When asked if the “American Dream” is still achievable today, 60% of Gulf South residents answered yes, 7% higher than the national response. When citizens nationally were asked in January if the “American Dream” was available to them, 59% said yes, according to the Gulf South Index, a cooperative research project between The Ehrhardt Group and Causeway Solutions.

As of March, one-third of Gulf South residents still rate the economy at 4 or 5-stars. Nationally, 26% of residents give the same rating, which is significantly lower than in January, when 45% of those surveyed gave a 4 or 5-star rating.

OH, THE PLACES YOU WILL …OR WON’T… GO.

Last week, we examined how people in the Gulf South are spending their time. These stats become even clearer when looking at how people in Louisiana, Mississippi, coastal Alabama and the Florida panhandle have changed their activities, as stay-at-home orders have taken effect.

Based on how people moved about in January and early February, citizens across the Gulf South made significant adjustments in where they traveled as of April 5, according to Google’s mobility data update from April 9.

Just look at the parishes and counties along the I-10 corridor between Baton Rouge, LA, and Panama City, FL. People heading to work or out to do some non-grocery shopping dropped significantly. In some places, such as beach communities, there were some marked increases. Here are some of the differences along the I-10 corridor between January/early February and just the last 10 days:

View more movements along the I-10 corridor in Louisiana, Mississippi, coastal Alabama and the Florida panhandle here.

WHEN WILL WE BE ON THE ROAD AGAIN?

Some consumers won’t feel comfortable traveling or heading back out to public places at all for at least six months and many are unsure of when they’ll feel comfortable enough to resume “normal” life, according to new polling from technology and media company, Morning Consult.

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS CONSUMPTION CONTINUES TO RISE

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 70% of American adults say the news media has covered the coronavirus outbreak either “very well” or “somewhat well.”

People are specifically turning to their local news sources and national trusted outlets to get information on COVID-19.  Website traffic increased anywhere from 50-150% from February to March for local and national newspapers according to an article in The New York Times. Reports from The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate stated that their website traffic more than doubled in the first days of this crisis.

Engagement for national and local news sources on Facebook is skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, while engagement with partisan publishers is not increasing, according to new data from the social monitoring platform, CrowdTangle. Nearly 62% more people are interacting with local news outlets on Facebook as of April 12, than what were in January. Almost 40% more people are engaging with national sources. Partisan news sources saw less than a 1% increase from January to this week.

Further evidence showing that in times of crisis, people turn to trusted news outlets.

ONLINE, BUT NOT ON A MOBILE DEVICE

These days, Americans are spending a considerable amount of time online. While this might come as no surprise, what is interesting is that people are doing this via their computers and less on their mobile devices. Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen users on their phone apps plateau, while their website traffic has jumped, according to an April 7 article from The New York Times.

Video chat services have also seen an increase in usage as people want to have that face-to-face connection.  Americans are also relying on platforms that allow us to work and learn from home such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. As consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with virtual educational experiences, this presents an opportunity for companies to expand their markets and brand recognition.

Sports fans expect some professional and college sports to resume before they are comfortable actually attending the games in person. While there is currently no new sporting event to watch, a new spectator sport is gaining traction: video games. This is evident in the fact that websites that allow users to watch others play video games has recently seen a 20% increase in traffic.

Speaking of watching, will we run out of things to watch on TV? Some expert remote-control handlers say no way. It appears that our national stockpile of guilty pleasure television is safe.

THE GULF SOUTH INDEX

The Gulf South Index is a cooperative project between The Ehrhardt Group, a public relations, content, issues and crisis firm, and Causeway Solutions, a nationally recognized research and data analysis company, that are both based in the Gulf South. When the rest of the country may be zigging, we want to know if the Gulf South will zag and why, sharing that insight with you.

See anything interesting here? Feel free to share with your friends and colleagues.

Want to know more about the findings from today? Contact us at info@tegpr.com.

HOW DID WE FIND THIS STUFF OUT?

Causeway Solutions and The Ehrhardt Group conducted a series of mix-mode surveys, each of 1,500 adults with a margin of error of 2.5%.  The most recent survey was conducted on March 24 and 25, 2020.

We cannot comment on the methodology of the surveys and research we did not conduct, which is why we do our best to link to the source articles or studies that we share here.

Have questions or comments for the Gulf South Index team, contact us at info@tegpr.com.