59% of Respondents Disagree with the Statement "Greed Is Good"...

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And speaking of surveys, Harris Interactive just came out with a poll (1,016 U.S. adults, surveyed between April 4 and 10, 2006) about public perception of Wall Street. For the most part, Harris spins the poll positively--"Majority of U.S. Adults Say Wall Street Benefits the Country"--but most of America also seems to believe that Wall Street has a certain moral, shall we say, flexibility that the rest of the country doesn't have. For example:
$$$ 65% say most people on Wall Street would be willing to break the law if they believed they could make a lot of money and get away with it. (3% weren't sure.)
$$$ 60% say Wall Street is dominated by greed and selfishness. (3% weren't sure.)
$$$ 54% disagree with the statement "In general people on Wall Street are as honest and moral as other people." (4% weren't sure.)
$$$ 56% disagree with the statement "Most successful people on Wall Street deserve to make the kind of money they earn." (4% weren't sure.)
Our conclusion: a slight majority of U.S. adults think Wall Street is more corrupt, selfish and less deserving of its wealth than the rest of the country. (But 4% of us aren't sure.)
Middle America obviously watches too much TV.
Full release after the jump


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Majority of U.S. Adults Say Wall Street Benefits the Country
Though majorities also agree that Wall Street is dominated by greed and only
cares about making money
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - May 3, 2006 - Almost three-quarters (73%) of U.S. adults say
that Wall Street and what it does benefits the country (22 percent say it
benefits the country "a lot", half (51%) say "somewhat"). This compares to less
than one-quarter (23%) who say it harms the country (17% say "somewhat", 6% say
"a lot"). This overall perception of Wall Street is slightly better than it was
three years ago, when 68 percent said it benefited the country and only 16
percent said Wall Street harmed the country. Yet, it is still down from the
all-time high in 1997 when 80 percent of adults said Wall Street benefited the
country.
These are some of the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by
Harris Interactive® among 1,016 U.S. adults between April 4 and 10, 2006.
Seven in ten (71%) adults agree that Wall Street is essential because it
provides the money businesses must have for investments. This sentiment is up
from the 62 percent who agreed with this in 2003. Although many U.S. adults
acknowledge that Wall Street is essential, three in five (60%) do not agree
that, in general, what is good for Wall Street is good for the country. This
feeling is up 13 percentage points from 2003.
Almost two-thirds of adults (63%) agree that most people on Wall Street would be
willing to break the law if they believed they could make a lot of money and get
away with it, while 60 percent agree that Wall Street is dominated by greed and
selfishness. These numbers are each up nine percentage points from 2003. This
"it's all about the money" attitude is extended as 59 percent of adults agree
that Wall Street only cares about making money and absolutely nothing else, a
rise of six percentage points from 2003.
When asked if they agree or disagree that in general, people on Wall Street are
as honest and moral as other people, over half (54%) of adults disagree, while
41 percent agree. This theme continues, as 56 percent disagree that most
successful people on Wall Street deserve to make the kind of money they earn,
with only 40 percent agreeing.
TABLE 1
OVERALL IMPACT OF WALL STREET ON THE NATION
TRENDS 1996 TO 2006
"Overall, would you say that Wall Street and what it does, benefits the country
a lot, benefits it somewhat, harms it somewhat or harms the country a lot?"
Base: All adults

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2002

2003

2006

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Benefits (Net)

70

80

73

72

69

66

68

73

Benefits country a lot

19

27

22

24

22

23

24

22

Benefits country somewhat

51

53

51

48

47

43

44

51

Harms (Net)

22

13

19

15

16

24

16

23

Harms country somewhat

16

10

16

11

13

17

11

17

Harms country a lot

6

3

3

3

3

7

5

6

Neither benefits nor harms (vol.)

1

2

2

3

2

3

2

1

Not sure/Refused

7

5

6

10

13

7

13

4

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.
TABLE 2
AGREEMENT/DISAGREEMENT WITH SEVEN STATEMENTS ABOUT WALL STREET - TRENDS
"Please say if you tend to agree or disagree with the following statements about
Wall Street."
Base: All adults

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.
TABLE 2 (CONT.)
AGREEMENT/DISAGREEMENT WITH SEVEN STATEMENTS ABOUT WALL STREET - TRENDS
"Please say if you tend to agree or disagree with the following statements about
Wall Street."
Base: All adults

* Not asked in 1996
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.
Methodology
The Harris Poll® was conducted by telephone within the United States between
April 4 and 10, 2006 among a nationwide cross section of 1,016 adults (aged 18
and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, and region were weighted where
necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling
error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error
due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally
inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects
(when live interviewers are used) and weighting.
With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result
cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin
of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.
With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible
to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of
error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 1,016
adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have
a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. However that does not take other
sources of error into account.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council
on Public Polls.
J27129A
Q609, 611
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New
York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the
world, most widely known for The Harris Poll® and for its pioneering leadership
in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for
delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends
the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to
deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.
Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe (
www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary
Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global
network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
To become a member of the Harris Poll OnlineSM and be invited to participate in
future online surveys, go to www.harrispollonline.com.
Press Contact:
Jennifer Cummings
Harris Interactive
585-214-XXXX
Harris Interactive Inc. 05/06

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