Monday, May 1, 2017


Last July, we reported on the partnership between American Public Media’s (APM) Marketplace and Edison Research [link] to do custom polling about economic issues.

They created a new key metric – the Marketplace Anxiety Index – to measure how people perceive there own, and the nation’s, economic well being.

The Marketplace Anxiety Index is important to both organizations. Marketplace is in the process a major reorganization [link] to transform its business model into a “full-on branded enterprise.” They want to have a bigger media footprint than just public radio.  Marketplace wants to leverage their content in more ways to increase the visibility and perceived value of their brand. The goal is to increase revenue to make Marketplace sustainable beyond support from stations and APM.

Edison Research [link] wants to continue their expansion into public polling, particularly voter analysis.  Many people don’t know that Edison Research has, since 2003, provided election exit poll information to ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press.

A good way both organizations to accomplish their goals is to invent an all-purpose metric such as the Marketplace Anxiety Index.  They hope that the Index will become a trusted, widely used metric.  If the Index succeeds, both brands will benefit from the increased circulation.


According to the most recent Marketplace Anxiety Index, there is now somewhat less Anxiety for folks in all demos (except between the ages 18 - 24.)

The Index uses a 0 to 100 scale.  The Anxiety Index now is 32. In October, just before the 2016 election, it was 36. The Index over time is shown in the chart on the right.

The Marketplace Anxiety Index is derived from a national survey of Americans ages 18 years and older via an ongoing online survey and telephone interviews. The most recent survey included 1,027 respondents, about half by phone and half online. The calculated margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 3%. In other words, this is NATIONAL survey, designed to be cited by the nation’s leading news suppliers.

The most recent Anxiety Index, as reported by Business Wire [link], also indicates there continues to be a broad perception of inequality, a feeling that a small group of people is getting wealthier at the expense of a large group of people who are suffering.

Other key findings in the most recent Marketplace Anxiety Index polling include:

• 71 % of Americans think that the economic system is “rigged” in favor of certain groups. 

This is true across all demographic groups, among Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and across all income levels.

• 62% of Americans say that good jobs are difficult to find in the area where they live.

• When asked to describe the presidential election, 70% of Americans thought the word “embarrassed” described it well. Almost as many (69%) said “afraid” was a good way to describe their feeling about the election.

• About a quarter (24%) of Americans haven’t gone away on vacation in more than five years.

• Americans are also more dissatisfied with their choices for president than they were three months ago. Now that presumptive nominees have emerged, only 14% of respondents are “very satisfied” with their choices for president, with nearly half (47%) “very dissatisfied.”


We did a Google search for news reports using the Marketplace Anxiety Index. Outside of the public radio world, there weren’t many. This is clearly something that the Marketplace and Edison Research folks need to examine if they are serious about establishing the Index as a national standard.

Ironically, most of the attention to the most recent survey was by far-right publications. Websites such as Breitbart and Newsmax [link], spun the recent drop in the Anxiety Index in all demos (other than people 18-24) as proof that people are satisfied with President Trump’s job performance.  Here is a sample from Newsmax:

“President Donald Trump has the backbone to challenge the establishment and he is having success in fixing a broken system despite what the critics are saying. [The Anxiety Index proves] the resolve of the Trump administration to live up to the promises made to voters.”


I decided to take part in the Marketplace Anxiety Index survey myself. You can too. Find it here.

I learned I have more Economic Anxiety than most Americans. After completing the survey, I received this summary:

You scored 75 out of 100 on the Anxiety Index. That’s well above the national mean of 32. Maybe you’re anxious about losing your job or being unable to find a new one, worried about being able to afford monthly expenses or maybe your long-term financial goals like retirement are all common among people in this group.

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