places like California and Colorado,” Brian Fallon, a former spokesperson for the Senate Democratic leadership and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, told Bloomberg this week. “Given the support for decriminalization across political parties, and especially among young voters, this was an issue that progressives already should have been considering for state ballot measures. That is even truer now.”

Gardner—who doesn’t face re-election until 2020—has vowed to block Justice Department nominees from being confirmed unless Sessions reverses course, Bloomberg reports.

The question for Republicans is whether pushing back publicly will fuel Democratic opponents’ criticism during the upcoming, fiercely competitive midterm campaign.

The issue looms large in Colorado, Nevada and California, which legalized marijuana and where several congressional Republicans, including California Representative Dana Rohrabacher (48th District) , already are facing tough re-election battles.

“This is a freedom issue,” Rohrabacher said in a January 4 conference call with reporters, calling for a change in federal law to protect legal marijuana in states. “I think Jeff Sessions has forgotten about the Constitution and the 10th Amendment,” which gives powers to the states.

“By taking this benighted minority position, [Sessions] actually places Republicans’ electoral fortunes in jeopardy,” Rohrabacher said in a statement later Thursday.

The question for Republicans is whether whatever they choose to do now will fuel Democratic opponents’ criticism during the upcoming, fiercely competitive midterm campaign.

“It’s time for anyone who cares about this issue to mobilize and push back strongly against this decision,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon (3rd District), a Democrat who is co-chairman of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Research contact: @sahilkapur

62% of U.S. adults took some R&R in 2017

January 8, 2018

When was the last time you got some rest and relaxation away from home? Sixty-two percent of Americans reported taking a remote vacation—as opposed to a “staycation”— during the past year, based on results of a poll released by Gallup on January 3.

That represents fewer sojourners than the number Gallup documented (70%) in 2001, but about the same percentage as the pollsters reported (64%) in 2005.

The latest figures are from a poll conducted in early December, which also asked about Americans’ intentions to take vacation time over the holidays. In contrast to the decline in the percentage of Americans who say they took a vacation in the past year, Americans were more likely this past December than in 2000 to say they planned to take vacation time over the holidays.

This holiday season, 43% of U.S. workers said they planned to take a vacation during the holidays and, of that group, roughly half—or 21% of all workers—said they would completely disconnect from work. Conversely, 22% of workers said they intended to take a vacation, but would check in with work via email or other means.

It is little surprise that employment status is a major factor in Americans’ vacation habits. Nearly seven in 10 employed Americans (69%) reported having taken a vacation, while slightly more than half of those who are not employed (55%) reported having taken such trips.

It turns out that socioeconomic status is a major factor in vacation planning:  Fully 82% of U.S. adults with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more say they took a vacation away from home over the past year. Among Americans whose household income was less than $30,000, slightly more than one-third (37%) reported having taken a vacation.

Marital status also affects vacation planning: While 70% of married U.S. adults took a vacation during this past year, only 54% of unmarried adults did the same. Americans with children under 18 (65%) were slightly more likely than those without children under 18 (60%) to report having taken a vacation

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted among a random sample of 1,049 adults.


U.S. consumer confidence in banks is below average

January 3, 2017

Consumer confidence in banks increased slightly in 2017. But still, only 32% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in banks, based on poll results released by Gallup on January 2.

That 32% of Americans represents a mere five-percentage-point increase from 2016—and an 11-point increase from the 38-year low recorded during the Great Recession (2007-2009).

However, the current level is relatively low for banks, historically, and below the average confidence level for all institutions.

There is a tremendous amount of variation in industry trust depending on a customer’s primary bank.This Gallup Retail Banking study showed an industry-low level of 18% confidence in banks at one financial institution, and a high of 48% confidence at another.

The banks that create high levels of confidence in the overall industry also tend to have much higher levels of customer engagement—a Gallup metric for the psychological and emotional attachment customers have to a company.

If a customer is fully engaged with a bank, he or she is likely to have nearly four times more confidence in the banking industry than would an actively disengaged customer.. Customers do not tend to love their primary bank, but say they “hate banks,” or vice versa.

In many ways, banks are either their own worst enemy, or their own best ally, when it comes to creating confidence in the industry.

When there is low confidence, Gallup says, there can b greater risk for regulation. According to the polling organization’s most recent banking industry study, only 36% of banking customers are fully engaged. Best-in-class is 71%, while the industry low is 13%.

There are ways in which banks can increase customer engagement, Gallup advises. Customers want their bank/banker to help them see their financial potential; to help them understand how their needs may change over time; and to explain how specific products or services integrate with their lifestyles.

However, when even one bank causes controversy, the whole industry can suffer. The pollsters advise that banks should hold each other accountable for:

  • Creating a proactive culture of compliance (with benchmarks and predictive indicators);
  • Aligning their cultures, practices and policies to improve customers’ financial well-being;
  • Publicly owning up to mistakes;
  • Correcting problems, both local and systemic, the first time—even beyond what customers may expect;
  • Committing to radical transparency for fees, terms and policies; and
  • Safeguarding customers’ identities and data.

Establishing a dedicated governing body — similar to bar associations or medical boards — may also inspire more confidence among U.S. adults, Gallup advises..

In doing so, the banking industry would send a clear message to regulators and the public that it is willing to take an honest look in the mirror and get its own house in order.


80% of Americans say they are stressed out

December 26, 2017

When was the last time you felt “like a bundle of nerves”? Yesterday? Ten minutes ago? About 80% of Americans say they frequently (44%) or sometimes (35%) encounter stress in their daily lives, based on results of a poll of 1,49 adults released by Gallup on December 20. Just 17% say they rarely feel stressed, while 4% say they never do.

Americans were asked about their stress and time pressures in poll conducted between December 4 and December 11—prime Christmas shopping season. This is the first time that the study has been updated in a decade, after being asked each December from 2001 through 2007.

Although stress is common, time pressure is not the main culprit, 41% of U.S. adults say. The majority (59%) believe that they do have enough time to accomplish the items on their to-do lists. In fact, slightly fewer respondents today—41% now compared to 44% in 2004—say they lack sufficient time to get things done.

Americans’ current stress level is similar to what Gallup found in 2001, 2002 and 2007, as well as in an earlier measurement in 1994, when 40% felt frequent stress. However, more say they experience stress now than reported this from 2003 through 2006, when between 33% and 38% felt this way.

Age appears to be a major factor, the Gallup pollsters say, in whether one feels stressed and time-pressured. Those  respondents who are 50 and older —particularly those who are 65+—are much less likely to say they feel stress or lack the time they need to get things done.

Predictably enough, respondents with full-time jobs and/or children under 18 were the most likely to feel pressured. And lower-income Americans are shorter on time and higher on stress than middle- and upper-income adults.

Women and men are about equally likely to say they lack sufficient time, but women are more likely to report frequent stress (49% versus 40%, respectively).

Naturally, work and family obligations have a compounding effect, so that working parents are especially likely to feel short on time and stressed. By contrast, those who neither work nor have children are the least likely to feel this way.

In addition, there is a major technological factor that may be alleviating some types of stress, but causing other pressures. Much has changed in the past decade, not the least of which is the proliferation of smartphones, beginning with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. This technology may be providing some efficiencies in people’s lives, such as allowing them to shop more easily from home, do their banking online, keep tabs on work while out of the office, follow the news, and much more — thus enabling them to feel they are getting more done.

However, there has not been an obvious payoff in reduced stress. It’s possible that some aspects of the new technology, such as social media—and the perceived responsibility to be available at all times—are offsetting others in changing how much stress people experience.

Of course, Gallup comments, “Many other aspects of life could factor into how Americans feel about their time and stress, including their jobs, family structure, dining habits, the economy and today’s highly polarized political environment. From that perspective, despite some revolutionary and not-so-revolutionary changes in the past decade, people’s time management and stress haven’t changed too much.”

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America finds a soft spot for Melania

December 18, 2017

First Lady Melania Trump‘s favorability rating has risen 17 percentage points since last January—up to 54%— as she has become better known in her role as first lady, Gallup reported on December 15.

By contrast, the polling organization said, only 41% of American voters say they like her husband; and that’s a stretch: Many other pollsters have the POTUS’s rating in the mid- and low 30s.

In early January, before the president took office, 37% of Americans viewed Melania Trump unfavorably—matching her favorability score—while 26% did not yet have an opinion of her.

Now, in Gallup’s first measure of the First Lady, the percentage with no opinion of her is down to 13%, while her favorability rating is up and her unfavorable rating has dipped slightly to 33%.

Melania Trump’s favorability advantage over Donald Trump in the Dec. 4-11 Gallup poll is consistent with Gallup’s findings that recent first ladies are, on average, more popular than their husbands. This is likely, the pollster said, because a first lady’s role is more ceremonial and, generally, much less divisive than that of the president.

Michelle Obama and Laura Bush outpaced their husbands, holding an average 12-point and 17-point edge in favorability, respectively, over their spouses. Melania Trump’s current 13-point favorability advantage over her husband is roughly in line with those of the last two first ladies. (Hillary Clinton averaged one point lower in favorability than Bill Clinton over the course of his presidency.)

Although Melania Trump’s rating has improved, she still rates behind other first ladies at roughly comparable points in time. Michelle Obama (61%), Laura Bush (77%) and Hillary Clinton (58%) all had higher favorability ratings in the fall of their husband’s first year in office than Melania Trump has now.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted between December 4 and December 11, among a random sample of 1,049 adults, living in all 50 U.S. states.

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