The 7 percent non-solution: Don’t worry, be happy - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

The 7 percent non-solution: Don’t worry, be happy

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Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2007 8:25 am | Updated: 6:42 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Being able to read the latest goings-on on your cell phone is a certain sign that access to news is nearly universal.

It’s nearly impossible nowadays to be insulated from it all. What’s news is being whatever-cast constantly, affording us a chance more chances to form opinions about society’s most pressing concerns.

Even today, however, there are some who can maintain a sense of being above the fray.

Last Sunday the Tribune reported results of a late May statewide Rocky Mountain Poll of 628 scientifically selected likely voters. Respondents were asked to name as many of what they consider to be the most important issues facing Arizona as they wished.

The results: The top issue is immigration reform (31 percent). No. 2 is environmental protection (28 percent). No. 3 was improving the education system (19 percent).

But No. 8, right after crime prevention, is “Nothing, things are fine,” answered by 7 percent of those surveyed.

This was not “no answer,” as in, “I can’t think of anything.” This was, “Nothing, things are fine.”

In fact, “things are fine” beat out health care, the high cost of living/gasoline prices, a weak economy/unemployment, the threat of terrorism and, at the very bottom, high taxes. This is certainly a sign that for some Arizonans, life is nearly like that drug-chain commercial about a town called Perfect where snow fell on lawns, but not on sidewalks, and you can slide into home plate without getting dirty.

Either that or these folks are really good at tuning out the news — even though they are likely voters.

Maybe, I asked Earl de Berge, whose Behavior Research Center conducted the poll, these folks are all rich, right?

De Berge said that he and his fellow researchers have examined that issue before and can’t identify the extremely satisfied as being from any particular demographic group. They are young, old, male, female, rich, poor, longtime Arizonans and recent arrivals.

And they almost always amount to between 5 and 10 percent of those responding to similar surveys, said de Berge, who said they are likely to be self-focused individuals either content with what they’re doing, or quite grateful for life’s essential gifts.

“It could be a 95-year-old who’s just happy to wake up in the morning,” he said.

Elected officials, of course, seldom hear from constitu- ents who think things are just hunky-dory.

State Sen. Carolyn Allen, RScottsdale, was skeptical.

“They must all have health insurance,” the veteran lawmaker said of the 7 percent. “I’m surprised that health care is not up there after environment.”

Allen said that some people just don’t want to think about certain things. “They just want to keep body and soul together and try to live the good life.”

To first-term Tempe City Councilwoman Onnie Shekerjian, the 7 percent represent a growing state whose economy is superior to others’.

“You don’t have a depressed area where people are thinking about losing their jobs. They come here and life is pretty positive and their future is pretty bright here,” said Shekerjian, who said she was encouraged that education was the No. 3 issue.

Still, 7 percent of us believe there is not one important issue facing Arizona. I’d invite these folks to write in and clue us in about their charmed lives. But chances are that they’re not reading this column.

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