Another day, another survey:
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal today announced the results of the fourth Heartland Monitor, the latest release in a groundbreaking series of surveys that has delivered new insights on how Americans are navigating the post-recession economy, their faith in key institutions and their concerns about the future.
Like most of the others we've seen lately, this latest poll suggests that ordinary Americans are (still) not too happy about what they see going on around them. Here are some of the key points (italics mine):
- Almost half of consumers state they have made major cuts in spending, and 32 percent have withdrawn savings or pension funds to make ends meet. They also feel they are going it alone without much help from government or business.
- Fifty percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track - the highest percentage yet in the Heartland Monitor series. In addition, President Obama's job approval rating has dipped to its lowest position in the series, to 47 percent....
- Opinion on the administration's economic policies is divided, with Americans split over whether they have been ineffective while raising deficits (46 percent) or have prevented an even worse crisis and set the stage for recovery (43 percent).
- Collectively, elected officials were regarded as being out of touch with the concerns of everyday Americans: 80 percent said government officials had done a fair or poor job of addressing financial issues and 60 percent said banks, investment companies and major corporations were the main beneficiaries of federal action, as opposed to middle class and low-income individuals (17 percent). Respondents were evenly divided over whether this was an issue of design (48 percent) or poor execution (46 percent).
- Respondents maintained a cautious outlook about their own lives, with the country divided relatively closely between those who think their conditions will improve (37 percent), those who think they will worsen (20 percent), and a plurality who don't expect much change (41 percent).
Based on the attitudes reflected in the third bullet point (highlighted), I reckon it won't be long before many politicians decide that anti-Wall Street populism, not pay-for-play politics as usual, is their ticket to political survival.