The latest trends in culture and society from The Harris Poll

In The Harris Poll, America This Week survey fielded December 2nd to 4th, among 1,984 U.S. adults, more American women are concerned over our ‘stacked crises’ than men. Women are more worried about the economy and inflation (87% v. 83% men), crime rates (87% v. 77%), a potential recession (84% v. 75%), affording their living expenses (73% v. 65%), and even a new COVID-19 variant (66% v. 57%). The only thing men are more worried about is losing their jobs, but even that is a one-point difference (51% v. 50%).

Here’s what else you need to know this week:

  • Are you doom-scrolling your IRA? A new Nationwide-Harris Poll finds more than half of unretired investors are ‘terrified’ about their financial futures.  
  • And this malaise is contagious: New polling finds nearly two-thirds of healthcare workers are losing sleep over their finances.
  • A new Harris Poll with Express Employment finds that nearly half of hiring managers say their company is experiencing increased turnover, costing companies much money.
  • All this volatility is starting to hurt holiday shopping: A new OAAA-Harris Poll finds eight in ten consumers plan to adjust their holiday shopping given the economy.
  • Hey, do you have any regrets? A new Harris Poll with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds nearly one-fifth of Americans are currently removing a tattoo.

To hear about these stories and more, check out our America This Week: From The Harris Poll podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, where our CEO John Gerzema and CSO Libby Rodney dive into the numbers. For any polling ideas, reach out to [email protected].   

Lastly, check out the latest America This Week monthly summary slide deck and tabs for more insights into inflation and worker sentiment Download the November report here.

The Latest Bad Habit is Compulsively Checking Retirement Balances: Nationwide-Harris Poll

According to our latest survey with Nationwide Retirement Institute, investors feel increased pressure on their financial and retirement plans in today’s turbulent economic environment. 

  • Nearly half of unretired investors (51%) say they are terrified about their post-retirement financial futures, with over 2 in 5 (43%) checking their retirement account balances more than three times a week.
  • High inflation is leading women and men to rethink when (38% and 26%, respectively) and where they can retire (44%, 28%). 
  • Additionally, more women are adjusting their retirement portfolios in light of recent market volatility (35% vs. 26% men).
  • Advisors and financial professionals feel their clients’ anxiety: One-third of advisors (34%) say their pre- and recently retired clients are canceling or delaying retirement, and less than a fifth (17%) say this group of clients has contingency plans for a significant market downturn.

Takeaway: “As the holiday season approaches, it may be best to take a break from obsessively checking retirement balances,” said Eric Henderson, President of Nationwide Annuity. “This can create self-induced anxiety, leading to short-sighted, emotional decisions… Instead, if you want to take proactive steps, have a conversation with your advisor or financial professional and establish a long-term plan – or revisit the plan you already have in place to ensure it remains aligned with your goals in the current environment.”

Healthcare Workers Lost Sleep Over Finances: IntelyCare-DailyPay-Harris Poll

Our latest survey with IntelyCare and Daily Pay, as covered by Medical Economics, paints a troubling picture of America’s healthcare workers and their financial health.

  • Nearly two-thirds of healthcare workers report that stress over their finances has hurt their sleep (64%), mental health (59%), self-esteem (56%), physical health (53%), and relationships at home (53%).
  • And more than half (52%) of healthcare workers say they feel less confident about their financial situation vs. a year ago, and eight in ten (79%) are somewhat worried that economic changes will hurt their finances in the next six months.
  • And while (73%) say it’s essential that employers provide tools and resources to help their employees manage financial stress, nearly half (46%) do not feel their employer provides adequate resources or benefits to help them manage financial stress.

Takeaway: “With the ongoing healthcare labor shortages plaguing this country, it’s very disheartening to see that so many of those who remain are struggling…Hiring bonuses and raises that are offset by rising living costs will not translate to building sustainable workforces,” said David Coppins, co-founder, and CEO of IntelyCare. And healthcare shortages mean serious business, with a recent HealthDay-Harris Poll detailing that more than two in three (68%) of people who needed healthcare during the past six months experienced delays or challenges in getting the care they needed, with (57%) blaming staffing shortages for their lack of respect.

A Sudden Holiday Spending Downturn? OAAA/Grid-Harris Poll

Even while the National Retail Federation predicts that “holiday retail sales during November and December will grow between 6% and 8% to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion,” new polling shows consumers may be downsizing their holiday shopping and wishlists this year. 

  • A new Harris Poll with Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) in Forbes finds that over 8 in 10 consumers (83%) plan to adjust their holiday shopping because of the economy.
  • This survey also finds that a quarter (24%) of holiday shoppers were shopping earlier this year compared to last, sticking to budgets (46%), as well as using more online retailers than last (34%) this holiday season. 
  • Another new study with Grid finds that over three-quarters (78%) say the prices of consumer products will impact their usual holiday plans. And consumers are prioritizing travel over gifts this holiday season.

Takeaway: With eighteen days to Christmas, how much this pessimism will hurt spending is unknown. But thrifty shoppers might turn to the secondhand market. These stores are not only more sustainable, but they are typically small businesses. According to a recent NerdWallet-Harris Poll survey, nearly three-quarters of small business owners (73%) say that holiday sales are essential to the success of their businesses.   

Our Bodies are a Tattoo Canvas? Years Later, Some Crave an Eraser: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution-Harris Poll

Tattoos have surged in popularity over the past couple of decades, yet, with so much ink flowing, some people are having second thoughts, according to a new Harris survey with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Nearly (40%) of U.S. adults have at least one tattoo, and even more, roughly half (45%) state they’re at least somewhat likely to get a permanent tattoo in the future.
  • But not every tattoo was a good decision: Close to a fifth of those with a tattoo (19%) have had or are in the process of having a tattoo removed, and a quarter (27%) are likely to have a tattoo removed in the future. 
  • Burying mistakes under more ink: Among those who have or are likely to get a permanent tattoo, (71%) say they would instead get a tattoo they disliked covered by another tattoo than go through the removal process.

Takeaway: Tattoos mark life moments, relationships that matter, and mantras with meaning. But life changes and such is the need for permanent ink to be less permanent. That most would cover up rather than erase a tattoo reflects evolving priorities rather than the regret of getting inked in the first place.   

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from December 2nd to November 4th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,984 U.S. adults.

John Gerzema headshot

John Gerzema


Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from December 2nd to November 4th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,984 U.S. adults.


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