Mature But Expressive, Keen On The Knife, Etc.

Who knew that so many people have a creative side? A Yankelovich poll, excerpted in one of the polling firm’s Monitor Minute newsletters, asked adults whether “expressing your creative side” is important to them in their personal lives. Forty-six percent said it is. You might expect such thinking to be most common among younger folks, who’ve had less time to be disabused of the notion that they are creative. But the reverse is true: Among the “matures” (age 61 and up), 48 percent said creative self-expression is important to them, vs. 45 percent of baby boomers, 44 percent of Gen Xers and 38 percent of “echo boomers.” This pattern carried over to the way respondents rate creativity in the brands they choose: Matures were the most likely, and echo boomers the least likely, to say it’s essential to them that a brand offer “creative solutions to my problems.”

Although it’s only skin deep, that’s deep enough to motivate some people to want more beauty—even if it means going under the knife. Nearly 20 percent of adults would like to have cosmetic surgery at some point in their lives, finds a poll conducted for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Six percent have already been surgically refurbished. Despite such numbers, there’s still a stigma attached to getting sliced and diced to improve one’s looks. “When asked how open they would be about a cosmetic surgery procedure, 33 percent of consumers said they would tell only those who asked, while 18 percent said they would tell only close friends and family.”

The recent spate of school shootings has people wondering why such things happen so often. Given the number of Americans who own guns, though, it’s a wonder such episodes happen as seldom as they do. A Washington Post/ABC News poll, conducted earlier this month, asked respondents, “Do you or does anyone in your house own a gun, or not?” Forty-two percent said “yes,” up one percentage point from a 2002 survey.

It’s clearly a problem that 18 percent of working-age U.S. residents lack health insurance, a number featured in a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The mitigating factor is that uninsured status is especially concentrated among people at the robust end of the age spectrum. Among 21-24-year-olds, 39 percent of men and 31 percent of women were uninsured last year. The numbers drop steadily with age, reaching 13 percent for men and 14 percent for women in the comparatively decrepit 55-64 cohort. Another section of the report confirmed the obvious truth that low-income workers are more likely to lack health insurance than their high-income counterparts. Even at the high end of the income scale, though, small but non-trivial numbers of workers don’t have coverage. The figure last year was 6 percent for those in the $90,000-99,999 bracket and 5 percent for those making $100,000 or more.

It came from Tacoma, but it didn’t come quickly. An imaginative (we hope) campaign for Sound Transit, the Seattle area’s public-transit system, gives vivid expression to its theme line, “Is your commute making you a monster?” The question will strike a responsive chord with folks who daily creep along in the region’s traffic jams. The campaign doesn’t make the implausible claim that a commute by public transit is a delight. But its convincing (if mildly exaggerated) allusion to the horrors of rush-hour driving will help pry some commuters out of their cars. Copacino+Fujikado of Seattle created the series.

We’re becoming a nation of bundlers. A report from research firm Telephia finds that 31 million U.S. households subscribe to a bundle of communications services from one provider. Most popular is the Internet/ TV bundle, with nearly 13 million subscribers. More than 10 million have an Internet/phone bundle, and about half that many subscribe to a “triple play” bundle of TV, phone and Internet. But these triple-players can only look on in awe at the 300,000 or so households that have a “quadruple play,” which tosses wireless service into the mix. Whatever the bundle people have chosen, price is the chief motive for having done so, with convenience (such as a single bill) the runner-up.

Although prices have receded for the time being, the specter of permanently costly gasoline has taken its toll on Americans’ conservationist sentiments. In a Rasmussen Reports survey fielded at the end of last month, 73 percent of adults said it’s very important that the U.S. become less dependent on imported oil. In accomplishing that goal, 71 percent said developing new energy sources is more important than conserving energy; 21 percent said conserving energy is more important. The same survey also found 55 percent of respondents favoring construction of nuclear power plants as an alternative to depending on oil from the Middle East.