Surprising consumer optimism detected


Pew’s Economic Mobility Project commissioned a pair of research companyes to take the pulse of the American public and found that an overwhelming majority still expect to enjoy the fruits of upward mobility – even if it won’t be in the near future. According to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, almost eight of ten consumers “believe it is still possible to improve their economic standing and remain optimistic that their family’s economic circumstances will improve within their lifetime and across generations.”

Perhaps the most encouraging result of the study is that the optimism is a demo-buster – it cuts ethnic and economic divides.  And although they favor government assistance in some ways, like improving access to education, respondents also put the onus on themselves, saying that good things will happen to those who study, work hard and carefully manage their own finances.

The survey produced at least one counter-intuitive result, discovering that most favored government action which improved chances to climb the stairway in general rather than action aimed at any particular ethnic group. At the same time, the most optimistic demos where key minorities, with African-Americans 85% sure they’ll be better off in 10 years, followed by Hispanics at 77% and Whites at a mere 71%.

RBR/TVBR observation: Clearly the extreme nature of current events in recent months has grabbed public attention in ways we haven’t seen for decades. People are paying attention, and both the desire and expectation of good economic news is becoming a gigantic keg of dry powder just waiting for a spark to bring forth an explosion of good old American consumerism and the economic sonic boom that will accompany it. Now if we can just figure out how to generate that spark…