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The 2011 Garrity Perception Survey

Statewide Survey Identifies Favorable Industries & Trusted Professions

Garrity Perception Survey: Good news for small business and the Labs; state government and media have room for improvement

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Small business is the most favorable industry in New Mexico, surpassing the National Labs and the farm/ranch industry, according to the Garrity Perception Survey.  New Mexico residents identify family members and relatives as the most trusted group of people/professions in the state, far out pacing physicians and clergy.  The survey, released this week, was commissioned by The Garrity Group Public Relations and conducted by Research & Polling Inc., both New Mexico-based firms.  More information is available by visiting www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

“National and out of state corporations have always had an uphill course in gaining the trust and favorability of New Mexico residents; now we know more about their supporters and detractors,” says Tom Garrity, president of Albuquerque-based The Garrity Group Public Relations. “It is surprising and encouraging that family and relatives are the most trusted group of people in our state.  On the same scale, the low level of trust people have in journalists is disconcerting at best.”

New Mexico Residents on Industries/Institutions

Small businesses (78%) and the national laboratories in New Mexico (74%) top the list as being the most favorable industries/institutions in the state.  Also perceived favorably by the majority of residents is the farm and ranching industry (72%), state universities (71%) and community colleges (68%), as well as church or organized religion (69%).  The least favorable industries or institutions include the oil and gas industry (42%), courts and the justice system (36%) and out-of-state corporations doing business in New Mexico (30%).

“Despite issues with some local financial institutions, residents still favor local banks (66%) over their national counterparts (35%) by nearly a 2:1 ratio,” said Garrity.  There is a strong opportunity for banks to retain and build their trust among key groups through clear and consistent messages to their customers.”

New Mexico Residents on People/Professions

New Mexico’s most trusted groups include family members/relatives (85%), followed distantly by doctors (68%), religious leaders (67%), teachers (67%), and scientists (64%).  While it is somewhat predictable that trust in lawyers (23%) and advertising executives (15%) is low; they are also joined by journalists (26%), federal government officials (26%) and state government officials (23%).

“A journalist was once seen as a trusted profession.  Perhaps budget cuts, the move of some media toward advocacy journalism and the growing practice of blending opinion with coverage of events are behind the surprisingly low trust New Mexico residents have in journalists,” says Garrity.  “The flight among residents to new media (internet) parallels national trends, the challenge will be for traditional media (newspapers, radio, television) to increase relevancy among younger audiences.”

New Mexico Residents on Traditional & Social Media

The Garrity Perception Survey also gauged how New Mexico residents use traditional and new media.  Television (55%) remains the primary “go to” source for news.  Concerns among the newspaper industry about losing ground and relevance are accurate as approximately one-third of the state’s residents use internet news sites (34%) over newspapers (32%) a lot as a means of obtaining information.  Radio (29%) remains a “go to” source for news and information, ahead of internet blogs (18%) and social networking sites (16%).

“The continuing challenge for newspaper and radio is focused on building relevance with young adults in the ‘new’ media while holding on to a shrinking base of their older counterparts who prefer ‘paper’ media,” says Garrity.  “It is clear that there are parts of New Mexico that turn to ‘new’ media more than other parts of the state.  For example, the South/Southwestern part of New Mexico is more dependent upon blogs and social media for news than residents in the Northwestern part of the state.  Since high-speed internet access was just introduced into the Farmington area, we anticipate a significant increase in residents accessing internet news sites over the next year.”

When it comes to trusting the media, New Mexico residents trust televised news that is locally broadcast (62%), followed by nationally broadcast news (59%) followed by newspapers (51%) and radio news coverage (45%).  Few New Mexico residents are trusting of advertising (15%), social networking (9%), and Internet blogs (8%) as news or information sources.

“Trust is tied to transparency, which is becoming the new normal,” says Garrity.  “News operations need to be careful about how they integrate social media approaches into their coverage.  If a reporter is simply promoting the stories he/she is working on and not engaging their friends/followers then it could backfire as being viewed as a promotion.”

Regional New Mexico Trends

The survey also provided unique insight into residents living in different parts of New Mexico:

  • Eastern New Mexico (Torrance, Union, Harding, Quay, Curry, DeBaca, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln, Otero, Eddy and Lea Counties) residents:
    • Have a very favorable impression of the farm and ranching industry
    • Completely trust accountants and lawyers
    • Feel faith is very important in their life
  • Northwest New Mexico (San Juan, McKinley and Cibola Counties) residents:
    • Use television a lot as an information source
    • Feel conversations with friends are a very trustworthy news source
    • Trust corporations more than government
  • South/Southwest New Mexico (Catron, Socorro, Grant, Sierra, Hidalgo, Luna, Dona Ana Counties) residents:
    • Have a very favorable impression of public schools
    • Trust state government officials
    • Use Internet blogs a lot as an information source
  • North Central New Mexico (Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, Mora, San Miguel, Colfax, Guadalupe Counties) residents:
    • Have a very favorable impression of small businesses
    • Don’t trust government to hardly ever or never do the right thing
    • Feel major business corporations are socially very irresponsible
  • Albuquerque Metro New Mexico (Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia Counties) residents:
    • Have a very favorable impression of the national laboratories
    • Residents have an unfavorable impression of public schools
    • Feel government can be trusted at least some of the time

Survey Facts

Albuquerque-based Research & Polling, Inc. conducted the survey on behalf of The Garrity Group.  A random sample of New Mexico adult residents was interviewed by telephone (landlines and cell phones) between January 10th-15th, 2011.  A total of 403 adult residents in New Mexico completed interviews.  A sample size of 403 at a 95% confidence level provides a maximum margin of error of approximately 4.9%.  In theory, in 95 out of 100 cases, the results based on a sample of 403 will differ by no more than 4.9 percentage points in either direction from what would have been obtained by interviewing all adult residents in New Mexico.  Information about the survey and video comments about the results are available by visiting www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

The Garrity Group Public Relations (TGG) is the firm that leading organizations turn to for critical opportunities and issues that impact their operations in New Mexico.  More information about The Garrity Group team and services are available by visiting www.garritypr.com.