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  Washington Post-ABC News Poll, October 1997

Friday, October 17, 199

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on random telephone interviews with 1,515 adults on October 9-13. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error is, however, only one source of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Interviewing was conducted by Chilton Research of Radnor, Pa.

Remembering "Black Monday" | Effects of the Stock Market
Retirement Income | 401(k) Plans | Stocks and Mutual Funds
Bull and Bears | Another Crash | "Irrational Exuberance"
Social Security | Regulating the Markets

2. Ten years ago this month people were referring to something called "Black Monday." Do you happen to recall what that meant or what it was?


            Yes    No    No opinion
10/13/97     43    56        1

37. How much do rises and falls in stock market prices affect you personally, a great deal, somewhat, not much or not at all?


          --A great deal/Somewhat--    --Not much/Not at all---     No
          NET  Great deal  Somewhat    NET  Not much  Not at all   opin.
10/13/97   42       9        33         58     24        34          1
11/5/87    36       8        28         63     24        39          0
10/26/87   34       7        27         65     28        37          1
10/19/87   45      13        32         55     23        32          1
2/28/87    35      10        25         63     24        39          2
9/21/86*   26       6        20         72     28        44          3

* N=500

39. How confident are you that you will have adequate income to live comfortably when you retire -- very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not at all confident?


          ------Confident------   --------Not confident-----    No
          NET   Very   Somewhat   NET   Not too   Not at all   opinion
10/13/97* 57     18      39       43       26        17          -
8/22/95*  80     36      44       19       11         8          1
9/18/88*  63     20      43       35       22        13          1

* Results are among non-retired respondents

40. Looking ahead to your own retirement, what do you expect to be your major source of income -- Social Security, an employer-paid pension plan or your own retirement savings including a 401(k) plan?


                   Social     Employer-paid    Own retirement    No
                  Security    pension plan     savings plan     opinion
10/13/97 ALL**       28             16              54              1
         RET.        59             19              19              3
         NON-RET.    21             16              62              1
8/22/95*             20             23              53              5

** Retired respondents: "Now that you are retired, what is your major source of income..."
* Results are among non-retired respondents

41. (and 42) I have a question about so-called 401(k) retirement plans. That's NOT a traditional retirement plan paid for by the employer. A 401(k) plan is mainly funded by your own payroll contribution of a portion of your pre-tax salary. Does your employer (or your spouse's/partner's employer) offer a 401(k) retirement savings plan, or not? (If yes:) Are you (or your spouse/partner) currently contributing part of your salary to that 401(k) plan or not?


            -------401 (k) offered-----     401 (k) not            No
            NET   Contrib.  Not Contrib.    offered       Other*   opin.
10/13/97**   53     40          13             43           2       3
8/22/95**    47     72          26             41           8       5

* Voluntary
** Results are among non-retired respondents

43. Thinking about all your investments, including retirement savings plans at work, do you currently have money invested in stocks or mutual funds?


          Yes   No   No opin.
10/13/97   48   51      -
9/14/97    46   53      1

45. (Asked only of stockholders) Do you own your stock because you participate or once participated in a company stock plan or did you buy it directly yourself through a stock broker or a private mutual fund plan?


          From company         Bought it           Both*    No
           stock plan      directly/mutual fund            Opin.
10/13/97       34                  52               12       2
11/5/87        30                  59               10       1

* Voluntary

45.1 (Asked only of stockholders) Are you thinking of selling some of your stock, staying about where you are or buying more?


         Selling   Staying where   Buying more     No
          stock         I am           stock      opinion
10/13/97    6            51             39           3
11/5/87     6            74             19           1

46. Regardless of your personal plans, would you say now is a good time to buy stock, a bad time to buy stock or what?


           Good   Bad   Neither*        It depends*         No opin.
10/13/97    45    25       8                 8                14
11/5/87     35    52       3                 3                 7

* Voluntary

47. Just your best guess: In the next year, do you think the stock market is more likely to go up or go down?

(Get answer, then ask:) Is that go (up/down) a lot or just a little?


            --------Go up-------    ------Go down-------       No
            NET    Lot    Little    NET    Little    Lot    opinion
10/13/97     53     11      42       38      26       12        9

48. (Of stockholders) If the stock market goes down, do you think you would put more money in the stock market, take money out of the stock market, or leave your investments in the stock market the way they are?


            More in    Take money out    Leave as they are    No opinion
10/13/97       17            8                  72                  3

49. On another subject, what do you think are the chances of a stock market crash in the next year or two -- would you say there's a good chance of a crash, or do you think a crash is not too likely?


            Good chance   Not likely    No opinion
10/13/97          18         77              4
4/24/97           24         66             10

52. As you may know, the stock market has been reaching record highs. In terms of investing in the stock market, does this make you more likely to invest because of the potential for continued increase in stock prices, or does it make you less likely to invest because stocks might fall from their current high levels?


            More    Less    No difference*        No opinion
10/13/97     32      52            12                 4

* Voluntary

53. Do you think the stock market is reflecting economic conditions accurately, or do you think the stock market is out of step with the economy?


             Reflects    Out of      No
            conditions    step     opinion
10/13/97        39         52         9

54. Generally speaking, do you think that current prices of stocks are generally too high, too low or just about right, in terms of the real worth of the companies?


            Too high    Too low     Just about right    No opinion
10/13/97        44         2              41                 12

55. Overall, do you think the stock market is a safe investment, or a risky one?


         Safe   Risky   No opin.
10/13/97  27     69        4
8/31/97   32     54       14
9/14/88   16     71       12

56. Have you or has anyone in your immediate family been helped financially by the increase in stock prices in recent years?

(If "yes" then ask:) Is that helped a lot, or just a little?


            ----------Yes-----------             No
            NET    A lot    A little    No    opinion
10/17/97     34      15        20       64        2

57. As you may know, the Social Security system is expected to begin running out of money in 15 years or so. One proposal to help avoid that is to put some or all Social Security money into stock and bonds. This could produce more retirement money for you, but it also could mean taking higher risks with your retirement savings. Would you support or oppose this proposal?


          Support    Oppose    No opinion
10/13/97     41        55           4
5/4/97       46        44          10

58. Do you think there should be more government regulation of the stock market, less regulation, or should government regulation of the stock market stay as it is?


            More    Less    Same    No opin.
10/13/97    14       16      65        5

59. Just your best guess, would you say that most stock brokers on Wall street try to obey the laws governing their profession or would you say most stock brokers try to find a way around the laws governing their profession?


            Obey    Find a way       Somewhere          No
            laws    around laws     in between*       opinion
10/13/97     39         51               2               8
2/28/87      45         48               2               5

* Voluntary


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