America This Week: Quiet Vacationing, Our Economic Indifference, America’s Most Non-Partisan Companies, and Who We Trust (and Don’t) With AI

The latest trends in culture and society from The Harris Poll.

In our new Axios Harris Poll 100 corporate reputation rankings, AI chip maker Nvidia leaped from relative anonymity to #1 this year. That it jumped the tech vanguard like Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet speaks to how AI trust is a growing public concern. Our America This Week Tracker fielded May 24th to 26th among 2,125 Americans, finds nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) are concerned about artificial intelligence, with over a third (26%) being very concerned. 

We have four polls of interest this week

Move over, quiet quitting! This summer is all about quiet vacationing. 

Americans fail our Harris-Guardian economic pop quiz.

Axios and Harris chart the least politically alienating companies in America.

Americans ascribe very different levels of trust to companies that handle AI.

Quiet Vacationing Is An Out Of Office Workaround: CNBC-Harris Poll

Are you afraid to ask your boss for a day off? According to our new survey with CNBC, maybe just join the “Quiet Vacationing” trend instead. 

  • Nearly eight in ten (78%) U.S. workers say they don’t take all their PTO days, and it’s highest among Gen Z (89%) and Millennial (83%) workers.
  • Asking for PTO isn’t easy: Half of employees (49%) get nervous when requesting time off from their employer (Gen Z: 58%, Millennials: 61%).

A new way to play hooky:

  • (38%) of Millennial employees have “moved their mouse” to maintain online status on the company’s messaging system (all workers: 31%).
  • (37%) have taken time off without communicating it to their employer.
  • (37%) have scheduled a message to send outside of regular hours to give the impression that they’re working extra hours (all workers: 31%).

Harris Poll’s little dent in culture: Our colleagues Marie Aloi and Libby Rodney coined this phrase only last week, and there’s already a skit on Jimmy Fallon.

Takeaway: “There’s a giant workaround culture at play,” says Libby Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer of The Harris Poll. “While Gen Zers tend to be more vocal about workplaces that shame people for wanting to ask off work, millennials would rather take matters into their own hands but under the radar. They will figure out how to get appropriate work-life balance, but it’s happening behind the scenes,” Rodney adds. “It’s not exactly quiet quitting, but more like quiet vacationing.”

Americans Fail Our Pop Quiz on The Economy: The Guardian-Harris Poll

We all know that Americans are sour on the economy. But indifference to real economic facts shows the deep pessimism is in our new survey with The Guardian.

Background: We asked Americans to answer a few questions about the actual state of the U.S. economy. Hint: It didn’t go well…

  • Over half (55%) of Americans believe the U.S. economy is shrinking this year (It’s growing).
  • Nearly half (49%) believe the S&P 500 is down for the year (It’s up).
  • The same number (49%) believe unemployment is nearing a 50-year high (It’s a 50-year low).

What’s going on here?

  • Personal finances skew economic perceptions: Two-thirds (66%) say it’s difficult to be happy about positive economic news when they feel financially squeezed each month.
  • Wary eyes cast distrust toward the media: Nearly two-thirds (62%) think the economy is worse than the media makes it out to be.

Takeaway: John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, told the Guardian that Americans are saying that “economists may say things are getting better, but we’re not feeling it where I live.” Unwinding four years of uncertainty takes time. Leaders will have to understand this and bring the public along.

America’s Most Nonpartisan Companies: Axios Harris Poll 100

In a world of toxic politics ensnaring today’s corporations, staying out of the fray is quite a feat. According to our latest Axios Harris Poll 100 research, despite the culture wars, companies like Procter & Gamble, UPS, and BP have stayed top of mind for consumers without wading into hot-button issues or cultural controversies.

  • This year, (40%) of American businesses were perceived as being nonpartisan, with eight firms – Aldi, General Electric (which recently split into three), General Motors, Novo Nordisk, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and UPS — maintaining “good” reputation scores (between 70-74.9) while also keeping a partisan split of 0.9 or below.
  • Zooming in: Specific industries appear less polarizing than others, such as fast food, which appeals to everyone (Chipotle and Pizza Hut, especially), and energy companies (GE, Shell, and BP).
  • On the other hand, Target, AB InBev, and Pfizer were viewed as skewed to the left, while the Trump Organization, Fox News, and X were skewed to the right.

Takeaway: Overall, corporate America is deemed more left-leaning, with forty-one companies on this year’s list of 100 viewed as left-leaning and nineteen seen as right-leaning. Staying nonpartisan is a key business play as companies have increasingly come under fire for commenting on social or geopolitical issues that do not relate to their business operations.

Americans Don’t Trust Social Media Companies With AI: Axios Harris Poll 100

With AI reshaping our economy and culture, Americans have high bars for who should be handling this technology. According to our 2024 Axios Harris Poll 100, the U.S. public trusts tech companies leading the generative AI wave — like Nvidia, Microsoft, and (to a lesser extent) OpenAI — more than social media platforms, like Meta, ByteDance, and X.

  • Stunning stat: Nvidia, the AI chips powerhouse, is a newcomer to the list in 2024 and also No. 1 in overall reputation, “vision,” and “growth.” The firm came in at No. 8 for trust.
  • By the numbers: Nvidia earned 81.2 (#1) and Alphabet came in at 77.6 (#17), followed closely by Microsoft at 77.5 (#18). OpenAI’s score was 71.8 (#68).
    Meanwhile, ByteDance scored only 60.7 (#95), Meta 59.6 (#97), and X/Twitter 58.8 (#99) – all three saw their scores drop from last year.
  • AI isn’t catching on like social media giants think: While over half (58%) of respondents to the poll recognized the importance of integrating AI into products, only (30%) said they would be more likely to buy the product or service just because it uses AI.

Takeaway: The promise (and perils) of AI have come into focus in the past few years, as its moral, safety, and business ramifications will define companies’ future reputations. Public trust in AI is sinking overall, so companies that rush to show innovation by adding AI to products could also harm their reputations.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from May 24th to 26th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,125 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 May 24th to 26th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,125 U.S. adults.


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