Why Americans Love the Computer Industry and Hate the Government


Gallup reports that among 25 industries rated by Americans, respondents give the computer industry more positive rankings than any other. That observation comes without explanation. But it may be as simple as the fact that not only do almost all Americans have PCs, but those PCs work. Personal computers may be commodities in most cases with the possible exceptions of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) Macs, but for the relatively simple tasks most people use them for they are efficient and, because of good operating systems, easy to use.

The "ease of use" argument extends to the industries Americans rate unfavorably - the federal government and banking.

The federal government is certainly broken as far as most Americans can tell. Congress and the Administration cannot agree on budget cuts or taxes. Many citizens believe they eventually will have reduced Medicare and Social Security benefits. And other Americans believe that their children, or children's children, will be left with tax burdens necessary to pay off the burgeoning U.S. debt load. The "ease of use" of the federal government is lacking altogether.

The banking industry is nearly as badly rated by most Americans. The media regularly reports on how banks improperly foreclose on mortgages, leaving people without homes. Bank charge fees that they disclose poorly. And most Americans remember the $700 billion TARP program. Not only were many big banks bailed out, but the senior managements of those banks have begun to get huge paychecks again. It is hard to find people who believe that these things are fair.

"Ease of use" is an ill-defined term when it comes to whether the government can be well used. But many Americans appear, the Gallup data implies, to believe the government is using them.


Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 9 to 12, 2012, with a random sample of 1,012 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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