Research

SDIPR/Competitive Edge Research Opinion Barometer January 2007

Opinion Barometer January 2007

Public’s Knowledge of Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans is Meager; But Supports Shifting City Workers to Defined Contribution Plans

About half the City’s non-retirees say they are not good at retirement planning and two-thirds do not know what defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans are. But that does not stop most residents – once they are made aware of the distinctions between the types of plans – from weighing in on whether the City should shift its employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. About half say the change should be made (32% strongly) while only 37% think the defined benefit plan should remain. One reason a defined contribution plan is supported: 40% now expect to rely on defined contribution plans or IRAs in their retirement; only 12% rely on defined benefit plans.

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City’s Fiscal Situation Dire, But Citizens Place Hope in Mayor Sanders

Most San Diegans believe the City is in bad financial shape. Fifty-eight percent think things are looking gloomy — 32% term the fiscal situation “very bad” — and a whopping 77% do not believe things on the financial front are improving. Despite that, more than half do believe the City is on the right track and citizens generally believe they have the right Mayor in place to deal with the situation. Seventy-one percent approve of the way Mayor Jerry Sanders is doing his job — a percentage this City has not seen since early in Mayor Dick Murphy’s term.

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Fixing San Diego While City Finances are Top Concern

With budget and financial issues topping the list of San Diegan’s concerns, residents tend to favor putting more power in the hands of the Mayor. A majority favor upping to six the number of votes needed to override a Mayoral veto as well as making the recently adopted “strong Mayor” form of government permanent. How would citizens deal with the financial crisis if they had decision-making power? “Sell, sell, sell” seems to be the current mantra. Most residents believe selling City assets has merit while few would drastically cut city services. Our survey also shows a resurgent crime problem and that pay for public safety is an emerging issue.

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Most San Diegans are Regular Wal-Mart Shoppers; Think Wal-Mart is Good for the Community; Disagree with City Council

In the City of San Diego alone, Wal-Mart enjoys a regular clientele in excess of half a million adults. Fifty-four percent visit a Wal-Mart store at least once per month and nearly one-in-five residents shop there weekly. Only 14% have never shopped at a Wal-Mart. Shopping frequency breaks down startlingly along racial lines.

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About the SDIPR/Competitive Edge Opinion Barometer

This survey was conducted by Competitive Edge Research & Communication (CERC) in conjunction with the San Diego Institute for Policy Research (SDIPR). SDIPR jointly determined the issues to be covered in this survey. SDIPR provided CERC with background information on the issues contained in the questionnaire and both entities discussed the topics in order to produce an effective questionnaire. Final responsibility for all questions, the data collection and the analysis presented herein rests with CERC.

These findings are based on a random sample of 503 City of San Diego residents. The interviewing was conducted January 3rd through the 6th in English and Spanish from CERC’s San Diego facility. Professional interviewers were trained for this specific project. The duration of the average interview was 16 minutes. The random digit dial sample was provided by Scientific Telephone Samples of Foothill Ranch, CA. After collecting the data, results were weighted on the voter registration, gender and age variables to CERC’s estimates of the overall San Diego City population gathered from the US Census and the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

Sampling Error

According to statistical theory, the confidence level associated with a sample of this type is such that, with a question where the respondents answer 50% “yes” and 50% “no,” 95% of the time the results are within plus or minus 4.4% of the true value, where true value refers to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every possible qualified respondent. The degree of error is reduced when responses have larger (e.g. 60%-40%, 70%-30%) percentage differences. Conversely, the margin of error increases when a subset of the entire 503 responses is analyzed.

In addition to error introduced by sampling variability, there are many other possible sources of bias such as how a question is worded, the question sequence, or individual interviewer techniques. Competitive Edge does everything in its power to minimize these potential sources of bias.

A survey of this type is a good measure of current attitudes that may change over time. This survey should not necessarily serve as an unqualified predictor of events, but, as an indicator to the situation in early January, 2007.

Media contact:
John Nienstedt 619-702-2372 x1