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Poll Shows Recent Events Have Dealt Major Blow To Wealthy Americans' Confidence In Key Institutions

Posted by: Jon Fine on September 28, 2008

Market Research firm The Harrison Group, in conjunction with tv-station-for-the-richies Plum TV, are about to release a poll that shows recent events have significantly shaken wealthy Americans’ faith in key financial institutions.

According to a PowerPoint document I saw that summarized the poll’s results, 60% of respondents reported they have “lost faith in the integrity of financial service institutions.” Additionally, 37% lost faith in the Federal Reserve, and 34% lost faith in the US Treasury. And only 37% believe “this will be a short recession.”

(Here is where I put on the pedant’s hat and remind everyone that, technically, we are not even in a recession yet.)

The poll of 614 respondents, screened to represent America's top 10% in demographic terms, was conducted between Sept 19 and Sept 23—or right during the time news of the US government’s $700 billion bailout first reverberated. The respondents reported having at least $100,000 in gross income per year once their property-related expenses are covered.

In fairness, I guess I should also mention that 83% of respondents reported being “in good shape” to make it through the current economic situation, and 53% said they had not cut back on “small luxuries for myself or my family.”

All the same, it strikes me as kind of amazing that more than a third of the respondents say they’ve lost faith in the US Treasury. (It's notionally amazing that well over half have lost faith in financial institutions, but, given everything, what else could you expect?) I have no idea if Harrison and Plum will conduct other versions of this poll over the coming months--the Presidential race has me, for good or ill, sort of expecting that every poll should be a tracking poll--but, if so, it will be very interesting to see if and how those perceptions change.

Reader Comments


September 29, 2008 8:57 AM

Seems like alot of people of lost faith in the Federal institutions that were suppose to protect them. The only thing left is "In God We Trust".


September 29, 2008 10:39 AM

While it's really arguable whether or not we're in a real recession or are experiencing real inflation due to statistics issues. Which is to say that I distrust the gov't statistics that say we aren't in a recession though you're correct in saying a recession has not been declared.

On the flipside, I have serious reservations about saying that this is an economic crisis and not a financial crisis. Wall St made terrible decisions that people were warning them about for years and years and now their companies have gone bankrupt. However I haven't seen any cutbacks in corporate spending or non-finance-related jobs. It's a bit early, but in the dotcom world the purse strings were cut pretty drastically after the 1999 and 2000 crashes and I'm not seeing this hear.

Let's kind of face this, the efforts of the United States worker have not diminished and the productivity is likely to continue successfully. The fundamentals of this economy are strong, just as the financial sector is weak. hoo boy, did I just write that out?


October 1, 2008 4:00 PM

It seems that all the news I hear from all media lately is the result of 'polls'. Has the media lost the ability to go out and get the news in detail? Or is their remaining skill going on the telephone to ask us what we think, then report it back to us as 'news'.

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