November 1st, 2016 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Americans Desire Safety This Election Season

Americans Desire Safety This Election Season | Sterling

Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th can’t come soon enough. We are down the stretch of this crazy and unpredictable presidential campaign season. The country continues to be as divided as ever and will be throughout the election process. There are worries about voter fraud and intimidation that everyone hopes will not occur. Polls are showing that voters extremely split on their views of the country and where the country is headed. Elections, especially presidential elections, make us all reevaluate our political thoughts, opinion, values, etc. But, are people who affiliate with different political groups as different in their opinions as we think they are? SterlingSM partnered with Kelton Global on a landmark survey that analyzed the background screening industry in the context of the most important topics during this political season: safety, immigration, right to work, gun control, privacy, homeland security, legalization of marijuana and education. There were 1,077 participants in the survey 18 years of age and older that statistically represents the national population.

Presidential Debates

The study found that the topic of safety permeates throughout the minds of all Americans at varying levels. The survey, taken before the first presidential debates in September, asked participants what national issues and topics were most important to them to be discussed during the debates and safety was mentioned by 48% of those surveyed. The top five topics that survey takers wanted to be discussed were:

  • Terrorism (73%)
  • Healthcare (71%)
  • Immigration (58%)
  • Gun Rights (53%)
  • Public Safety (48%)

How did the debate moderators and presidential candidates do on mentioning these topics? In the first debate, one of the topics listed by the moderator was entitled, “securing America.” In the second debate, the Syrian War, its refugees and the Affordable Care Act were discussed and in the third debate, immigration and foreign “hot spots” were discussed. Looking at the topics broadly, not every issue that is on the mind of Americans was actually discussed during the debates.


Across the board, for all political parties, Democratic, Republican and Independent, the most important issue for the election is public safety at 48%. Americans have strong feelings and beliefs on how they feel about their safety. Some interesting findings from the survey on safety:

  • 81% of Americans believe that feeling safe all the time is a right, not a privilege
  • 60% of Americans think about their safety on a regular basis compared to 40% of people who think about privacy.
  • Americans would give up their smartphones, a dream job and use of the internet in order to be safe.
  • More working Americans are willing to give up half of their salary or all of the vacation time for the sake of their safety.
  • Background Screening

    How does background screening fit into the Kelton survey?

    The main point of the survey was to find out consumers thoughts if we eliminated background screening. We wanted to take a different approach as some perceive background checks are negative. As mentioned above, the survey gave some very interesting results concerning background screening in correlation to the main election issues listed above. Nearly ALL Americans strongly support the benefits that result in performing employee background checks. 95% of Americans think it should be mandatory to determine whether a person has a criminal background before he/she takes on the responsibilities of a job. 65% of Americans believe that a background check provides a sense of safety and 59% believe they are necessary for safety. In fact, the survey found that the feeling of safety always ranks higher than good customer service and feeling safe even ranks higher than privacy concerns. While worries about privacy can keep people up at night, safety will always be a priority in all aspects of their lives.

    Regardless of where you lean politically, it is time to pause on where we are as a country at this point in time and think about where we will be in the future. The desire for safety is a common thread that connects us all as we navigate through our daily lives and the lives of those we love.

    Discover all of the fascinating results pertaining to gun safety, child safety and education and right to work by reading our full report, On the Issues: Background Screening And Politics.

    Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.