Vanity Fair and ‘60 Minutes’ Are Polling the People
Coming together to poll average Americans, Vanity Fair and “60 Minutes” have concluded it’s a Wal-Mart Nation.
They are inaugurating a monthly survey of the American consciousness, to appear both in the magazine’s pages and occasionally on television.
The first survey, unveiled on “60 Minutes” and CBSNews.com on Sunday, reports that respondents overwhelmingly selected Wal-Mart as the best corporate symbol of America today. Wal-Mart was selected by 48 percent of respondents, while the first runner-up, Google, was selected by only 15 percent. The other options were Microsoft, the N.F.L. and Goldman Sachs.
“I wouldn’t have guessed that Wal-Mart would have run away with that,” said Jeffrey Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes.”
Those are the types of findings that the two like-minded institutions hope to highlight, said Mr. Fager and Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, in a telephone interview last week.
“We both wanted to do something that was outside the broad brushstrokes of national politics and got to different opinions and beliefs of Americans that don’t show up in most polls,” Mr. Carter said.
Among the questions: “Which do you think is worse: married politicians’ having affairs or politicians’ taking bribes?” (Many say both are equally bad.) And there’s this question for men: “Which of these men would you most like to trade places with for a week: George Clooney, Barack Obama, Tom Brady, or Bruce Springsteen?” (Mr. Clooney narrowly topped Mr. Obama.)
It is the first regular survey by Vanity Fair, a Condé Nast magazine with a reputation for being read in elitist circles. Is it a purposeful nod to Middle America?
“It wasn’t intended as such,” Mr. Carter said. “It’s just a way of taking a different kind of reading of the American mind, in a big professional poll way.”
The initial survey, which was conducted by CBS News in August, also found that fully half the people would support a tax of 50 percent or higher on the country’s wealthiest millionaires. “The populists are out in force,” the magazine concludes in its summary of the survey, due on newsstands Wednesday.
The New York Times is a polling partner of CBS News. Mr. Fager said the CBS polling unit also conducts independent work.
Both men said the poll was a work in progress that would evolve on a monthly basis.
Mr. Fager said, “We’re combining our collective brainpower.”
“Such as it is,” Mr. Carter said jokingly.
“And we’ll see what comes of it,” Mr. Fager said.