Arvest Newsroom

Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey Ready to Begin
Poll will measure opinions of state, regional economies

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (May 7, 2014)— Arvest Bank’s commissioned poll measuring the economic expectations and outlook of consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma is currently underway. More than 1,200 consumers in the three-state area will complete the phone surveys over the next several weeks.  The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will measure respondents’ opinions on their personal financial situation, future plans and general feelings about the economy. This will provide for a comparison with the national Surveys of Consumers conducted monthly by the University of Michigan for Thomson/Reuters.

The results of this first telephone survey, conducted by the University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL), will establish a baseline for future comparison of subsequent surveys that will be conducted every six months. The results are expected in approximately two months. The data will be tabulated by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and will be evaluated on the individual state level by CBER director Kathy Deck; David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University; and Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at The Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University.

The survey is designed to measure three primary indices mirroring the national Thomson/Reuters Michigan Surveys of Consumers. Those indices are: Index of Consumer Sentiment; Index of Consumer Expectations; and Current Conditions Index. The questions will ask if respondents are doing better financially than they were a year ago or if they think they will be doing better or worse, financially, in the next year than they are doing now.  Other questions will focus on respondents’ opinions on planned household purchases such as major appliances or new vehicles, how much consumer debt they have and how much of their income they are saving.

Some of the questions will include:

  • What is your current financial situation compared with a year ago?
  • What kind of business conditions do you expect to see over the next year?
  • What kind of economic changes are you expecting over the next five years?
  • Have you made any major household purchases in the past year?
  • Do you plan on expanding your credit card debt in the next year?
  • Do you anticipate difficulty in acquiring new credit in the next year?
  • What percentage of your income do you save per year?

“We are excited to get this poll underway and to begin analyzing the results,” Deck said. “As with all first-time surveys, the results will provide a baseline number, a starting point for us to evaluate how that opinion changes in each state over time. Future reports of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will focus on how the results have changed, either for better or worse, from the baseline established during this first survey.”

Arvest Bank commissioned the survey to better understand consumers’ views on the economic climate in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and to provide some factual guidance for business customers within the markets.

“We at Arvest Bank are excited to learn all we can from this survey so we can better anticipate what our customers expect from their financial services provider,” said Jason Kincy, marketing director for Arvest Bank. “When looking at economic indicators, we are told that consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. If consumers feel confident enough in their local economy to begin shopping for a new car or to buy a new refrigerator, we, as a partner in their personal finances, need to anticipate and facilitate those needs.”

The survey will have a sample size of 1,200 with 400 respondents from each state and a margin of error of 4.2 percent at the state level.

The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.

The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.

The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.

The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.