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New Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Finds Austin Residents Anxiously Optimistic About City’s Growth



– Most locals believe Austin is highly innovative, yet unprepared for its population increase –

AUSTIN, TEXAS (July 28, 2015) — Austin residents are overwhelmingly positive about the area’s economy and confident about its continued growth. However, they are anxious about the city’s booming population, finds a new poll released today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal.

The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll explores Austin residents’ perspectives about their city’s innovation, technology, employment, and quality of life. The poll also takes an in-depth look at how residents are seeking innovative ideas and solutions, particularly in local communities, to keep their city moving forward.

To recognize local innovators, Allstate and Atlantic Media have launched The Renewal Awards, a new program that will spotlight and reward innovators who are taking creative approaches to retaining local talent; attracting businesses to their areas; creating social change; and improving neighborhoods.

“As an Austin business owner, I can tell you firsthand the pride many of us feel about our city’s history of entrepreneurism. The Heartland Monitor data indicates that this pride continues to encourage local pioneers to help our city flourish,” said Melissa Fleming, Austin Allstate agency owner. “New ideas and solutions are part of what fuels Austin’s distinct culture and have led to innovative approaches to addressing community issues, which is why Austin is a great illustration of the spirit of The Renewal Awards.”

When it comes to growth, Austin residents are highly optimistic and proud of the area’s innovation and local community:

  • The majority of those living in the Austin area rate their local economy positively. More than a quarter (27 percent) rate it as excellent and nearly an additional half (47 percent) say it is good.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) believe that their local economy will improve over the next year, while 45 percent think it will stay the same, and only six percent think it will become worse.
  • Looking 10 years into the future, 60 percent say the Austin economy will have improved by that point, while 22 percent believe it will be about the same. Only 15 percent say it will become worse.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) feel that the high-tech sector is the most important industry for Austin’s economic future, while other industries like clean energy (11 percent), music and arts (10 percent), and biotech (8 percent) rate lower.
  • Almost three-fourths (73 percent) think their local area is headed in the right direction.
  • More than half (62 percent) approve of their local political leaders.
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) believe that new ideas and solutions are more likely to come from state and local institutions than from national institutions; however, when it comes to major challenges facing the country, 39 percent believe more progress is being made on the national level. The perception that progress is occurring at the national level is higher than found in other Heartland surveys conducted earlier this year in Denver and Detroit.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) consider the music and arts scene as the one thing that makes Austin unique as compared to other metropolitan areas. Music superstar Willie Nelson (named by 21 percent of respondents) received the most mentions as the best example of a notable Austinite.

Austin’s continued development and expansion comes with a number of challenges for local residents, including traffic and geographical identification:

  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) feel that Austin is unprepared to handle the population growth compared to 31 percent who feel the city is prepared.
  • More than half (52 percent) consider traffic and other issues related to growth as the biggest challenge facing the area.
  • Residents are split almost in half on the overall impact of growth to the area, with 47 percent describing it as positive, and 44 percent as negative. A stark generation gap defines attitudes on this question, with 55 percent of Millennials rating the area’s growth as mostly positive, and 56 percent of Baby Boomers terming it mostly negative.
  • Nearly half of the local residents identify as Austinites (44 percent), while the other half identify as Texans (49 percent).
  • More than one-third (34 percent) of metro area residents say that local institutions offer ideas and solutions that are “new and forward-thinking.” Yet, this is overshadowed by 41 percent who say the offerings are “adequate but unremarkable,” and 18 percent who say ideas are “old and outdated.”

“In one of the nation’s most economically dynamic communities, the Heartland Poll shows that Austin residents are optimistic about their future, and proud of their distinctive culture, but anxious about the effects of rapid growth,” said Ronald Brownstein, editorial director of Atlantic Media. “Many cities might welcome these problems, but it’s clear from this poll that Austin’s biggest challenges include managing economic success, and ensuring that the benefits of growth are shared by all of its residents.”

To see in-depth poll data from the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, please visit www.HeartlandMonitor.com.

The Renewal Awards is the latest project from The Next Economy series, a seven-year partnership between National Journal, The Atlantic and Allstate. The series encompasses reporting from National Journal and The Atlantic, the Heartland Monitor Poll (which explores Americans’ shifting economic attitudes and experiences), and national and local events.

Public nominations and official contest rules for The Renewal Awards are available at www.RenewalAwards.com.

Survey Methodology
The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll investigates Austin metro area residents’ views on the local economy and institutions, innovation, and the city’s future. The poll was conducted by FTI Consulting from July 8-12, 2015. The survey included a sample of 400 adults age 18+ living in the Austin metro area, and the counties of Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell, with 200 reached via cell phone and 200 reached via landline. Respondents were given the choice to take the survey in English or Spanish. The margin of error for a sample of 400 is +/- 4.9 in 95 out of 100 cases.

About Allstate Corporation
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” The Allstate brand’s network of small businesses offers auto, home, life and retirement products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. In the 20 years since Allstate became a fully independent public company, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners have donated more than $405 million to support local communities.

About National Journal Group
National Journal Group (NJG) is a premium provider of essential insights, analysis, and solutions for those operating in Washington’s policy and government arenas. The brand currently reaches an audience of over 3 million through its editorial products, including NationalJournal.com, Hotline, National Journal, the magazine, and National Journal Daily. In addition, NJG serves 700 of Washington’s top organizations through its robust Membership Services, and convenes the nation’s top leaders at its 75 widely attended live events each year.

Tim Hartman is the Chief Executive Officer, Tim Grieve is President and Editor-in-Chief and Poppy MacDonald serves as President and Publisher. National Journal Group is a division of Atlantic Media.

About The Next Economy
The Next Economy is based on a core idea: even in the face of a political stalemate at the national level, our country has not lost its capacity for self-renewal. Founded in 2009, the program uses print, digital and live platforms to highlight how America is adapting to the changing economy, with a special focus on spotlighting local innovation driving progress in communities around the country. Combining editorial, events and the Heartland Monitor Poll, The Next Economy is available at NationalJournal.com/next-economy.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN) is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,400 employees located in 26 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.76 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2014. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:
Jeff Cartwright
National Journal
Jeff@nationaljournal.com
(202) 266-7405

Jill Griffiths
FTI Consulting, for Allstate
Jill.Griffiths@fticonsulting.com
(512) 783-8752

Pamela Morris
Allstate
Pamela.Morris@allstate.com
(847) 402-5600
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