Mark Dolliver: Friday Pilates

Don’t wear a tux to work unless you moonlight as a maitre d’. A Gallup poll asked people who work full- or part-time (but aren’t self-employed) how they dress for the job. Forty-three percent rated their attire “casual business”; 28 percent wear “casual street clothes”; 19 percent don a uniform. Just 9 percent wear “formal business clothes.” Even among those with household income of $50,000-plus, fewer work in formal business clothes (10 percent) than in casual street attire (16 percent). Men were twice as likely as women to say they go formal (12 percent vs. 6 percent), but they’re also more likely to show up in casual street clothes (31 percent vs. 25 percent). Finally, don’t stake your agency’s future on a necktie account: 67 percent of men said they never wear a tie to work, up from 59 percent in 2002.

Let’s hope women are wrong

Women will be pleasantly surprised if we’re not all dining at soup kitchens soon. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked people whether it’s likely the economy will go into recession in the coming year, and women of all sorts were much more likely than their male counterparts to think that it will. Among people with household income under $40,000, for instance, 78 percent of women expect a recession, vs. 44 percent of men. There’s a similar gap between college-educated women and men, 71 percent vs. 54 percent. Among Democrats, 82 percent of women and 64 percent of men expect a recession; among Republicans, the gap is 67 percent vs. 54 percent. Overall, 73 percent of women and 56 percent of men foresee a recession in the coming year. This gap was paralleled by opinions of current conditions (see chart at lower left). While the economy is far from perfect, actual data suggest public gloom is at odds with reality, so far. Preliminary figures issued last week showed the economy growing at a brisk 3.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter—hardly a sign of incipient recession.

The bored-to-tears vote

Likely voters are often asked whether they have a favorable opinion of the presidential hopefuls. A poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press gave them a chance to say whether they have a favorable opinion of the whole campaign so far. They don’t. A majority already are bored by it, as the chart here indicates. Let us gape in amazement, meanwhile, at the 28 percent who disputed the popular wisdom that the campaign is too long. Sixty-six percent said it is too long, which makes you wonder how much attention they’ll pay as the volume of campaign ads increases.

Smoking, believing, moving, etc.

• Thirty percent of adults with disabilities are smokers, vs. 20 percent of those without. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

• Thirty-four percent of adults believe in ghosts, including 23 percent who think they’ve seen or been in the presence of one. Happily, though, just 5 percent feel they’ve seen a monster in their bedroom closet. Nineteen percent believe in spells or witchcraft. (Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs)

• Fourteen percent of U.S. residents moved to a different home between 2005 and 2006, but six in 10 movers remained in the same county and two in 10 moved to a different county within the same state. (Census Bureau)

• Among Hispanic immigrants who’ve been in the U.S. for 20 to 29 years, fewer than half (41 percent) ever describe themselves as “American.” (Pew Hispanic Center)