U.S. adults have largely given up on manufacturing and traditional industries as the focus of the U.S. economy, according to a joint Zogby 463 Interactive survey. Instead, they see technology and the service sector as where the nation should target its efforts. That was one finding of a survey of 3,030 adults, which also found people:

       Increasingly dependent on and concerned about uses of the Internet;

       Optimistic that the U.S. will not lag behind the rest of the world in recovering from this recession;

       Ambivalent about the ability of the U.S. to produce the next wave of technology innovators on the level of Microsoft founder Bill Gates;

       Overwhelmingly believing that the average 10-year-old knows more about the Internet than their Congressperson.

This survey is the first in a joint venture between Zogby International and 463 Communications which will be called Zogby 463. The new relationship between the two companies was announced today at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. at the Regency Hotel, where results of this survey were discussed. 

Here are details of the survey, which has a margin of error of +/-1.8%.

Technology & the U.S. Economy

Respondents were asked whether America should "stick with more traditional jobs in manufacturing and other long-standing industries" or "focus on high-tech and jobs in the service industry." Here are the results:

America Should Focus On... %

Manufacturing & traditional industries 28%

High-tech and service jobs     50%

Don't know & other        22%

They were also asked to choose from six industries and choose the one "best positioned to weather the current economic downturn." Here are the results:

Industry best positioned %

Health care     32%

Technology     32%

Service    12%

Agriculture     11%

Retail      2%

Automobile     1%

Not sure 10%

When asked to compare whether the U.S. will come out of the recession before, after or at the same time as the rest of the world, only 13% said we would do so "after other major economies." For the others, 32% said the U.S. would be the first and 43% said the U.S. recovery will coincide with the rest of the world.

For each of these questions, the responses of self-identified members of the Investor Class were not significantly different than those of non-investors.

U.S. Technology & Innovation

Two questions were asked about the ability of the U.S. and other nations to produce another technology innovator like Bill Gates. The first asked from which country “the next Bill Gates” was most likely to come. Here are the results:

Nation most likely to produce "next Bill Gates"   %

U.S. 29%

India        28%

China      15%

Japan       11%

Brazil      2%

Russia     1%

Other/Not sure        14%

The second asked if the economic, educational and societal conditions still exist in the U.S. to produce another Gates. Exactly two-thirds (67%) said yes, 19% said no and 14% were not sure.

There was no consensus on the question of what is the most important issue tech companies should be trying to solve. Here is how they ranked:

Issue tech companies should solve %

Energy dependence & efficiency   24%

Improve education for global economy 22%

Keeping U.S. safe from physical & virtual attack 21%

Health care cost & accessibility     19%

Enable new business models 8%

Ensure internet and high tech access to all    2%

Not sure 4%

The Internet & Us

Nearly nine in 10 of U.S. adults say that if the Internet stopped working for three days, it would have an impact on their lives. Here are the results:

Personal impact of 3-day Internet shutdown %

Dramatic impact     32%

Minor impact 54%

No impact       13%

Percentages were greatest among younger adults, but even for those over age 70, 74% said they would be impacted. Income level was not a significant factor.

More than 60% believe there should be some regulation of the Internet. Here are the choices provided and responses:

       30% believe the Internet should be regulated as television is;

       31% believe Internet content should have a government rating system similar to that of the movie industry;

       32% believe any regulation or blocking of Internet video is unconstitutional.

Opposition to any regulation or ratings was greater among 18-29-year-olds (42% say it is unconstitutional), while the desire for regulation increased with age to 70% of those 65 and over who want either a rating system or TV-style regulation. Political Independents (41%) are more likely than Democrats (24%) or Republicans (34%) to oppose rating or regulation.

Adults are solidly opposed to Internet voting.

       61% say Internet voting would be bad;

       28% say it would be good;

       12% say it would make no difference.

Finally, we asked whether people thought the average 10-year-old or their Congressperson knew more about the Internet, 83% chose the child and 9% the Congressperson.