U.S. Mind and Mood Report

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The new normal in the United States is not anything like it was just a few years ago. Fear and anxiety have replaced confidence and hope when it comes to the economy, and the effects have been felt …

The new normal in the United States is not anything like it was just a few years ago. Fear and anxiety have replaced confidence and hope when it comes to the economy, and the effects have been felt from the family den to the White House. Optimism is out and pessimism is in, with Americans questioning the future of health care, education, jobs and the political direction of the country. In February 2010, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and Euro RSCG Life, the public relations arm and the health-focused communications network of Euro RSCG Worldwide, a leading integrated marketing communications agency, commissioned two surveys to try to gauge the mood of Americans on these hot-button issues and others. One survey questioned people nationwide; the other polled residents of Connecticut. Research partners MicroDialogue deployed the two surveys, with each questioning a random and representative sample of 386 people age 18 and older, then analyzed the data. The resultant “U.S. Mind and Mood” white paper provides a series of snapshots of a nation living in a precarious present.
- April 2010

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  • 1. U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTWHITE PAPER APRIL 2010
  • 2. Note on Reporting: Many questions required responses on a five-point scale. To reflect the overall balance of mind and mood as simply and accurately as possible, this report focuses on the margin of difference between responses at the higher end of the scale (4 and 5) and those at the lower end (1 and 2). If, for example, on a given question, 55 percent of respondents selected scalar 4 or 5, 30 percent selected the neutral midpoint scalar 3 and 15 percent selected scalar 1 or 2, then the net margin would be 40 percent (55 percent minus 15 percent). If only 10 percent selected scalar 4 or 5, 50 percent selected scalar 3 and 40 percent selected scalar 1 or 2, the net margin would be -30 percent (10 percent minus40 percent).
  • 3. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 3 INTRODUCTIONThe past decade has been a time of huge mood swings All these elements have been amplified and fed backand high emotion in the United States. The Sept. 11 through interactive communications in general and socialattacks triggered solidarity, anger and anxiety. The media in particular. These forms of communication haveinvasions of Afghanistan and Iraq turned those been powerful new factors in the mix, both reflecting andfeelings into patriotic go-get-’em determination and contributing to the current mind and mood of the nation.helped President George W. Bush win a second termin November 2004. The enthusiasm has cooled as Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and Euro RSCG Life, the publicAmericans continue to face the financial and human relations arm and the health-focused communicationscosts of the drawn-out conflicts. network of Euro RSCG Worldwide, a leading integrated marketing communications agency, commissioned a MindThe “irrational exuberance” identified by former and Mood survey to provide a series of snapshots buildingFederal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan up over time to track what’s happening both nationally andintensified in the consumer and credit boom up until in the bellwether state of Connecticut. In February 2010,2007-08. Then the shockwaves of the subprime crisis our research partners, MicroDialogue, deployed a survey toand subsequent financial crisis hit hard and made a random and representative sample of 386 people age 18everyone seriously scared. Barack Obama’s victory in and older residing in the United States along with one to athe 2008 presidential election split the nation random and representative sample of 386 people age 18between euphoria and resentment; the high hopes of and older living in Connecticut.millions rooting for Obama stood in stark contrast tothe fears of millions who opposed him. We chose Connecticut because of its proximity to Massachusetts—important political territory since the electionOver the past year or so, there has been plenty to stir of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate—and because Connecticutup strong feelings. The Great Recession1 has hit jobs is itself a political hotbed. We’re convinced the state is the newhard and squeezed millions of Main Street Illinois: Among other things, constituents there will behouseholds. Yet on Wall Street, although mega- choosing a new governor, state attorney general and two U.S.fraudster Bernard Madoff went down for 150 years, senators between now and 2012, all of which are races beingbailed-out bankers and financiers are in the money hailed as referendums on Obama and the state of the union.again even as the nation plunges deeper into debt. Plus, the state is home to the American insurance industry.Beyond the polarized Republican-Democrat split ofmainstream politics, some Americans have turned to Of the two survey samples, 87 percent reported they weregrassroots populism. New York Times columnist registered to vote in the United States and 89 percent inDavid Brooks has compared the right-wing Tea Party Connecticut. The data is statistically significant for bothmovement with the New Left of old; both movements samples at the 95 percent confidence level with a confidenceare against “the establishment” and the corrupt interval of +/-5. This report offers a summary and overview ofstructures they see as plotting to control them.2 the findings of the national survey, along with detailed findings.
  • 4. 4 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT Summary of findings In the first quarter of 2010, one year into Barack Obama’s presidency, the mind and mood of Americans is down rather than up, resentful rather than grateful, pessimistic rather than optimistic. They are much less interested in the antics of celebrities and much more interested in things—news, money, jobs, health care— that have a bearing on the basic necessities of their life. HUNKERING DOWN The past 12 to 18 months have certainly been stressful for many Americans and indeed for the nation as a whole. When acute stress arises, people typically respond in one of three ways: fight, flight or freeze. In some respects, the past year to year and a half has been a time of fight, with activity and activism on both sides of the political divide. The Obama election movement stirred a lot of Americans into action, and over the past year the Tea Party movement has galvanized grassroots activism. In the recent Republican primary for Texas governor, for example, Tea Party–supported Rick Perry won the nomination with a big enough margin to avoid a runoff with former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, with 757,461 votes (51.1 percent) vs. 449,632 (30.3 percent).
  • 5. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 5This could indicate that the conservative, anti-Obama, anti-government movementmight prove to have a real effect on 2010 elections.Judging by media reports, it might seem that the economic crisis has spurred thenation into a flurry of protesting and community building and volunteering. Yetcontrary to what might be expected, Americans overall rate themselves less activenow than before. Of the possible activities surveyed, only engagement in faith groupsshowed a clear net increase (volunteering saw a very slight 0.6 percent rise). Thissuggests that many Americans have had a freeze response to the stress. The net(self-reported) decrease in activities might well reflect a hunkering-down mentalityamong many. While some respond to anxiety, unemployment and hard times byreaching out, others respond by turning in on themselves. This is easier than evernow that even downscale homes are equipped with multichannel TV and Internet.Regarding volunteering, the picture is more polarized among men than amongwomen; 23.2 percent of men rated themselves less active, while 20.6 percent ratedthemselves more active. For women it was 15.1 percent less active and 18.7 percentmore active. This suggests that more men have adjusted their volunteering inresponse to the current situation, either by becoming less active or by becomingmore active; in fact, fewer men than women rate their volunteering activityunchanged (56.2 percent vs. 66.1 percent). The data doesn’t reveal the reasonsdriving this shift. On the “less active” side, it’s likely that men who fear losing theirjob have been more inclined to put in more time at work, reducing their time forvolunteering. On the “more active” side, men who have lost their job might beturning to volunteering to keep themselves busy and feel purposeful. The recessionhas certainly hit male employment harder; according to the U.S. Bureau of LaborStatistics, January 2010 unemployment for adult men was 10.0 percent comparedwith 7.9 percent for adult women.3PESSIMISMUnlike some European countries, the United States is not a nation that’scomfortable with itself in a down mood. The country was built by people who hadconfidence that it’s possible to fix problems and make a better tomorrow. TheAmerican spirit is “can do,” and Barack Obama’s election mantra was “Yes WeCan.” Gloomy and resigned is not part of the American way. So right now is anuncomfortable time for many Americans as they look around at all the basic lifeindicators—tax levels, cost of living, schooling, employment and health care—withexpectations of them getting worse and no sense of how they could be improved.Americans are particularly pessimistic about anything to do with money andfinance. While Wall Street has been able to surf back on a tide of bailout money,Americans on Main Street are seeing unemployment looking rocky, budgetary crisesengulfing many states and vast government deficits to be financed who knows how.It’s striking, but not unusual, that women consistently net out more pessimistic thanmen on many issues—local administration, business environment, health, cost ofliving, quality of life, employment, real estate market, community life. In ourexperience of surveys over the past eight to nine years, women typically return
  • 6. 6 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT responses that show greater anxiety and greater pessimism than men. This doesn’t necessarily mean women are gloomier; rather, they are less given to flights of gung- ho optimism than men. HEALTH CARE It’s not clear exactly what Americans would like to see regarding health care. What is clear is that many Americans don’t like what they’re seeing now and have been seeing as the tussle over health-care reform has dominated Washington’s attention for the past year. With an apparently anticorporate beef, a big majority of Americans believe corporations and lobbies have hijacked the proposed health-care reform. (Any Americans paying attention to the issue will have noticed the Jan. 21, 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertisements and media buys right up to Election Day.) Yet with an apparently pro-market reflex, a majority of Americans agree, or don’t disagree, that the proposed health-care reforms are “too socialist.” Health care is one of the areas of public life in which ideological fault lines run deep and emotionally charged words or phrases—“death panels,” “socialist,” “single payer,” “government involvement”—are deployed to stampede opinion. It gets more complicated. Health care is also an area of potential political division between men and women. This survey shows that men are more inclined to favor the status quo while women are more inclined to believe things need changing. Men are more inclined to see health care as a privilege, whereas women are more inclined to see it as a right. This may in part reflect the self-described party allegiances in the sample: Of the Republicans, 52.8 percent are men and 47.2 percent are women; of the Democrats, 46 percent are men and 54 percent are women. It might also reflect the fact that even today, women are more likely than men to have a primary caring role (for children and/or parents) and hence are more likely to be dealing with the health-care system concretely. POLITICS Although the election of the first African-American president marked a historic moment of change in the United States, and although Barack Obama himself ran on a platform of change, the events of his first year have led many Americans to wonder whether politicians as a whole are the problem rather than specific parties and people. This survey shows widespread anger with the U.S. political establishment, a common perception that politicians are out of touch and a worryingly pervasive loss of trust in American politics. Americans feel more interested in politics than they were before but less approving of what they’re seeing. This could be because there is more around to disapprove of, but it’s more likely that it’s because political coverage is more polarized. Citizens of any political persuasion—left, right, authoritarian, libertarian, etc.—can seek out news and commentators that not only fit their politics but also highlight the iniquities of their politicians’ opponents. Previous generations could tune in to the impeccably neutral Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, for their news. Now Republicans watch Fox and listen to Glenn Beck while Democrats watch MSNBC and listen to Rachel Maddow.
  • 7. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 7One potential bright spot is that, for all their dislike of politicians and politics aspracticed in the United States, many have turned their backs on the ideologicallydriven “culture wars” of recent years. Being squeaky clean is no longer a must-havecharacter trait for politicians—at least in theory. There is an apparent willingness toallow politicians to be “real” (i.e., flawed) and to let pragmatism and competencecount for more than ideological purity. Then again, today Americans are cautious. Andbeing a “good family person” is a widespread requirement. This suggests there is still agreat deal of ambivalence about private, personal morality, especially in an environmentin which political opponents are quick to turn dirty laundry into dirty politics.SOCIAL MEDIA,TRADITIONAL MEDIA AND INFLUENCELooking at the net numbers from the survey, it’s important to remember that in somefields it doesn’t take a majority or even a large plurality to represent a significantshift. This consideration is important when looking at the numbers relating to socialmedia. A quick glance at the tables shows net negatives, for example, with regard tosocial media and politics. A massive 62.2 percent have not used social media tools orplatforms (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) to learn more about politics or politicians, andanother 24.9 percent are neutral on the issue. At first glance, these and other numbersmight seem to refute the game-changing claims that social media boosters have made.However, 12.9 percent overall say they have, and the percentage is even higher (17 percent)among 18- to 39-year-olds. These are significantly high percentages for a type oftechnology and usage that were virtually unknown just five years ago. As part of an overallmix of media contact points, social media is likely to become part of the mainstream.Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was widely hailed as a triumph of new mediasavvy, but his campaign manager, David Plouffe, is on record as saying the campaignrelied heavily on “old school” technology, including TV advertising. The Mind andMood survey certainly indicates that for political information, more Americans arepaying attention to local TV and newspapers than to new media. This should not betaken to mean that interactive media doesn’t count but rather—as Plouffeemphasized—that Americans are best reached by combinations of old and new media.
  • 8. 8 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT IMPLICATIONS This is not a time when a resumption of business as usual is likely for many Americans. The country has been shaken more deeply than might seem to be the case by looking at the stock market indices. Wall Street is chipper, but Main Street is hurting and anxious. MISTRUST Although the Sept. 11 attacks were traumatic inasmuch as they involved foreigners attacking on American soil, it did seem clear who the enemy was. Americans rallied round the flag, supported one another, carried on shopping and set off to tackle the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. By contrast, the past two years have probably been far more traumatic and bewildering for most Americans as the ostensibly friendly forces of finance, politics and business have all apparently proved indifferent to their plight.
  • 9. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 9The country’s economy has been brought low by “suicide mortgages” sold byAmericans to Americans. Wall Street has apparently managed to lose vast amountsof money, get rescued by the government and yet carry on paying itself megabuckswhile Main Street has faced the prospect of foreclosure, unemployment and nomoney to fall back on.On the political front, half the country fears the government wants to take overeverything, and the other half is disappointed that the Obama administration hasbeen hijacked by vested interests and lost the courage to drive change. The Obamacampaign’s “Yes We Can” is ringing hollow at the moment.On the business front, Americans are experiencing a jobless recovery. The economicindicators are ticking up and the recession is officially over, but businesses that werequick to lay off workers have been slow to create new jobs.VOLATILITYWith the disappointment and mistrust of politics, banks and business lurking,significant change is possible—although not necessarily in ways desired or designedby those apparently in power. Americans are looking around for ideas, institutionsand people they can trust. Who and what will earn that trust remains to be seen.By the fall of 2008, the mood of the nation was set against the outgoing presidentand his administration; the Democrats swept into the White House and Congress,and political commentators talked of the Republicans being washed up. Yet barely ayear later, the shoe was on the other foot when rookie Republican candidate ScottBrown captured the U.S. Senate seat of recently deceased Democrat elder TedKennedy. With well over half of respondents actively agreeing that they’ve lost trustin politics as it is practiced in the United States, and less than 20 percentdisagreeing, it could be one of those times when Americans decide the whole systemneeds to be shaken up. Although Barack Obama might have won as an outsider interms of his ethnicity, with his softly-softly approach in Washington, D.C., he looksto many Americans like another insider. By contrast, Sarah Palin might merely havebeen ahead of her time with her anti-Washington rhetoric.And amid it all, an openly lesbian woman gets elected mayor in Houston.When the economic crisis went critical in September 2008, even sober people talkedof staring into the abyss, of meltdown, of the end of the world as we know it. Inmost respects those immediate fears proved unfounded. The mind and mood of theAmerican people 18 months later, however, suggests that big changes are stillworking their way through. To paraphrase the adage about the impact of technology,we routinely overestimate short-term change and underestimate long-term change.The findings of the survey in the context of what’s happening in the United Statesnow indicate that changes triggered by the economic crisis have only just started tomake themselves felt.
  • 10. 10 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTCHANGES IN ACTIVITYIn Brief: In many areas of life, respondents were on balance less active in community activities over the past 12 to 18months than before. The averages summary in the bottom row shows that the biggest decrease in activity was among the18-to-39 age cohort.Over the past 12 to 18 months, please rate how much your behavior has changed in the listed areas. Net figures (more active minus less active) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Faith group (church, synagogue, etc.) 3.6% 0.1% 7.3% -1.5% 6.4% Volunteering 0.6% -2.6% 3.6% -1.5% 1.2% Environmental activities -0.8% -2.1% 0.5% -4.4% 1.2% Cause-related activism -5.6% -3.2% -8.4% -5.2% -6.0% Political activities -6.2% -1.6% -10.9% -14.1% -2.0% Community meetings -7.8% -8.3% -7.3% -9.6% -6.8% Average of all rows above -2.7% -3.0% -2.5% -6.1% -1.0%In faith groups, Americans were overall slightly more active, by a margin of 3.6 percent (19.2 percent more active,15.6 percent less active). Men netted out neutral (0.1 percent), while women tended toward being more active in this area(margin of 7.3 percent). The 18-to-39 cohort tended to be less active, while the over-40 group was more active.Activity in volunteering was barely changed overall, with a slight 0.6 percent overall margin more active. Men netted outless active, by a margin of 2.6 percent, while women netted out more active by a margin of 3.6 percent. The youngercohort netted out marginally less active (1.5 percent) while the older cohort was marginally more active (1.2 percent).Americans haven’t hugely increased their environmental activities over the past 12 to 18 months; almost two-thirds(64.5 percent) rated their activities unchanged, but among the rest, the balance was slightly toward less active, by amargin of 0.8 percent. More men than women were less active with environmental activities (2.1 percent vs. 0.5 percent)and more 18-to-39s than over-40s were less active (net 4.4 percent less active vs. net 1.2 percent more active).In cause-related activism, the tendency to be less active was even more pronounced. Overall, 63.7 percent were neithermore nor less active, but among the rest a net margin of 5.6 percent were less active; the margin of less active wasnarrower among men than among women (net 3.2 percent less active vs. net 8.4 percent less active). The margin of lessactivity was similar in the younger and older cohorts (5.2 percent and 6.0 percent).Surprisingly, political activities showed an even more pronounced shift toward less activity. While overall almost two-thirds were neither more nor less active (65.8 percent), among the rest the balance was clearly toward less active, by amargin of 6.2 percent (14 percent more active but 20.2 percent less active). The decrease in activity was less pronouncedamong men than women (net 1.6 percent less vs. net 10.9 percent less) and far more pronounced among the 18-to-39sthan among the over-40s (net 14.1 percent less vs. net 2.0 percent less).Community meetings suffered an even bigger decrease in activity, with a margin of 7.8 percent less active over the past12 to 18 months (66.8 percent unchanged). Both men and women netted out less active by similar margins (8.3 percentand 7.3 percent). Across the age gap, a larger proportion of 18-to-39s than over-40s was less active (net 9.6 percent vs.net 6.8 percent).
  • 11. There are many differences between the New Left and the Tea Partiers.… But the similarities are more striking than the differences. To start with, the Tea Partiers have adopted thetactics of the New Left.… But the corecommonality is this: Members of bothmovements believe in what you might callmass innocence. Both movements are builton the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. David Brooks The New York Times
  • 12. 12 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTLIFE IN GENERALA LITTLE OPTIMISMIn Brief: Americans’ perspectives on many elements of life tended toward the pessimistic. Nevertheless, the balance wasoptimistic on a few points. The average of net margins in the following table shows that American men are tending to feelmore optimistic than American women, who netted out marginally pessimistic overall; the younger cohort of 18-to-39swas more optimistic than the over-40 cohort.With regard to various aspects of life where you live now, how hopeful are you about them in theforeseeable future? Net figures (optimistic minus pessimistic) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Recreational facilities 7.4% 13.4% 1.6% 15.6% 3.2% Natural environment 6.5% 14.5% -1.6% 7.4% 6.0% Entertainment 5.0% 9.3% 0.5% 15.6% -0.8% Personal security 3.9% 10.8% -3.2% 5.2% 3.6% Community life 3.6% 6.1% 1.0% 7.4% 1.2% Average of all rows above 5.3% 10.8% -0.3% 10.2% 2.6%
  • 13. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 13Even in a down economy, there are plenty of options for entertainment andrecreation, and this was reflected in the balance of optimism about them.They netted out with respondents being optimistic by a margin of 7.4 percenton the prospects for recreational facilities. The optimism wasn’t equallyspread around, however. Men netted out more optimistic than women(13.4 percent vs. 1.6 percent), and the younger 18-to-39 cohort netted outmore optimistic than the older cohort (15.6 percent vs. 3.2 percent).Similarly, with entertainment, the overall net margin of optimism was5.0 percent, with men more optimistic than women (net 9.3 percent vs.net 0.5 percent); the younger cohort was net more optimistic, by a marginof 15.6 percent, than the older cohort, which came downslightly on the pessimistic side (net 0.8 percent).Possibly the most surprising balance of optimism wasabout the natural environment. The overall balance wasoptimistic by a margin of 6.5 percent (24.4 percentoptimistic, 17.9 percent pessimistic). However, there wasa clear gender divide on this; men netted out optimisticby a margin of 14.5 percent, while women netted outmarginally pessimistic (1.6 percent). The younger 18-to-39 cohort netted outmarginally more optimistic than the over-40s (7.4 percent vs. 6.0 percent).Respondents were also net optimistic about personal security, by a margin of3.9 percent. As is usually the case on questions relating to security, though, womenwere less optimistic than men. Men netted out optimistic by a margin of 10.8 percent,whereas women netted out pessimistic by a margin of 3.2 percent. Across the agedivide, the 18-to-39s were more optimistic on balance than the over-40s (margins of5.2 percent and 3.6 percent).Despite the talk of social isolation and “bowling alone,” there was net optimism aboutcommunity life, albeit by a narrow margin of 3.6 percent. Men were more optimisticthan women (6.1 percent vs. 1.0 percent), and the younger cohort netted out moreoptimistic than the older cohort (7.4 percent vs. 1.2 percent).
  • 14. 14 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTThe Great Recession may be over,but this era of high joblessness isprobably just beginning. Before itends, it will likely change the life courseand character of a generation of youngadults. It will leave an indelible imprinton many blue-collar men. It could cripplemarriage as an institution in manycommunities. It may already beplunging many inner cities into adespair not seen for decades.Ultimately, it is likely to warp ourpolitics, our culture, and thecharacter of our society foryears to come. Don Peck The Atlantic
  • 15. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 15A LOT OF PESSIMISMIn Brief: On many points, particularly related to money, Americans tended to net out far more pessimistic than optimistic.As the last row shows, women were almost twice as pessimistic as men, and over-40s were more than twice as pessimisticas 18-to-39s.With regard to various aspects of life where you live now, how hopeful are you about them in theforeseeable future? Net figures (optimistic minus pessimistic) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Local administration -1.5% 5.1% -8.3% -2.2% -1.2% Transportation -2.3% 0.5% -5.2% 8.1% -7.6% Quality of life -5.5% 1.1% -11.9% 0.0% -8.8% Business environment -6.4% -3.6% -9.4% -8.9% -5.2% Health-care facilities -7.0% 0.0% -14.1% -4.4% -8.4% Employment -11.9% -8.3% -15.7% -3.0% -17.2% Schools -13.2% -12.9% -13.5% -3.0% -19.2% Real estate market -18.5% -15.0% -21.9% -11.1% -22.8% Cost of living -34.2% -22.7% -45.8% -27.4% -38.0% Taxation levels -39.4% -39.7% -39.1% -28.9% -45.6% Average of all rows above -14.0% -9.6% -18.5% -8.1% -17.4%Sentiment was only marginally net pessimistic on local administration (netpessimistic 1.5 percent) and transportation (net pessimistic 2.3 percent). Onquality of life, pessimism weighed more strongly (5.5 percent).The health-care debate hasn’t spread confidence about the future of health-care facilities—quite the reverse, in fact. Net pessimism prevailed by a marginof 7.0 percent, with women showing significantly more pessimism (net14.1 percent). With the recession turning into a jobless recovery, employmentprospects stirred a clear margin of pessimism overall (11.9 percent); over-40respondents were much more pessimistic than 18-to-39 respondents (net17.2 percent vs. net 3.0 percent pessimistic).Respondents were even more pessimistic about the real estate market, with anet margin of 18.5 percent pessimistic. However, clearer, deeper pessimism wasexpressed with regard to the cost of living, with a wide margin of 34.2 percentfeeling pessimistic about it (17.1 percent were optimistic and 51.3 percentwere pessimistic). The deepest pessimism was about taxation levels, where themargin of pessimism was a massive 39.4 percent (11.6 percent were optimisticand 51.0 percent were pessimistic).
  • 16. 16 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTPOLITICSPOLITICAL PERSPECTIVESIn Brief: The mood around major political issues in the United States was undoubtedly not positive. There was a clearmood of anger and mistrust, and it was stronger among men than among women.Please rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements using this scale (1-5). Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Americans are angry with the political establishment. 63.4% 67.5% 59.3% 45.2% 73.6% American politicians are too far removed from everyday realities. 54.7% 62.4% 46.8% 45.9% 59.2% Hoping for a complete change of politics in my state. 34.4% 40.2% 28.7% 29.6% 36.8% I have lost trust in politics as it is practiced in the United States. 32.4% 40.2% 24.5% 31.1% 32.8% I am in favor of continued U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan. -5.4% 7.7% -18.8% -7.4% -4.8%
  • 17. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 17 We place trust in these politicians every time we pull the lever in November. And yet we are so easily betrayed. In every other area of life, trust is not easily obtained and very simple to lose. And once broken, it’s virtually impossible to regain. However, that doesn’t seem to slow down the increase of failure we experience every day in American politics. Craig R. Smith WorldNetDaily
  • 18. 18 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT There was overwhelming net agreement with the statement “Americans are angry with the political establishment” by a margin of 63.4 percent (68.9 percent agreed, 5.5 percent disagreed). There was a net margin of agreement of 54.7 percent that American politicians are too far removed from everyday realities (overall, 66.1 percent agreed and 11.4 percent disagreed). The margin of agreement was greater among men than among women (62.4 percent vs. 46.8 percent). A clear net margin of 34.4 percent was hoping for a complete change of politics in their state; 50.2 percent agreed and just 15.8 percent disagreed. The margin of hope was considerably wider among men than among women (40.2 percent vs. 28.7 percent). Similarly large margins agreed with the statement “I have lost trust in politics as it is practiced in the United States”; overall a net 32.4 percent agreed(51.8 percent agreed and 19.4 percent disagreed). Here too the margin of agreement was much bigger among men thanamong women (40.2 percent vs. 24.5 percent).The balance of opinion tilted negative on the statement “I am in favor of continued U.S. military engagement inAfghanistan,” with a small 5.4 percent margin of disagreement (31.4 percent agreed, 36.8 percent disagreed). This was apoint that split opinion across the gender divide; men agreed by a net margin of 7.7 percent, while women disagreed by anet margin of 18.8 percent.INTEREST IN POLITICSIn Brief: There has been a clear net increase in Americans’ interest in politics. Home state politics have seen the biggestgrowth in interest, followed by domestic politics in general. The averages row at the bottom of the table shows that farmore men than women and far more older than younger Americans have become more interested in politics.Over the past 12 to 18 months, please rate how much your interest has changed in the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more interested, negative=less interested) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Politics in the state where I live 39.2% 47.9% 30.2% 22.2% 48.4% Domestic politics in general 33.4% 42.3% 24.5% 21.5% 40.0% Politics in my local area 23.1% 29.4% 16.7% 10.4% 30.0% Politics in other American states 16.4% 23.1% 9.4% 5.2% 22.4% Local politics in other areas 2.3% 10.8% -6.2% -5.2% 6.4% Average of all rows above 22.9% 30.7% 14.9% 10.8% 29.4%Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a sharply increased level of interest in the politics of respondents’ states ofresidence; net 39.2 percent overall are more interested (51.3 percent more vs. 12.1 percent less). There’s a big differencebetween men and women (men net 47.9 percent and women net 30.2 percent). Both younger and older cohorts showincreased net interest, but it’s much stronger among over-40s than among 18-to-39s (48.4 percent vs. 22.2 percent).Over the past year to year and a half, there has also been a large increased level of interest in domestic politics in general.Net 33.4 percent overall are more interested (46.1 percent more vs. 12.7 percent less). There’s a big difference between
  • 19. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 19men and women (men net 42.3 percent and women net 24.5 percent). In the over-40 age cohort, the net increase was40 percent, whereas it was just 21.5 percent among the 18-to-39s.Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a net increase of interest of 23.1 points in the politics of respondents’ localarea (38.1 percent more interested, 15.0 percent less interested). The net increase has been greater among men thanamong women (net 29.4 percent vs. net 16.7 percent). Over-40s registered a greater net increase than under-40s (net30 percent vs. net 10.4 percent).There has also been a clear but smaller increase of interest in the politics of other American states, up by net16.4 percent. Here, too, men showed a greater increase than women (net 23.1 percent vs. net 9.4 percent), and over-40sshowed a higher net increase than 18-to-39s (net 22.4 percent vs. net 5.2 percent).Interest in the local politics of other areas has risen by net 10.8 percent among men but declined by net 6.2 percentamong women. The 18-to-39 group showed a net decrease in interest (5.2 percent), whereas the over-40s showed a smallnet increase (6.4 percent).APPROVAL OF POLITICSIn Brief: The red negative net margins across the whole table show that Americans’ feelings about politics at every leveltended to be disapproving. Women netted out consistently more disapproving than men.Compared with the past 12 to 18 months, please rate your current feeling about the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more approving, negative=more disapproving) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Politics in my local area -7.9% -1.5% -14.6% -12.6% -5.6% Local politics in other areas -15.3% -11.3% -19.2% -19.3% -13.2% Politics in the state where I live -16.6% -13.9% -19.3% -17.0% -16.8% Politics in other American states -20.8% -15.0% -26.5% -21.5% -20.8% Domestic politics in general -21.6% -16.9% -26.0% -17.0% -24.4% Average of all rows above -16.4% -11.7% -21.1% -17.5% -16.2%
  • 20. 20 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTIn the wake of the implosion ofnearly all sources of Americanauthority, this new decade will have tobe about reforming our institutions toreconstitute a more reliable anddemocratic form of authority. Scholarlyresearch shows a firm correlation betweenstrong institutions, accountable élites andhighly functional economies; mistrust andcorruption, meanwhile, feed each other in avicious circle. If our current crisis continues,we risk a long, ugly process of de-development: higher levels of corruptionand tax evasion and an increasinglyfractured public sphere, in which bothpublic consensus and reformbecome all but impossible. Christopher Hayes Time
  • 21. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 21Disapproval has grown over the period; net 21.6 percent rate themselves more disapproving of domestic politics in general(17.3 percent more approving vs. 38.9 percent more disapproving). As on many other topics, the greater disapproval ofmen was exceeded by the larger numbers of women registering more disapproval (net 16.9 percent vs. net 26.0 percent).The younger 18-to-39 cohort netted out more disapproving, although not as much as the older cohort of over-40s (net17.0 percent vs. 24.4 percent).Net greater disapproval of domestic politics was significantly stronger among self-identified Republicans with net26.5 percent more disapproving; among self-identified Democrats net disapproval was 3.2 percent, and amongIndependents it was net 33.6 percent.In local politics overall, there was a net 7.9 percent rating themselves more disapproving (20.5 percent more approvingbut 28.4 percent more disapproving). There was less net disapproval among men than among women (net 1.5 percent vs.net 14.6 percent) but more net disapproval among 18-to-39s than among over-40s (net 12.6 percent vs. net 5.6 percent).With greater interest in state politics has come greater disapproval. The overall balance of feeling was clearly negative,with net 16.6 percent rating themselves more disapproving (22.3 percent more approving and 38.9 percent moredisapproving). As on other issues, women netted out with higher levels disapproving than men (net 13.9 percent of mendisapproving vs. net 19.3 percent of women). There was little difference between the age cohorts on this point, with netdisapproval of 17.0 percent from 18-to-39s and net 16.8 percent from over-40s.There was slightly more net disapproval of politics in other American states; overall, net 20.8 percent rated themselvesmore disapproving (12.4 percent more approving vs. 33.2 percent more disapproving). Significantly more women than menwere more disapproving (net 26.5 percent of women vs. net 15.0 percent of men). Across the age divide, there was littledifference in net increased disapproval between 18-to-39s and over-40s (net 21.5 percent vs. net 20.8 percent).EXPECTATIONS OF POLITICSIn Brief: Just like the nation’s finances, the balance of expectations in the political sphere is a sea of red—in this case,indicating net negative expectations. Unlike in a number of other categories, men netted out more negative than women.Both age cohorts netted out with negative expectations, but the numbers were much larger in the over-40s cohort.Looking ahead, what are your expectations for the following institutions, offices and functions withregard to the business environment where you live? Net figures (positive expectations minus negative expectations) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 City mayor -3.8% -2.2% -5.7% -3.7% -4.4% Attorney general -8.8% -11.9% -5.8% -3.7% -11.6% State senator -9.3% -13.4% -5.3% -4.4% -12.4% President of the United States -11.0% -13.0% -8.8% 0.7% -17.6% Congressman -14.0% -18.6% -9.4% -8.9% -16.8% State governor -15.9% -19.6% -12.0% -10.4% -19.2% Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board -17.9% -20.0% -15.6% -9.6% -22.4% Treasury secretary -21.0% -23.7% -18.2% -9.6% -27.2% Average of all rows above -12.7% -15.3% -10.1% -6.2% -16.5%
  • 22. 22 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTNo official enjoys a balance of positive expectations. The least negativeexpectations are for the city mayor, with a net negative margin of 3.8 percent(positive 19.7 percent, negative 23.5 percent). The attorney general sufferedslightly more negative expectations, with a net negative margin of 8.8 percent(positive 16.6 percent, negative 25.4 percent).The president of the United States, one troubled year into his four-year term,netted a negative expectation margin of 11.0 percent; this rating was morepolarized than many, with 29.7 percent positive, 40.7 percent negative and29.5 percent neutral. Looking at self-declared party affiliations:• Republicans returned 69.8 percent negative vs. 12.3 percent positive expectations.• Democrats returned 11.3 percent negative vs. 54.1 percent positive expectations.• Independents returned 45.6 percent negative vs. 27.7 percent positive expectations.The most negative expectations are for the officials dealing with the nation’sfinances. The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board earned net negativeexpectations of 17.9 percent (positive 15.0 percent, negative 32.9 percent), whilethe Treasury secretary suffered the most negative expectations with a net marginof 21 percent (10.9 percent positive, 31.9 percent negative).POLITICAL CANDIDATES: PERSONAL ISSUESIn Brief: Despite all continual furors over politicians’ personal lives, Americans tend to think political candidates too arehuman. They tend to be forgiving of human failings.Please rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements using this scale (1-5). Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Our candidates can be real people; they don’t have to be perfect. 70.5% 71.2% 69.7% 60.0% 76.0% Candidates need to be right for jobs— that means we can be flexible in the 49.0% 53.6% 44.2% 43.7% 51.6% mores we expect from them. A good candidate must be a good family person. 45.2% 46.4% 43.7% 43.0% 46.4% We need our candidates to live impeccable lives. -13.9% -5.2% -22.9% -24.4% -8.4% I would not be comfortable with a candidate whose spouse is a recovering addict. -21.8% -22.7% -20.9% -19.3% -23.2% I would not be comfortable with a candidate whose child is a recovering addict. -27.7% -24.7% -30.6% -20.0% -32.4%
  • 23. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 23There was a massive 70.5 percent margin of agreement that “Our candidates can be real people; they don’t have to beperfect” (75.4 percent agreed and only 4.9 percent disagreed). A more pragmatic than “cultural” perspective wasapparent from the big 49.0 percent margin of agreement that “Candidates need to be right for jobs—that means we canbe flexible in the mores we expect from them,” although men embraced this idea more than women (net 53.6 percent vs.net 44.2 percent).On moralizing, judgmental criteria, net disagreement prevailed. Americans disagreed by a margin of 13.9 percent that “Weneed our candidates to live impeccable lives”; the relatively narrow margin was due to the fact that although 40.1 percentdisagreed, a relatively large 26.2 percent agreed. Overall, 18.9 percent agreed they wouldn’t be comfortable with acandidate whose spouse is a recovering addict, but 40.7 percent disagreed, making for a net disagreement of 21.8 percent.The margin of disagreement was even bigger (27.7 percent) for the statement “I would not be comfortable with acandidate whose child is a recovering addict.” Nevertheless, while a substantial 43.5 percent disagreed, there were still15.8 percent who agreed.Whatever else happens in a candidate’s life, it’s apparently important that they should be a good family person. Overall,Americans agreed that “A good candidate must be a good family person” by a margin of 45.2 percent, with little variationbetween the sexes or the age cohorts. Only 9.0 percent disagreed with the notion, while 54.2 percent agreed with it.POLITICAL CANDIDATES: OTHER ISSUESPlease rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements using this scale (1-5). Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 I believe candidates must be actively engaged in the community before 61.1% 59.3% 63.0% 49.6% 67.6% they decide to run for office. Candidates shouldn’t take private financing. 34.2% 32.5% 35.9% 36.3% 33.2% Only seat-of-the-pants politicians such as Sarah Palin really understand -26.2% -22.2% -30.2% -29.6% -24.4% the American people. Maybe President Obama’s community activities set a precedent; there was clear net agreement of 61.1 percent with the statement “I believe candidates must be actively engaged in the community before they decide to run for office” (66.1 percent agreed, 5.0 percent disagreed). The older cohort of over-40s agreed by the widest margin (67.6 percent). Americans were also in clear net agreement that “Candidates shouldn’t take private financing,” by a margin of net 34.2 percent; almost half (47.9 percent) agreed and just 13.7 percent disagreed. Despite the clear disapproval of the political class in America, and despite the clear opinion that politicians are out of touch with the reality of most people’s lives, there was surprisingly strong net disagreement of 26.2 percent that “Only seat-of-the-pants politicians such as Sarah Palin really understand the American people.” Nevertheless, while almost half disagreed (49.2 percent), almost a quarter agreed (23.0 percent); even among self-declared Democrats, 12.9 percent agreed.
  • 24. 24 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTPOLITICS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: PERSONAL USE AND PREFERENCESIn Brief: Personal use of and need for social media in relation to politics was still very much a minority need, as shownby the net negative numbers in the table. However, the minorities responding positively were still consistently between10 percent and 20 percent, which represents large numbers of Americans.Please rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements using this scale (1-5). Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 I like to voice my political opinions via social media and -15.9% -7.2% -24.5% -1.5% -24.0% want politicians to listen. I would like to have more open dialogues with politicians via social media. -16.5% -7.8% -25.6% -3.7% -23.6% I would like to have ongoing communication with my local -18.0% -6.7% -29.7% -4.4% -25.6% politicians via social media. I have used social media tools/ platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc.) -49.3% -46.3% -52.1% -26.7% -61.6% to learn more about politics/politicians.
  • 25. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 25Overall, 18.1 percent of Americans agreed that “I like to voice my politicalopinions via social media and want politicians to listen,” whereas 34.0 percentdisagreed, making for a disagreement margin of 15.9 percent. Even so, that18.1 percent represents a large number of Americans who are interested inexpressing their politics through social media; 22.7 percent of men are, comparedwith 13.5 percent of women.“I would like to have more open dialogues with politicians via social media” netsa disagreement margin of 16.5 percent, but behind that are 24.2 percent of menand 17.7 percent of women who would like it. Across the age cohorts,22.2 percent of the 18-to-39s and 20.4 percent of the over-40s are keen on it.Much the same applies to the statement “I would like to have ongoing communication with my localpoliticians via social media,” which returned a net disagreement margin of 18.0 percent. Asubstantial 23.2 percent of men actually agreed with the statement, as did 9.4 percent ofwomen. Similar proportions of 18-to-39s and over-40s agreed on the statement(17.8 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively).There was very clear disagreement, however, about using social media as a source ofpolitical background information. The statement “I have used social media tools/platforms(i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to learn more about politics/politicians” yielded a veryemphatic 49.3 percent margin of disagreement. This wide margin came from 62.2 percentof respondents specifically disagreeing; 12.9 percent agreed.SOCIAL MEDIA IMPERATIVES FOR POLITICIANSIn Brief: While the sample as a whole definitely wasn’t a social media fan base, it was overall in favor of politicians usingsocial media. It was not, however, in favor of them using specific social media platforms.Please rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements regarding politics andsocial media. Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Candidates should take an active role in social media. 30.7% 35.0% 26.1% 25.9% 32.8% Politicians should use social media as a tool, but only in moderation. 29.8% 27.8% 31.8% 28.1% 30.4% A politician’s use of social media signals a desire to connect with 20.0% 23.1% 16.7% 23.0% 18.4% a younger generation. If a politician is active across social media, it signals a desire to engage. 16.0% 20.6% 11.5% 14.1% 16.8% Politicians should connect with supporters via Twitter. -33.4% -28.4% -38.5% -11.1% -46.0% It is important for politicians to maintain a Facebook page. -37.8% -33.4% -42.1% -21.5% -47.2%
  • 26. 26 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTToday’s members of themiddle and professional classeswonder daily what the new normalwill be. They’re aware, some vaguely,others acutely, that during this period—the most chastening experience in theirlives—their families’ habits and attitudesare changing both conspicuously andimperceptibly. They chew over what furtheradjustments are prudent; they worry overwhat additional ones may becomenecessary. And perhaps mostdisquietingly, they speculate whether theadjustments they’ve made in the face ofunprecedented uncertainty—andwhether that uncertainty itself—will become enduring featuresof their lives. Benjamin Schwarz The Atlantic
  • 27. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 27The clearest margin of agreement was for the statement “Candidates should take an active role in social media.” A veryclear 30.7 percent margin of agreement reflected a significant 37.1 percent who agreed and just 6.4 percent whodisagreed—plus a majority of 56.5 percent who were neutral.There was a similar margin for the statement “Politicians should use social media as a tool, but only in moderation,” withnet agreement of 29.8 percent. Overall, 39.9 percent agreed and 10.1 percent disagreed.What does it mean when politicians use social media? A hefty 34.2 percent of respondents agreed that a politician’s useof social media signals a desire to connect with a younger generation, while 14.2 percent disagreed, making for a netagreement margin of 20.0 percent. In the younger 18-to-39 age cohort, 31.9 percent agreed while only 8.9 percentdisagreed.There was also clear but less emphatic net agreement (16.0 percent) that “If a politician is active across social media, itsignals a desire to engage.” The margin of net agreement was far wider among men than among women (20.6 percent vs.11.5 percent); similar percentages disagreed (13.4 percent and 13.5 percent), but more men than women agreed(34.0 percent vs. 25.0 percent).Opinion clearly netted out against the notion that politicians should connect with supporters via Twitter; the margin of netdisagreement was an emphatic 33.4 percent, with overall 43.5 percent disagreeing and 10.1 percent agreeing. Rejection ofthe idea was less emphatic among 18-to-39s; 25.2 percent of them disagreed with it, but 14.1 percent agreed.Although Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi famously maintained a Facebook page, Americans didn’tthink it is important for politicians to do so, by a margin of 37.8 percent; 48.4 percent disagreed that it was importantwhile 10.6 percent agreed that it was important. Almost twice as many men as women agreed it was important(14.0 percent vs. 7.3 percent), and almost twice as many 18-to-39s as over-40s agreed (14.8 percent vs. 8.0 percent).
  • 28. 28 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTAmericans are looking more closelyand more critically than ever at thepublic issues that affect them, and noissue is more pressing—or confusing—thanhealth-care reform. Clarity will becomemore apparent now that we are entering abrave new world in the health-care space,as reforms begin to be realized and newleaders emerge as a consequence of thewidespread reforms. Donna Murphy Worldwide Managing Partner Euro RSCG Life
  • 29. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 29HEALTH CAREIn Brief: On the thorny issue of health-care reform, the mood of Americans tended to be against it, especially men. Menwere consistently more down on health-care reform than women were, and keener on the status quo.Please rate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements using this scale (1-5). Net figures (positive=agreement, negative=disagreement) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Big corporations and lobbies have hijacked the proposed health-care reform. 52.9% 53.0% 52.6% 42.2% 58.4% The proposed health-care reform is too socialist for my liking. 19.2% 23.2% 15.1% 14.8% 21.6% I hope the Massachusetts Senate result stops the health-care reform from going through. 12.2% 19.1% 5.2% 4.4% 16.4% My/our personal health-care situation is fine—hands off, it ain’t broke. 8.9% 14.9% 2.6% -7.4% 17.6% Health care is a privilege, not a right. -5.2% 11.8% -22.4% -17.0% 1.6% The health-care reform package is good for me/my family. -16.1% -17.5% -14.5% -5.9% -21.6%The mood around health-care reform was clearly negative in many respects, with some conflict of opinions apparent. Onone hand, there was a large 52.9 percent margin of overall agreement that “Big corporations and lobbies have hijackedthe proposed health-care reform” (61.7 percent agreed, 8.8 percent disagreed). On the other hand, there was a sizablemargin of 19.2 percent net agreement that “The proposed health-care reform is too socialist for my liking”(44.9 percent agreed, 25.7 percent disagreed); men agreed by a wider net margin than women.Political pundits thought the surprise Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race would scupper the health-carereform package, and the balance of survey opinion hoped so. There was overall agreement with a 12.2 percent net marginto the statement “I hope the Massachusetts Senate result stops the health-care reform from going through” (41.2 percentagreed, 29.0 percent disagreed).On the statement “My/our personal health-care situation is fine—hands off, it ain’t broke,”men netted out with a much stronger margin of agreement than women (net 14.9 percent vs.net 2.6 percent). The gap was even bigger across the age divide, with 18-to-39s netting outdisagreement of 7.4 percent, while over-40s netted to an agreement margin of 17.6 percent.A clear ideological divide between men and women was apparentwith the statement “Health care is a privilege, not a right.”Men netted out in clear agreement by a margin of 11.8 percent(44.3 percent agreed, 32.5 percent disagreed), while womennetted out even more clearly in disagreement by a margin of22.4 percent (26.0 percent agreed, but 48.4 percent disagreed).Finally, the sample delivered an overall thumbs-down to thenotion that “The health-care reform package is good for me/myfamily”; the net margin of disagreement was 16.1 percent, with27.4 agreeing but 43.5 percent disagreeing. The cohort of over-40s felt particularly strongly on this point, with net disagreementof 21.6 percent.
  • 30. 30 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT GENERAL PUBLIC ISSUES INTEREST, PART I In Brief: Americans have been taking more interest in a range of public issues over the past 12 to 18 months. Men in particular tended to rate themselves more interested.Over the past 12 to 18 months, please rate how much your interest has changed in the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more interested, negative=less interested) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Economy and finance 57.8% 63.4% 52.1% 51.9% 61.2% Health care 57.3% 61.4% 53.2% 48.1% 62.4% International affairs 30.3% 40.7% 19.7% 17.8% 37.2% Business and corporations 29.3% 42.3% 16.0% 28.1% 30.0% Average of all rows above 43.7% 52.0% 35.3% 36.5% 47.7% Overall interest in the economy and finance increased by net 57.8 percentage points over the past 12 to 18 months (65.0 percent more interested, 7.2 percent less). The net increase has been stronger among men than among women (63.4 percent vs. 52.1 percent). Net increased interest among over-40s was greater than among 18-to-39s (61.2 percent vs. 51.9 percent).
  • 31. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 31Net overall interest in health care increased by 57.3 percentage points (64.5 percent more interested, 7.2 percent less).As on many other points, more men than women said they’ve become more interested over the past 12 to 18 months(net 61.4 percent of men are more interested vs. net 53.2 percent of women). The over-40s cohort registered much morenet increased interest than the 18-to-39 cohort (net 62.4 percent vs. net 48.1 percent).Overall interest in international affairs has increased by net 30.3 percent (44.3 percent more interested, 14.0 percentless). There’s a huge difference between men and women, however: Men netted out with 40.7 percent more interested,whereas women netted out with a much lower 19.7 percent more interested. Net interest increased a little among the18-to-39 cohort but much more among the over-40s (net 17.8 percent vs. net 37.2 percent).Net overall interest in business and corporations increased by 29.3 percent points (43.8 percent more interested,14.5 percent less). There’s a gulf across the gender divide; net 42.3 percent of men are more interested vs. net 16.0percent of women. In the age divide, there’s little difference in net increase between the 18-to-39s and the over-40s (net28.1 percent vs. net 30.0 percent).INTEREST, PART IIIn Brief: Interest in general news has soared, along with interest in the Internet as a key medium of delivery. Interest incelebrity has nose-dived.Over the past 12 to 18 months, please rate how much your interest has changed in the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more interested, negative=less interested) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 News in general 37.6% 44.3% 30.8% 29.6% 42.0% Internet 27.4% 36.6% 18.3% 23.7% 29.6% Social media -1.2% 2.6% -5.3% 12.6% -8.8% Television -5.5% -4.1% -6.7% 3.0% -10.0% Celebrities -36.6% -39.7% -33.4% -20.7% -45.2%The past 12 to 18 months have seen a strong 37.6 percent net increase of interest in the news in general (46.4 percentmore, 8.8 percent less). There’s more increased interest among men than women (net 44.3 percent vs. net 30.8 percent)and slightly more among 18-to-39s than among over-40s (10.4 percent vs. 8.0 percent).Over the same period, there has been a clear increase of interest in the Internet, which netted out at 27.4 percent (39.9 percentmore interested, 12.5 percent less). There’s a greater net increase among men than among women (36.6 percent vs.18.3 percent) and a slightly greater net increase among over-40s compared with 18-to-39s (29.6 percent vs. 23.7 percent).Social media sits on the borderline between more and less interest. Overall, there was a small net 1.2 percent decline ofinterest (23.4 percent more interested vs. 24.6 percent less interested). Across the gender gap, however, there has been asmall net 2.6 percent increase of interest among men compared with a slightly larger 5.3 percent net decrease of interestamong women. There’s a clear difference across the age divide: Net 12.6 percent of 18-to-39s were more interested, butnet 8.8 percent of over-40s were less interested.Possibly as a result of the increasing interest in the Internet, there has been a small net decline of interest in television of5.5 percent. There’s little difference between the net decline among men and women (4.1 percent and 6.7 percent,respectively). There’s a bigger difference between younger and older respondents: The 18-to-39 group netted 3.0 percentmore interested in television, while the over-40 cohort netted out 10.0 percent less interested.
  • 32. 32 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTMost striking of all, interest in celebrities has plummeted. Overall, there’s a net 36.6 percent of Americans ratingthemselves less interested (48.2 percent less interested vs. 11.6 percent more). There’s a net decline in interest of45.2 percent among over-40s, and even among the younger 18-to-39 cohort there’s a net decline of 20.7 percent.APPROVAL, PART IIn Brief: In the four areas of general public interest, Americans’ feelings have turned net negative. Although more menthan women declared themselves more interested on these issues, more women consistently declared themselvesdisapproving. And on every point, the over-40s were more disapproving than the 18-to-39s.Compared with the past 12 to 18 months, please rate your current feeling about the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more approving, negative=more disapproving) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 International affairs -23.0% -15.5% -30.7% -17.8% -26.0% Health care -27.5% -18.0% -37.0% -23.7% -30.0% Business and corporations -35.7% -31.0% -40.6% -33.3% -37.6% Economy and finance -37.3% -29.4% -45.4% -34.1% -39.6% Average of all rows above -30.9% -23.5% -38.4% -27.2% -33.3%Net disapproval of international affairs was strong at overall 23.0 percent (14.8 percent more approving and 37.8 percentmore disapproving). As on other topics, significantly more women than men netted out disapproving (15.5 percent of men,30.7 percent of women). The younger 18-to-39 cohort registered clear disapproval, but not as strongly as the older cohortof over-40s (17.8 percent vs. 26.0 percent).Feelings about health care have moved more toward disapproval, with overall net27.5 percent more disapproving (18.6 percent more approving, 46.1 moredisapproving). There’s a striking difference in the weight of disapproval betweenmen and women, with net 18.0 percent of men disapproving vs. net 37.0 percent ofwomen. More of the over-40 cohort than of the 18-to-39 cohort disapproves (net30.0 percent vs. net 23.7 percent).There was clear net disapproval of business and corporations,by a wide overall margin of 35.7 percent (12.7 percent moreapproving, 48.4 percent more disapproving). Significantlymore women than men netted out disapproving (31.0 percentof men, 40.6 percent of women); across the age divide, only aslightly lower net proportion of 18-to-39s than over-40s weremore disapproving of business and corporations (33.3 percentvs. 37.6 percent).Feelings about the economy and finance have shifted stronglynegative, with overall net 37.3 percent more disapproving(15.8 percent more approving and 53.1 percent more disapproving). Net greater disapprovalwas far larger among women than men (net 45.4 percent vs. net 29.4 percent). The younger18-to-39 cohort netted out with many disapproving, but the over-40s cohort was even morestrongly negative (net 34.1 percent and net 39.6 percent).
  • 33. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 33 Unemployment rate Jan. 2008-Jan. 2010Unemployment Rate (in Percent)1210 8 6 4 2 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D J 2008 2009 2010 SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • 34. 34 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTAPPROVAL, PART IIIn Brief: In other areas of general interest, there was a tendency toward disapproval, in keeping with the generally downand negative mood.Compared with the past 12 to 18 months, please rate your current feeling about the listed areas. Net figures (positive=more approving, negative=more disapproving) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Internet 15.2% 22.8% 7.8% 14.8% 15.2% News in general -5.0% -1.0% -8.9% -9.6% -2.4% Television -11.6% -14.5% -8.9% -2.2% -17.2% Celebrities -36.5% -45.3% -27.6% -22.2% -44.4%Against the tide of disapproval, feelings about the Internet are more approving on balance. The overall more approvingmargin was 15.2 percent (13.8 percent less approving, 29.0 percent more approving); it was far wider among men thanamong women (22.8 percent vs. 7.8 percent). Both the younger and the older cohorts netted out more approving, withsimilar margins (14.8 percent and 15.2 percent).For news in general, feelings of disapproval prevailed by a margin of 5.0 percent (more approving, 19.1 percent; moredisapproving, 24.1 percent). More women than men felt disapproving (men net 1.0 percent, women net 8.9 percent). Themargin of disapproval was wider among the 18-to-39s than among the over-40s (9.6 percent vs. 2.4 percent).The margin of disapproval for television was a slightly wider 11.6 percent (16.9 percent more approving, 28.5 percentmore disapproving). Men netted out more disapproving than women with a margin of 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent. Theyounger cohort was only marginally more disapproving, by 2.2 percent, whereas the margin was much wider with the oldercohort (17.2 percent).The clearest negative feelings were focused on celebrities. Overall, net disapproval was 36.5 percent (just 7.0 percent moreapproving and 43.5 percent less approving). Net disapproval was particularly strong among men (45.3 percent) butamong women, too (27.6 percent). Disapproval was strong among the 18-to-39s (net 22.2 percent) but much stronger—with net twice as many—among the over-40s (44.4 percent).
  • 35. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 35 People right now are less pessimistic about the overall economy…than they were a year ago. But when we ask about their personal finances, they have seen no improvement. Scott Rasmussen (of Rasmussen Reports) on Fox Business
  • 36. 36 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTMEDIAATTENTION PAID TO MEDIA ABOUT POLITICSIn Brief: Traditional media reporting channels still get a lot of Americans’ attention for following politics.With regard to politics, please indicate how much attention you pay to the following media andinformation sources in your local area. Net figures (positive=pay attention, negative=ignore) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Local TV reporting 30.5% 26.8% 34.4% 25.2% 33.2% Local press reporting (paper or online) 20.9% 22.7% 19.3% 7.4% 28.4% Local press columnists (paper or online) 2.3% 6.7% -2.2% -9.6% 8.4% Local TV advertising -7.5% -4.1% -10.9% -3.0% -10.4% Local press advertising (paper or online) -8.0% -2.1% -14.0% -3.7% -10.4%Local TV reporting got the most attention for political information, with a net positive margin of 30.5 percent(45.8 percent do pay attention, 15.3 percent don’t). The net positive margin was bigger for women than for men (34.4 percentvs. 26.8 percent), and it was similarly bigger for over-40s than for 18-to-39s (33.2 percent vs. 25.2 percent).Local press reporting (paper or online) got less attention paid to it, but the margin was still positive with net 20.9 percent(39.3 percent do, 18.4 percent don’t). In contrast with local TV, the margin of attention was higher among men thanamong women (22.7 percent vs. 19.3 percent). Across the generation divide, the margin of attention was almost four timesas great with over-40s than with 18-to-39s (28.4 percent vs. 7.4 percent).
  • 37. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 37 Reporting from Detroit—On the city’s east side, where auto workers once assembled cars by the millions, nature is taking back the land. Cottonwood trees grow through thecollapsed roofs of homes stripped clean forscrap metal. Wild grasses carpet the rustyshells of empty factories, now home topheasants and wild turkeys.... “There’s somuch land available and it’s begging to be used,” said Michael Score, president of the Hantz Farms, which is buying up abandoned sections of the city’s 139- square-mile landscape and plans to transform them into a large-scale commercial farm enterprise. P.J. Huffstutter The Los Angeles Times
  • 38. 38 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT“You are sitting in the deconstruction ofthe American Dream,” he says, indicatingBaltimore. “Which is to say there was afundamental myth that if you were willing towork hard, support your family, stay away fromshit that ain’t good for you, you’d do all right. Youdidn’t have to be the smartest guy in the room. Thedream wasn’t that everyone could get rich. It wasthat everyone gets to make a living and see thegame on Saturday, and maybe, with the help of agovernment loan or two, your kid’ll go to college.”His anger is wide-reaching: deprivation inBaltimore, imaginary WMDs in Iraq and WallStreet scandals are all part of the samebetrayal—of capitalist institutions “sellingpeople shit and calling it gold.” Interview with David Simon, creatorof HBO’s “The Wire,” in The Guardian
  • 39. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 39Attention was evenly divided for local press columnists (paper or online); 27.5 percent overall paid no attention to them,but 29.8 percent did, making for a slight positive margin of 2.3 percent. More men than women paid attention (netpositive 6.7 percent vs. net negative 2.2 percent), but the biggest gap was across the generation divide; there was a netignore of 9.6 percent from the 18-to-39s but net attention of 8.4 from the over-40s.Local TV advertising and local press advertising netted out ignored, with negative margins of 7.5 percent and 8.0 percent,respectively. With TV, there was a balance of those who pay attention (24.9 percent) and those who ignore it(32.4 percent). The margin is tighter with men than with women (net 4.1 percent of men ignore, net 10.9 percent ofwomen ignore). The divide between men and women was even bigger with local press advertising; men tended to ignore it,by a narrow net margin of 2.1 percent (30.9 percent pay attention, 33.0 percent ignore), but the margin was a muchwider 14.0 percent among women (18.8 percent pay attention, 32.8 percent ignore).OTHER CHANNELS OF POLITICAL INFORMATIONIn Brief: Beyond the traditional media, far fewer Americans paid attention to other sources of information with regard topolitics. Social media in particular scored very low in this American cross-section.With regard to politics, please indicate how much attention you pay to the following media andinformation sources in your local area. Net figures (positive=pay attention, negative=ignore) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Community leaders (e.g., faith leaders) -19.4% -17.0% -21.8% -14.1% -22.8% Town hall meetings -19.7% -11.4% -28.2% -27.4% -16.0% Fliers and newssheets -25.1% -22.7% -27.6% -22.2% -27.2% Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, other social networks) -37.8% -35.5% -40.2% -4.4% -56.0% Local bloggers and discussion forums -54.5% -46.9% -62.1% -35.6% -64.8%A quick glance at the table shows clear net attention negatives for the five sources ofinformation listed. In this context, it offers more information to zoom in on the minoritieswho do pay attention to them.With community leaders, 20.2 percent overall said they pay attention; it was 21.2 percentamong men and a slightly lower 19.3 percent among women. Among the 18-to-39 cohort, itwas 18.5 percent, and for the over-40s a slightly bigger 20.8 percent.Although the overall margin was similar for town hall meetings, the breakdown wasdifferent. Overall, 20.2 percent pay attention, with 23.7 percent of men but only16.6 percent of women. In the young cohort, only 12.6 percent pay attention, while24.0 percent of the over-40s cohort do.Social media such as Facebook and Twitter netted out with a wide negative margin of37.8 percent. Overall, similar percentages of men and women did pay attention to them(16.5 percent and 16.1 percent); not surprisingly, a higher proportion of 18-to-39s thanover-40s pay attention to social media for political information (25.2 percent vs.11.6 percent).Local bloggers and discussion forums scored even more negatively in terms of commandingattention, with a net negative margin of 54.5 percent. Just 9.2 percent of men and6.2 percent of women pay attention to them. Even among the 18-to-39s it was only11.9 percent, vs. 5.6 percent of the over-40s.
  • 40. 40 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORTThe Great Panic of 2008 may havedestroyed blind optimism. But ifexcessive optimism was the near-fatalpose in 2008, blind pessimism has emergedas the reflexive post-bust crouch. And it hasled the economic establishment to miss yetanother inflection point. While we werewringing our hands about America’s financialand industrial crisis, we ignored a parallelnarrative that was emerging: the repairingof balance sheets, an embrace of reality, anascent recovery. The same folks whochased the recession down now arelikely to chase the recovery up. Daniel Gross Slate
  • 41. WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT 41MEDIA EXPECTATIONSIn Brief: The balance of sentiment toward the media outlook was decidedly negative. As in other areas, women netted outmore negative than men, and the over-40s were more negative than the 18-to-39s.Looking ahead, what are your expectations for the following institutions, offices and functions withregard to the business environment where you live? Net figures (positive expectations minus negative expectations) Total Male Female 18-39 Over 40 N= 386 194 192 136 250 Internet and social media 7.3% 17.0% -2.6% 12.6% 4.0% Local TV -3.9% -7.2% -0.6% 0.7% -6.8% Local press -8.8% -4.2% -13.6% -2.2% -12.4% National TV -21.3% -22.6% -19.9% -12.6% -26.0% National press -27.0% -23.7% -30.3% -21.5% -30.4% Average of all rows above -10.7% -8.1% -13.4% -4.6% -14.3%Only Internet and social media enjoyed net positive expectations, with overall 7.3 percent (26.7 percent positive and19.4 percent negative). There was a wide difference, however, between men and women; men were net positive by a marginof 17.0 percent, while women were net negative by a margin of 2.6 percent.Expectations of local media were less negative than those of national media. Local TV netted a negative margin of3.9 percent; unusually, men were more net negative than women (net negative 7.2 percent vs. 0.6 percent). Negativeexpectations of local press were more pronounced, with an overall negative margin of 8.8 percent.Expectations of national media were far more negative. For national TV, the net negative margin was 21.3 percent(11.9 percent positive vs. 33.2 percent negative). The net negative from men was more pronounced than from women(net 22.6 percent net negative expectations vs. net 19.9 percent). For national press, the negative expectations were evenstronger, with an overall negative margin of 27.0 percent.
  • 42. 42 WHITE PAPER: U.S. MIND AND MOOD REPORT FOOTNOTES 1 http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/great-recession-a-brief-etymology/ 2 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/opinion/05brooks.html 3 http://stats.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100217.htm PHOTO CREDITS Page 14: Page 28: creativecommons.org/by Jonathan Gill creativecommons.org/by dani0010 Cover: creativecommons.org/by laverrue Page 15: Page 29: creativecommons.org creativecommons.org/by borman818 Page 2: creativecommons.org/by Mike Licht, Page 16: Page 30: NotionsCapital.com creativecommons.org/by See-ming Lee creativecommons.org/by Alex E. Proimos Page 3: Page 17: Page 32: creativecommons.org/by phxpma creativecommons.org/by Napalm creativecommons.org/by isafmedia; filled tires creativecommons.org/by US Army Africa; Page 4: creativecommons.org/by svanksalot (from top) Page 18: creativecommons.org/by SomeDriftwood; (from left) Page 33: creativecommons.org/by Ed Yourdon creativecommons.org/by Sue E; creativecommons.org/by aflcio creativecommons.org/by Page 5: stuff_and_nonsense Page 34: creativecommons.org/by Jason Dunnivant creativecommons.org/by Mr. Thomas Page 19: Page 6: creativecommons.org/by RyAwesome Page 35: (from top) creativecommons.org/by creativecommons.org/by leoncillo Page 20: MajoraCarterGroup sabino; creativecommons.org/by creativecommons.org/by Ed Yourdon Bolobilly Page 36: Page 22: creativecommons.org/by TheeErin Page 7: (from top) (from top) creativecommons.org/by Jdebner; Page 37: creativecommons.org/by FaceMePLS; creativecommons.org/by CarbonNYC creativecommons.org/by Bob Jagendorf creativecommons.org/by erix! Page 23: Page 38: Page 8: creativecommons.org/by dsb nola creativecommons.org/by shadowhound (from top) creativecommons.org/by Andrew Page 24: Page 39: Ciscel; creativecommons.org/by creativecommons.org/by quinn.anya creativecommons.org/by Ed Yourdon, AfghanistanMatters by ilamant.com Page 25: Page 9: (from top) Page 40: creativecommons.org/by Stan creativecommons.org/by Joi; creativecommons.org/by dani0010 creativecommons.org/by @boetter; Page 10: creativecommons.org/by believekevin Page 41: creativecommons.org/by ajagendorf2 creativecommons.org/by Page 26: williambrawley Page 11: creativecommons.org/by mark hillary creativecommons.org/by got80s Page 27: Page 12: (clockwise from left) creativecommons.org/by got80s creativecommons.org/by quinn anaya; creativecommons.org/by lasr Plougmann; Page 13: creativecommons.org/by Moriza; (from top) creativecommons.org/by markhillary; creativecommons.org/by Strocchi; creativecommons.org/by Ollie Crafoord; creativecommons.org/by .ygor; creativecommons.org/by kivanja; creativecommons.org/by Jonathan Gill creativecommons.org/by SimonDoggett
  • 43. This white paper is the third in a series of thought leadership pursuits by Euro RSCG Worldwide. In October 2009, Euro RSCG Worldwide commissioned a survey to map the trajectory of social life and social media usage in the United States, quizzing 1,228 Americans from all online demographics. A white paper looked at the macro developments in social media; it also brought in numbers and verbatims about people’s hopes for their social life online and offline before finally drawing conclusions and implications for marketers and their clients. Our company conducted an additional survey of 600Americans about social media and health care. We presented our findings at an FDAhearing on promoting FDA-regulated medical products online and through social media.To get a copy of the white paper, please go to eurorscgsocial.com.Shortly thereafter, seeking to better understand how teen girls spend, socialize andcommunicate, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR commissioned a survey of 100 teenage girlsnationwide age 13 to 18. A white paper that we debuted in March 2010 presented theproprietary study’s findings in the context of today’s communications and business worldsas they are increasingly dominated by social and other digital media. We are using theinformation we gathered to launch an agency within an agency. By, for and about womenand girls (we’re launching with teens), The Sisterhood is an insight group to help definethe teenage female consumer’s ideas in fashion and beyond. To get a copy of the whitepaper, please go to forsistersbysisters.com.And Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and Euro RSCG Life, the health-focused communicationsnetwork of Euro RSCG Worldwide, commissioned the online “mood monitor” survey of386 Americans in February 2010 that has led to this white paper. The survey showed thatpeople’s interest in a raft of weighty matters had grown in the previous 12 to 18 months.And on many points, particularly related to money, Americans tended to net out far morepessimistic than optimistic on subjects such as quality of life, employment, real estate andschools. Euro commissioned a similar poll in the bellwether state of Connecticut.Through such studies, we are compiling valuable statistical and anecdotal informationabout topics—all with social media components—that are not only imperative to ourclients and our own growth but are also driving news about the future. The studies areplaces to listen and learn. They’re driving social momentum for companies, brands andcauses. They’re satisfying the new value exchange, where consumers want brands thatlisten, converse and enable them.Please join us in the conversation.Mar ian SalzmanPresidentEuro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America200 Madison Avenue, 2nd floorNew York, NY 10016http://www.eurorscgpr.comP: 212-367-6811E: marian.salzman@eurorscg.com