Matt HealeyThursday,24 October 2013

The Snap:

It has now been more than a week since I put the survey into the field. The response was moderate. I was able to get enough responses to learn something about my readers and some directional information about why my readers think we are on the wrong track.

The Download:

So let’s start with the reader base since that will help explain some of the results. My readers are rich, urban, liberals or independents who care most about domestic economic policy. A little over 45% identified themselves as Democrats – either liberal or centrist and the same percentage identified themselves as Independents. 40% lived in a big city, 40% in a suburb, and 20% in a small city. I have no one who lived in a small town. 30% said they were wealthy, 30% solidly middle class, 20% well off but not rich and 15% lower middle class. 75% cared most about domestic economic policy and 25% cared about domestic social policy. No one cared most about foreign policy.

Now onto the substantive questions. The most interesting question to me was:

What are you most concerned about right now (Please rank the top three)?

– Paying my current bills
– If I lose my job I will not be able to find another one
– Deterioration of traditional values
– That my children (Or the next generation) will not have a better life than I did
– A medical situation could bankrupt me
– Saving for retirement
– Government intrusion into my life
– How America and Americans are viewed by the rest of the world
– My children (Or the next generation) are getting a substandard education

The reason for this is there was no dominant answer. The concerns are all over the place. No choice was selected by more 50% of the respondents. The most common top concern was “Government intrusion into my life” with a little less than 30% of respondents. My children (Or the next generation) are getting a substandard education was most often selected in the top 3 with almost 50% of respondents. So there is no one big problem facing the country according to my limited sample.

In terms of the past vs. the future, in general the respondents thought that the 1950s were a better decade than the 2050s will be by a 60-40 margin. That surprised me as I figured the future would be considered to be better than the past.

Most of the respondents thought we started down the wrong track before November 2004. So it appears that we have been heading down the wrong track for a while now. I suspect that given how divisive W was, that is not surprising, especially since my readers are rich, urban, liberals/independents.

In terms of why we are on the wrong track there was much more agreement. Over half thought the top reason was “Corporations and special interest groups are too powerful.” This was also the most common answer for any of the top 3 reasons we are on the wrong track with over 70% of respondents selecting it in the top 3. The other popular reason was “Congressional districts are too gerrymandered” with approximately 60% of respondents selecting it in the top 3 reasons we are on the wrong track.

The most pressing problem facing the country according to rich liberal urbanites was political polarization with approximately 70% indicating it was the top problem facing the U.S. This makes sense given the feeling that the congressional districts are too gerrymandered.  The second most pressing problem was “The cost of long term entitlement programs like social security and medicare.”

From the agree/disagree statements we found the following. Most people agree that technology is a positive force, strongly disagree that a strong moral code based on biblical principles is essential, agree that if you work hard you will succeed, agree that the purpose of education is to teach children how to think, disagree that the government does more harm than good when they try to help people, neither agree or disagree that big cities represent the real America, and the disagree that government regulation is always a bad thing.

I am not sure what the key takeaways are, but since I set up the survey, I thought I should publish the results. Maybe I will do more thinking about it and revisit the results later. I am keeping the survey open though so you can still visit and fill it out.

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