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Biz tidbits from surveys

The buzzword for this year's election seems to be "change," and top executives and managers nationwide are keeping with the lingo, shows a recent survey of hundreds of company CEOS, presidents and managing directors. Human resources company Development Dimensions International conducted the online survey of 557 executives during the week of Jan. 28:

- 51 percent, the largest group, said they thought one of the three key attributes of the next president should be the "courage to make major changes."

- 49 percent said the ability to get those things done is one of the three most important traits.

- Almost three-fourths said the president should have similar skills and leadership capabilities as a business CEO.

- 28 percent even said that when choosing the next president, they would focus primarily on candidates' ability to lead.

- 8 percent said their vote would be based on party affiliation.

Stores misinform on digital TV switch

Electronics retailers are misinforming consumers when it comes to next year's transition to digital television, a consumer group says. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says it helped conduct a series of "secret shopper" surveys, checking on 132 electronics store locations in 10 states. The chains surveyed were Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears and Target. Their key findings:

- 81 percent of sales staff gave false information about converter boxes, which will allow older, analog sets to receive the new digital signals. Many tried to sell customers premium, multifunction boxes that aren't needed to receive digital signals.

- 78 percent of sales staff provided incorrect information about the federal government's coupon program, which allows consumers to get up to two coupons worth $40 each toward the purchase of converter boxes.

- 42 percent provided wrong information about when the transition takes place.

- The findings come two weeks after a report from Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, concluding that many U.S. consumers remain in the dark over the transition and key details about how it will affect them. That survey showed 36 percent of Americans knew nothing about the shift, which is set to take place Feb. 17, 2009. And even among the 64 percent who knew about it, most of them had serious misconceptions over what they would need to do to receive the new high-definition programming.