Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 30, 2015

Rank of the iconic Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi on the list of characters from the "Star Wars" franchise that the American public would prefer to elect more than any other challenger when pitted against actual presidential candidates, according to an Ipsos poll: 1

Outside of the political realm, ranks of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi on the list of America's favorite Star Wars characters: 1, 2, 3, 4

In a head-to-head matchup, percentage of the millennial vote captured by Darth Vader, beating Donald Trump's 18 percent: 27

In a head-to-head matchup, percentage of the millennial vote captured by Yoda, beating Hillary Clinton's 26 percent: 50

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Percentage of Americans who say staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on bills is their highest financial priority, according to a survey by Bankrate.com: 38

Percentage who said paying down debt: 21

Percentage who cited saving: 18

Source: Bankrate Inc.

Percentage of people who say they plan to exercise more in 2016, according to a survey by Skout: 78

Percentage of those who say they will only do it with a friend: 26

Percentage who say they get a better workout with a friend: 84

Source: Skout.

Ranks of Charlotte, Amelia/Emilia, Aria/Arya, Olivia and Scarlett/Scarlet on the list of most popular baby names for girls in 2015, according to BabyNames.com: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ranks of Oliver, Liam, Benjamin, Owen and Jackson/Jaxon on the list of most popular baby names for boys in 2015: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: BabyNames.com.

Number of Americans over the age of 16 who do not currently work and who are not looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 94.6 million (equivalent to the entire populations of California, Texas, Florida and the New York City metropolitan area)

Estimated number of people who are either employed (149.3 million) or looking for work (7.9 million): 157 million

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Percentage of U.S. investors who say an increase in interest rates would not make much difference to their own financial situation, according to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index poll: 54

Percentage who believe higher rates would be good for them: 16

Percentage who say higher rates would be bad for them: 30

Source: Gallup Organization.

Number of unique users the Facebook smartphone app had each month during 2015, according to research from Nielsen: 126 million

Number of unique users the YouTube app had each month: 97 million

Source: Nielsen Media Research.

Percentage of U.S. parents with kids under 18 in the household who can think of an instance when their child has made a specific request while shopping, according to results of a Harris Poll: 91

Percentage who can recall at least one occasion when they've refused such requests: 59

Percentage of parents who try to avoid going shopping with their children whenever possible: 40

Source: The Harris Poll.

Ranks of Cuba, Myanmar, Iceland, Colombia, and Ethiopia and Japan as emerging tourism destinations that will gain popularity in 2016 for Americans, according to members of the United States Tour Operators Association: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (tie)

Ranks of New York and California, Arizona and Hawaii, Nevada, Florida and Washington, D.C., and Alaska as the most popular U.S. destinations in 2016: 1 (tie), 2 (tie), 3, 4 (tie), 5

Source: United States Tour Operators Association.

Percentage of workers who characterize their work-life balance as good or very good, according to a survey by Robert Half Management Resources: 77

Percentage of workers who say they have greater balance than they had three years ago: 45

Source: Robert Half.

Idle Thought

"The question is whether or not you choose to disturb the world around you, or if you choose to let it go on as if you had never arrived." -- Ann Patchett, writer

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre@bwr.eastlink.ca.)