The Crisis of Credit Visualized

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Money, Value Added

Today’s turbulent economic times are enough to make even the most financially-minded person’s head spin!  If you’re looking to better understand the factors contributing to today’s recession, Interaction and Media Designer Jonathan Jarvis has broken down this complex issue through the use of animated graphics and audio narration.  In “The Crisis of Credit Visualized,” Jarvis tells a simple story of how American society got itself into this financial mess.  Jarvis’ work is also one of 27 visualizations and infographics has compiled to help the average person break through the web of confusion surrounding today’s economy.

The Wrong Crowd

There is a crisis of public confidence in America’s business institutions.  A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll shows a majority of Americans give Corporate America failing grades for ethics and honesty and most think business executives check their ethical standards at the door.  The public believes excessive executive salaries, exaggerated claims about products or services, dishonesty to employees, improper accounting practices, or falsifying of records is common corporate practice.  Ironically, many business executives agree.

Barbara Carvalho

Barbara Carvalho

This translates into a dim view of corporate culture that has put personal advancement and private gain ahead of prudent business practice, support for employees, and the public good.

The financial bailout hopes to reverse the downward spiral of the country’s financial institutions. But, there is a critical need to restore trust in a culture that, right now, is characterized by Bernie Madoff and those who cling to “bonus as usual” even as they experience a sea change of epic proportions.

How could this happen?  Was it fearless fraudsters never thinking they would get caught — a system not providing the proper restraint — or, was it, as our school teachers warned, what happens when you hang around with the wrong crowd?

Interestingly, a study by researchers Francesca Gino, Shahar Ayal, and Dan Ariely published in the March issue of Psychological Science attempts to illuminate our understanding of what makes people cheat.  In the experiments, college students were asked to solve a set of mathematical exercises in a very short period of time.  It was an impossible task to complete.  The students were provided with a monetary reward.  They were to pay themselves a set amount for each correct answer and return the balance of the money for incorrect or incomplete answers.

But, that was only the setup.  As the students focused on the task at hand, a hired actor stood up and said, “I’ve solved everything.  What should I do?”  The experimenter reminded him about the procedure.  When the actor finished he said, “I solved everything.  My envelope for the unearned money is empty.  What should I do with it?”  The experimenter replied, “If you don’t have money to return, you have finished and are free to go.”

What impact did the cheater have on the rest of the group?  Well, it depends.  When the other students thought the actor was part of their group, cheating increased.  When the actor wore the t-shirt of a rival school and was considered an outsider, cheating decreased.

The study illustrates how ethical climate and culture influence whether or not people participate in unethical behavior.  In other words, the research suggests that the fear of getting caught may have a lot less to do with why people cheat.

Rather, the authors conclude, “Healthy work and social environments depend on the ability of individuals (e.g., leaders and other role models) to spread ethical norms and values, while reducing the attractiveness of unethical misconduct, either through appropriate sanctioning rules or through an ethical culture…relatively minor acts of dishonesty by in-group members can have a large influence on the extent of dishonesty…”

The bad news is how easily we may be swayed by the judgment of others.  So, for the current economic debacle, there is plenty of blame to go around.  The good news is that most people don’t cheat.  Strong, ethical leadership which rewards values of honesty and good conscience and demonizes unethical behavior can rule the day.  It can also go a long way toward digging us out of this economic quagmire.

Psychological Science
Contagion and Differentiation in Unethical Behavior: The Effect of One Bad Apple on the Barrel

Freefall! Paterson’s Approval Rating Plummets

New Yorkers are sending a strong message to Governor David Paterson, “Shape Up!”  Just 26% of registered voters report the governor is doing either an excellent or good job in office.  That’s a drop of 20 percentage points since the Marist Poll last asked this question at the end of January.  In fact, Governor Paterson’s approval rating is the lowest approval rating a New York State governor has received in the Marist Poll’s nearly thirty year history of statewide surveys.


New York State

Has the Governor Lost Favor Within His Own Party?

Here’s the party breakdown.  Among registered Democrats in New York State, 30% think Paterson is doing an above average job while 65% disagree.  Across the aisle, Republicans also overwhelmingly disapprove of Paterson’s performance.  Just 26% of members of New York’s GOP approve of the job Paterson is doing as governor while 72% think he is doing a fair or poor job.  Only 20% of non-enrolled voters agree that Paterson is doing well in the position.

Opinions across the state are consistently low.  24% of upstate voters approve of the job Paterson is doing as governor.  26% of suburban voters say he is doing an above average job, and 30% of New York City voters share this position.

Paterson’s Approval Rating Table

Hard Working and In Touch, But Paterson Fails to Make the Grade as a Leader

The good news for Governor Paterson: 77% of New Yorkers believe he is working hard as governor, and 62% say Paterson understands the problems of New Yorkers.  In addition, half of the electorate thinks he cares about the average New Yorker.  The bad news: 44% say Governor Paterson represents all regions of the state, and only 39% think the governor is a good leader.  Even fewer voters — 32% — believe the governor is changing how things work in Albany for the better.

Paterson Is Working Hard As Governor Table
Paterson Understands the Problems Facing NYS Table
Paterson Cares About People Like You Table
Paterson Represents All Regions of the State Table
Paterson Is a Good Leader for NYS Table
Paterson Is Changing the Way Things Work In Albany for the Better Table

Embattled Over Budget and Economic Crisis

Nearly six in ten registered voters in New York State — 59% — report they’re dissatisfied with how Governor Paterson is handling the state’s budget while just 30% approve of how the governor is managing the state’s financial affairs. In January, voters divided over Paterson’s budgetary actions. Looking at the state’s economic crisis overall, 56% of voters disapprove of the way Paterson is addressing the problem.

Paterson Handling Budget Table
Paterson Handling Economic Crisis Table
For full press release
Marist Poll Methodology

The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff comments on Paterson’s popularity:

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Muddied Outlook for Paterson in 2010

When pitted against hypothetical opponents in next year’s bid for governor, Governor David Paterson is far from the frontrunner.  In fact, a majority of registered voters in New York State say they would rather vote for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani if the election were held today. 53% would support the Republican compared with 38% who report they would back Paterson, the Democrat.  Paterson continues to lose ground against Giuliani.  The two were in a statistical dead heat when Marist last asked this question in January.  In November, Paterson maintained a healthy edge against Giuliani — 51% to 41%.



The governor fares better when placed up against former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio.  However, a notable proportion of New York voters are undecided when the two are head-to-head.  While 47% say they would support the governor, 35% report they would vote for Lazio.  An additional 18% are unsure about who would receive their vote.

Paterson/Giuliani 2010 Matchup Table
Paterson/Lazio 2010 Matchup Table
An Open Field?

How does the race shape up if Governor Paterson isn’t the Democratic candidate?  Here are a couple of scenarios:

  • If Republican Rick Lazio were to campaign against Democratic New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Cuomo would defeat his Republican opponent hands down.  71% of the state’s electorate report they would back Cuomo while just 20% would vote for Lazio.
  • Cuomo doesn’t do quite as well against Rudy Giuliani, yet he still receives majority support and has a wide lead against the former mayor.  56% of voters report Cuomo would be their candidate of choice in this hypothetical matchup.  This compares with 39% who would cast their ballot for Giuliani.

Cuomo/Lazio 2010 Matchup Table
Cuomo/Giuliani 2010 Matchup Table

Party’s Over for Paterson? Cuomo’s Our Man, Say NYS Democrats

If next year’s Democratic primary for governor were held today, Governor David Paterson would not be his party’s nominee. In fact, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo receives more than double the support of New York State Democrats than does Paterson. 62% of Democrats in New York State say they would support Cuomo while just 26% would back Paterson. Across the aisle, there’s little question about whom Republicans would want on the ballot. 78% of New York’s GOP say Rudy Giuliani is the best man for the job. Just 17% of Republicans think Rick Lazio is the candidate to turn the state around.

2010 Democratic Primary Table
2010 Republican Primary Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

New Yorkers Approve of Obama’s Performance

New York voters are giving President Barack Obama high marks for his time on the job. With less than two months in office, 68% of the state’s electorate says President Obama is doing either an excellent or good job in office. That’s up from the 60% who felt that way in January. Currently, only 13% feel Obama is doing a poor job.

Obama Approval Rating Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

“Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!” Say NY State Voters

Simply put, 65% of the state’s electorate is not happy with the trajectory of New York State. That’s compared with 27% of voters who say the Empire State is moving along the right path.



Large proportions of Republican and non-enrolled voters — 79% and 70%, respectively — believe the state needs to be turned around. Although fewer Democrats share this view, a majority — 53% — thinks New York is on the wrong track. More upstate New Yorkers — 71% — are unhappy with the state’s course compared with other regions in New York. 64% of the suburban electorate and 56% of voters in New York City agree. Voters are less optimistic than they were less than five months ago when the Marist Poll last asked this question. In October, 57% of the overall electorate felt New York was moving in the wrong direction.

NYS Direction Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli Makes Inroads

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under NY State, NY State Poll Archive, Politics

33% of registered voters in New York State say Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is doing either an excellent or good job in office. In a Marist Poll conducted in October, 26% of voters approved of DiNapoli’s performance. 48% were unsure how to rate him at that time compared with 31% currently.

DiNapoli Approval Rating Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

Will Gillibrand Be Elected in Her Own Right?


New York’s newly appointed junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been in office for a little over a month, and New Yorkers just don’t know what to make of her. Half of the state’s electorate reports they are unsure about the job Senator Gillibrand is doing in office while 18% think Gillibrand is doing either an excellent or good job. 32% feel she is faring below average. The state’s uncertainty spans party lines and regional divides.

Gillibrand Approval Rating Table

If the 2010 Election for U.S. Senate Were Held Today…

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would lead Long Island Congressman Peter King — 49% to 28%. She faces more fierce competition, though, from former New York Governor George Pataki where the two are neck-and-neck. Gillibrand receives 45% of voters’ support compared with 41% for Pataki. In both scenarios, none of the candidates have gained nor lost ground since Marist’s previous survey in January.

2010 Gillibrand/King Matchup Table
2010 Gillibrand/Pataki Matchup Table

No Guarantees for Gillibrand in Democratic Primary…Pataki Fares Well Against King in Hypothetical Senate GOP Matchups

If next year’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in New York were held today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would find a tough adversary in U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy. The two are in a statistical dead heat with Gillibrand receiving 36% of New York Democrats’ support and McCarthy garnering 33% of the vote. A large proportion of Democrats — 31% — are undecided. On the Republican side, members of the GOP would support former New York Governor George Pataki over Long Island Congressman Peter King in the Republican primary. Pataki bests King 56% to 32%, respectively.

2010 Democratic Primary Matchup Table
2010 Republican Primary Matchup Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff comments on Gillibrand:

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AG Cuomo’s Approval Rating Spikes to 71%


Andrew Cuomo

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating has jumped 21 percentage points since the Marist Poll last asked this question in October. Cuomo’s approval rating had slipped at that time. However, now, 71% of registered voters in New York State say Cuomo is doing either an excellent or good job in office. Less than one-quarter of the state’s electorate — 23% — gives Cuomo below average marks.

Cuomo Approval Rating Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

See related: Muddied Outlook for Paterson in 2010 Gubernatorial Race

Schumer Stands Steady

schumercharles_150The political landscape remains friendly for Senator Charles Schumer.  57% of voters report New York’s senior senator is doing either an excellent or good job in office. Schumer has consistently achieved a favorable approval rating from at least half of the state’s electorate since December 2001.

Schumer Approval Rating Table

For full press release

Marist Poll Methodology

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