Union Grove, AL (PressExposure) April 16, 2008 -- Dallas,TX,March,20,2008 -- The contest between government agencies, presidential hopefuls and the Wall Street pundits will continue over whether or not we are in a recession. However, there wonât be any conclusion until the final GDP numbers are recorded. Of course, there will be the great debate by the positional losers as to how the numbers were calculated and back in year 1981, 1991 or 2001 things were different because blah... blah..! Still the debate will continue until the experts find some other common ground to disagree about in order to preserve their column space at national journals as media experts.
Incidentally, after conducting a nationwide poll** during March 12-14, 2008 of 509 random consumers, our results revealed that less than half knew what the word recession meant. Our poll question was open-ended and very simple - âIn one sentence - what is a recession?â
The answers were complex; 16% said it was a temporary reduction in consumer spending; 22% said it was just like a depression but different and couldnât explain the difference; 39% thought that it had something to do with improvements in physical health and the remainder (22%) gave answers that indicated they didnât know. So in perspective, nearly 2/3 of all consumers donât understand the word recession.
The best definition we feel we received was from a mall shopper in Dayton, Ohio who we actually thought had all the answers. âA recession is a period of time when we take a break from shopping and save a little extra money so we can start shopping all over again.â What a unique summary!
As we followed up with a question line, our consumer thought that we were near a recession and that it was about time for things to get better. When asked why the turnaround, our consumer said, early income tax filers were starting to receive over payment checks and the âBUSH BONUSâ would find itâs way out of the consumers wallet in a hurry. When asked what the consumer would be buying, our shopper said electronic services and gadgets with a web cam being on top of her list.
Unfortunately, journalists feel that the population knows the meaning of everyday news reports. Whatâs our point? Most of the time news reports go over the top of the publicâs head as evidenced by our simple poll using the word recession. The TV ratings of prime time news demonstrate that people turn to talk radio and cable news because the narrative is interactive, simple and in plain English that everyone understands. Weâre still waiting for the mass media to get the message --- contribution by H. Richard Oprinski, Chief Investment Officer
** all actual poll data are available by request