Third Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Provides Window On Real-World Impact Of The Recession On Middle Class Americans
Survey finds Americans expect turbulent times ahead and are preparing for new type of economic environment; express lessened confidence in government and financial services sector
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal today announced the results of the third Heartland Monitor poll, a groundbreaking series of surveys conducted by FD that gauges how Americans perceive the post-recession economy, and what role they expect government and business to play in preparing them for future economic uncertainty. This installment in the four-part series examined Americans' thoughts on the impact - both today and in the future - of the ongoing recession.
"Americans continue to believe this recession is a game-changer, causing a lasting impact on how the economy looks and works," said Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Americans from all walks of life have changed their economic expectations and express less confidence in a wide range of public and private institutions. These results emphasize the need for the public and private sector to work together to rebuild trust and ensure middle class Americans have the tools they need to create a more secure future.
"Our goal in sponsoring this series of public surveys is to let the voices of middle class Americans be heard," Wilson added.
The latest survey, fielded nearly two years after the onset of the global economic recession and amidst economic data that indicate the U.S. may be emerging from the recession, finds that Americans are pessimistic about the years ahead. Specifically, 62 percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy will experience more dramatic boom-and-bust cycles than in the past, and 57 percent expect the standard of living for people like them to grow more slowly than in recent decades.
Additionally, the Heartland Monitor found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the way the economy looks and works will be fundamentally different from what it was before the recession. Whether this change is cause for optimism or pessimism has the American public evenly split.
Reflecting on their own lives, 85 percent of Americans say the recession has had at least some impact on their personal financial situations, and 80 percent indicate that they expect to reduce spending in order to make ends meet or provide for greater financial security going forward.
According to survey findings, confidence in several major institutions has dropped off from 12 months ago. The majority of respondents say that they have less confidence in major corporations (58%), national banks (56%), investment banks (61%), and elected officials in Washington (53%).
While less than two-thirds of Americans (31%) trust elected officials in Washington to improve economic security, they are also strongly in favor of government measures to implement lasting regulation of the financial services industry (66%). Further, 57 percent believe that limiting the types of financial products now offered would be effective in helping the economy grow and preventing future downturns. Additionally, 78 percent say they support increases in disclosure requirements on the risks and benefits of such products.
"The results of the third Heartland Monitor poll underscore the strains that average Americans are facing from the sustained recession," said Atlantic Media political director Ronald Brownstein. "While most Americans continue to express a resilient confidence in their personal ability to navigate through tough times, the poll captures a public that is uneasy about the nation's future, distrustful of large institutions and sharply polarized. These results capture both the urgency of building a broad consensus about a path forward that might begin to restore Americans' faith in their institutions - and the enormous difficulty of doing so."
Notes to Editors
The third installment of the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FD on September 24-28, 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. The margin of error on other questions varied based on the size of the subsample.
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 more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.
About National Journal Group
Since 1969, National Journal Group has provided insight for insiders through nonpartisan reporting on current political and policy issues as well as tools professionals need to do their jobs well. National Journal Group properties include National Journal, CongressDaily, NationalJournal.com, The Hotline, The Almanac of American Politics and Global Security Newswire. It partners with WETA to produce "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 1,000 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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