Allstate, National Journal Release Inaugural Heartland Monitor Poll; Findings Reflect Middle America's Perceptions of Financial Risk and Recovery
Survey shows Americans believe they face more financial risks than their parents' generations and that financial security is based more on their own actions than government programs
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal today unveiled the first installment of the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor, a series of four surveys conducted by FD, a leading international strategic communications consultancy, which details how average Americans are navigating personal financial matters and where they look for help in doing so.
Presenting the survey's findings today at National Journal Group's headquarters at The Watergate in Washington, D.C., were Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of Allstate; Ronald Brownstein, political director of Atlantic Media Company; and Edward J. Reilly, CEO of FD Americas. The Heartland Monitor poll follows the frequently cited Allstate-National Journal Battleground States poll released in fall 2008.
This first installment of the Heartland Monitor focused on how Americans manage and assess the financial risks they face in their everyday lives, including buying a home, saving for retirement, affording health care, accumulating assets and maintaining a reliable income.
"As part of society, businesses like Allstate have a responsibility to take a leadership role on key issues that are important to a healthy, successful America," Wilson said. "We believe that dialogue about these survey results can prompt government and the private sector to create innovative solutions that help everyday Americans better manage their risks, create more secure futures, and successfully navigate this difficult period in our nation's economy."
Among its most significant findings, the Heartland Monitor illustrated that 64 percent of Americans feel today's economy presents more risks than their parents faced at the same age. This attitude prevailed across all socioeconomic levels. The survey also found that most Americans view their own situations better than that of their peers - 56 percent said they were doing a good or excellent job of managing economic risks and opportunities, while 54 percent rated the abilities of most Americans to manage economic and financial risks and opportunities as merely fair.
The survey results also revealed attitudes destined to raise eyebrows and perhaps inspire caution among political and business leaders.
Pluralities of those surveyed said their own actions would best ensure the ability of themselves and most Americans to afford health care and save for retirement. Respondents were equally split on whether corporate leaders and businesses or political leaders and government will offer the best ideas and solutions, with both options garnering support from 40 percent of respondents.
"While many Americans are looking to government to provide a more comprehensive safety net, on most questions, an even larger number places the most emphasis on personal initiative," Brownstein said. "In the same vein, even amid the sharpest downturn in 75 years, a majority of those surveyed believe their own actions have more influence on their economic fate than events out of their control, like trends in the economy and the stock market. The survey shows striking variations in attitudes based on the extent to which Americans have actually experienced economic reversal, with those that have been the most exposed being most supportive of an enhanced government role."
The Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FD on April 8-14, 2009. Results are from a sample of 1,200 American adults. Questions asked of the full sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. Questions asked of a half sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percent.
Video of the release of the poll results is available online at NextGenWeb.org. Full results also are available at NationalJournal.com.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help individuals in approximately 17 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through approximately 14,700 exclusive Allstate agencies and financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. Encompass® Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. The Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker-dealers. Customers can also access information about Allstate Financial Group products and services at myallstatefinancial.com.
About National Journal Group
National Journal Group is the leading source of nonpartisan reporting on the current political environment and emerging policy trends. Its print, online and broadcast properties include National Journal, CongressDaily, The Hotline, NationalJournal.com, The Capital Source, The Almanac of American Politics, and "Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal."
One of the most highly regarded consultancies in the communications industry, FD employs more than 750 staff and advises more than 1000 clients worldwide through its hub offices in London and New York, as well as its network of wholly-owned offices in Bahrain, Beijing, Bogota, Boston, Brussels, Cape Town, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Moscow, Panama City, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney and Washington, DC. With a 20 year history of advising clients in both the private and public sectors, FD's services include financial public relations, capital markets communications, public affairs, crisis and issues management and corporate, business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications. FD is also a market leader in M&A advisory work. FD is structured around specialist sector teams operating on an international basis, covering consumer industries, financial services, basic industries, business services, life sciences & healthcare, media, real estate, technology and telecommunications. FD is a division of FTI Consulting Inc. (NYSE: FCN), the global business advisory firm. For more information, please visit www.fd.com.
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Maria Gemskie/Maryellen Thielen