The latest trends in culture and society from The Harris Poll 

The question of 2023 is, what’s worse, inflation or recession? The Fed is set at 2 pm EDT to decide on another rate hike as the nation roils with a regional banking crisis and additional layoffs from Amazon to ESPN. Our America This Week survey, fielded March 17th to 19th among 2,054 Americans (1,108 employed), finds Gen Z and Millennial workers especially worried about losing their jobs this week (61%, 63%, up 11%-pts and 7%-pts from last week, respectively). 

Here’s what else we’re polling at Harris this week:

  • Surprisingly, many American women are using cannabis on the down low. 
  • Millennials are the cohort most likely to favor a cap on how much money you can make in a year.
  • More Americans are venturing out to be their bosses. 
  • Americans are not letting go of their outdoor holiday decorations (but their neighborhood associations are).

These stories are below. And check out the America This Week monthly summary slide deck and tabs. Download the February report here.

Women Are Secret Cannabis Users: MedMen Enterprises-Harris Poll

A new Harris survey with MedMen in Forbes finds that many American women are now using cannabis but keeping it to themselves.

  • Nearly four in ten (37%) American women 21+  use cannabis regularly, with more than a quarter (28%) using it at least once a month
  • And with changing social norms, younger women are more than twice as likely to use cannabis (21-44: 57%) than older women (45+: 22%).
  • Women say they primarily use cannabis for therapeutic reasons, such as relieving anxiety (60%), helping to sleep (58%), and relieving pain (53%). 
  • An anxiety crisis, especially for working mothers: In a Harris Poll with CVS Health, four in ten (42%) have been diagnosed with anxiety/depression, and (40%) don’t feel their mental health will ever return to pre-pandemic days.
  • Lingering stigmas: Nearly two-thirds of women who use cannabis (65%) say there are people in their life that still do not know, including parents (26%), children (22%), and coworkers (21%).

Takeaway: “We know first-hand from our female-identifying employees and customers that women are increasingly turning to cannabis for their health and wellness needs,” says Karen Torres, chief product officer at MedMen. “However, it’s clear that stigmas persist and inhibit us from sharing our experiences freely. Fortunately, this research confirms that cannabis use has become a popular form of self-care, particularly among women seeking holistic solutions to help manage pain and anxiety or to unwind.”

Millennials Most Likely To Want to Cap Personal Wealth: Fast Company-Harris Poll

Despite mounting anxieties over the country’s growing income divide, limiting how much Americans should be allowed to earn has never gained much traction for cultural reasons. However, in our new poll with Fast Company, Millennials are the cohort most likely to support a socialist-capitalist model in the U.S.

  • One-third of Millennials (33%) say that a cap should exist in the United States on personal wealth, a surprisingly high number that also made this generation a bit of an outlier (Gen Z: 26%, Gen X: 17%, Boomers+: 7%, Silent: 2%). 
  • But their income ceilings vary widely: Their full range (picked by 16%) was $100,000 to $500,000, but in second place, with (14%), was $10 million to $49.9 million!
  • While this would be DOA in our current society, President Biden’s billionaire minimum income tax is expected to appear in his budget request to congress, looking to require America’s richest 0.01% to pay a minimum (25%) tax rate.

Takeaway: Millennial willingness for wealth gaps may be attributed to their lived economic experiences: Once the pandemic years are included, the average millennial has experienced the slowest-ever rate of U.S. economic growth since entering the workforce, saddling them with worse earnings, therefore less wealth, and delayed mileposts of success, such as opening retirement accounts or buying their first homes. Oh, and remember about student loan debt?

In This Economy, Some Look To Be Their Own Bosses: HoneyBook-Harris Poll

With the aforementioned growing layoffs in the tech sector, another new Harris poll with HoneyBook finds that current economic uncertainty is nudging more workers into self-employment in 2023. And it’s not only about job security. Independent business owners have more pride in their work and satisfaction with their job since becoming their bosses.

  • The economy as a catalyst: Six in ten (59%) workers are more interested in working for themselves.
  • Half of employed Americans (51%) have considered leaving their current job to work for themselves, and of those, (44%) have in the last year. 
  • Looking for a better life: Two-thirds think independent work would make more money than they do in their current job (68%) and consider their overall quality of life would improve (66%) – which is backed by experience as (89%) of independent workers report being more satisfied with their job compared to their previous organization employment.
  • Yet be wary of the greener grass: More than three-quarters (78%) of independent business owners say running an independent business comes with more challenges than they anticipated – the most common one is staying on top of all of their business management tasks (41%).

Takeaway: “It takes courage and passion to start an independent business, but the rewards are significant both financially and personally,” says HoneyBook co-founder and CEO Oz Alon. “Anecdotal evidence has told us for a long time that autonomy over one’s career, flexibility with one’s time, and financial gains are among the chief benefits of being an independent business owner, and now we have the data to prove it.”

What is Too Long For Holiday Decorations? Grid-Harris Poll

Skelly the Skeleton was such a huge hit last Halloween that your neighbor kept the twelve-foot-tall fixture on display throughout winter holidays, donning a turkey leg for Thanksgiving, a Santa suit for Christmas, and a leprechaun outfit for St. Patrick’s Day. But fighting back are neighbors and neighborhood associations who won’t tolerate leaving holiday décor on display longer than usual.

  • We asked Americans what is acceptable versus tacky. And for the majority of Americans, winter holiday decorations are out of sight, out of mind by around the New Year, with three in five taking down their outdoor seasonal decor within a week of the holidays:

  • But don’t be the Scrooge: Slightly more than half do not want to be the first to take down their displays. 
  • Forceable reindeer removals: Ten percent said they removed their outdoor decorations because a neighbor or family member requested. A similar number (9%) said they had to because their neighborhood required it.
  • The decoration police: Nearly a quarter of Americans would support laws and residential guidelines that mandated households to remove seasonal decor by specific deadlines:

Takeaway: “Some are so tied to their home décor (or maybe finding their inner rebel) that they’ve gone to great lengths, such as dressing up their oversized Halloween skeleton (fondly known as Indiana Bones) and moving it from yard to yard, like one Florida household did to avoid fines. But if you’re not willing to find the HOA loopholes, it may be worth checking how long your 12-foot pal, inflatable snowman or sparkly life-size reindeer will be welcome to the neighborhood — and if you have a storage plan in place” (Grid).

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from March 17th to 19th among a nationally representative sample of 2,054 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 March 17th to 19th among a nationally representative sample of 2,054 U.S. adults.


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