ABC7 Listens Poll: Economy, retirement

Fifty-two percent told us they disapprove of authorizing the federal government to buy distressed loans from financial institutions. Most doubted or were unsure whether it would work.

Seventy-one percent described the nation's financial markets as "not sound," and six out of 10 said even the fundamentals of the economy are "not sound" right now.

Complete poll results and comments:

  • Poll results
  • Summary of key findings
  • Comments on retirement plans
  • Overall poll comments

    Seventy-eight percent told us they are "concerned" about their stocks and mutual funds, but most said they were not concerned about the money they have in banks.

    Fifty-three percent said they had suffered significant losses in their investment or retirement accounts. Twenty percent said they had moved into safer investments and almost one-third said they had altered their retirement plans.

    The ABC7 Listens polls are conducted by email and have a margin of error of about four percent, plus or minus.

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    Survey Background Facts

    Number of People Interviewed: 734 Bay Area Residents
    Interview Dates: September 19-21, 2008
    Conducted Online by: Hertz Research, Petaluma, CA

    How ABC7 Listens Polls are Conducted and Potential Sources of Error

    ABC7 Listens Polls are conducted by Hertz Research of Petaluma, California. The polls are conducted online among Bay Area residents who registered in advance to participate in the ABC7 Listens Polling program. In order to create samples as representative of the entire Bay Area population as possible, the results for each poll are statistically weighted using a variety of demographic factors provided by respondents during the registration process. These statistical weighting procedures also take into account differences between groups of people who tend to use or not use the Internet.

    Regardless of methodology, all polls are potentially affected by a number of factors that may influence their accuracy. A common source for survey inaccuracy is sampling error. The number of respondents largely determines sampling error. Statistical theory indicates that in the case of a poll with this sample size (734 Total Interviews), 95 percent of the time the results of a survey of this size would be the same as interviewing the entire population of the Bay Area, give or take approximately four percent. This is not a probability sample.

    However, other sources of error also can impact the accuracy of poll results conducted online and with other techniques. These include but are not limited to the percentage of the population choosing to participate, the likelihood a possible respondent is at home or connected to the Internet, the wording, and ordering of questions, and the techniques used to determine possible survey participants and likely voters. The cumulative impact of all of these potential sources of error is impossible to assess precisely.

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