America This Week: The Inflation Blame Game, Quiet Vacationing With Fireworks, Crypto’s on The Ballot, and Growing Student Loan Regret

The latest trends in society and culture from The Harris Poll

As we head into the Fourth of July week, forty percent of Americans say it’s one of the best holidays in the year, according to our America This Week tracker, fielded from June 20th to 22nd, among 2,127 respondents. Interestingly, just (30%) of Gen Z say it’s one of the best. One reason might be that our previous polling with USA Today found that younger Americans identify less with the traditional meaning of the American Dream.  (Or perhaps they don’t like fireworks).

Number of the week: 85%

Last week, we launched our Creator Rosetta Stone with Creator Vision and Pearpop, which made Ad Age’s Influencer Newsletter as it found 85% of creators say brands don’t offer feedback on the content they create for them or share any insight into how they evaluate the performance of that content. Congrats to our own Jennifer Musil on this great research.

We have four new polls of interest this week: 

  • Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to blame the government for inflation. But Dems are twice as likely as GOP to blame corporate greed, in our latest Axios Vibes/Harris Poll.
  • Last month, we coined “Quiet vacationing.” But it wasn’t a moment but a movement. 
  • Will crypto become a ballot issue this November? Our data votes yes. 
  • And keeping student loans in the shadows causes hidden pain and shame.

Inflation Blame Game: Axios Vibes By The Harris Poll

In our new Axios Vibes By The Harris Poll survey released in Mike’s Axios AM this morning, Americans divide the blame for inflation almost evenly between government and corporations. But party identification dictates which side Americans are on:

  • Overall, (41%) of Americans say government spending and policies are most to blame for inflation, while (39%) say companies bolstering profits and (20%) say supply chain disruptions.
  • However, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to blame the government for inflation (56% v. 26%), while Democrats are twice as likely to blame corporate greed (54% v. 23%).
  • Watch the swing voter: Notably, (41%) of Independents blamed government and business equally.
  • In another series of questions, just (41%) were optimistic the government would manage the economy through the end of this year; (38%) ensure that companies set fair prices for goods and services, lower inflation, or set junk fees.

Takeaway: A messaging battle over who’s most responsible for higher prices on goods and services in the post-pandemic world — and what to do about it — will likely take center stage in Thursday night’s debate. Having limited room to maneuver on inflation, Biden will try to keep hammering corporations, especially credit cards and the airlines, for hidden fees; anything to deflect, while Trump will pin blame squarely on the current administration. Watch how Independents see the winner in this battle. 

Sneaking PTO This Fourth of July: Inc.-Harris Poll

The fireworks may be loud next weekend, but many working Americans’ vacations will be quiet, according to our new polling shared with Inc.

  • Context: Last month, our Trends, Futures, and Thought Leadership Practice coined the phrase “quiet vacationing,” in which many employees admitted to toggling their mouse, and scheduling off-hours emails to play hooky under their bosses’ noses.
  • Nearly half (48%) of American workers say they have previously “quiet vacationed” during the Fourth of July holiday when they didn’t work but didn’t ask to take time off. And a majority of younger workers (Gen Z/MLS: 56%) admit to QV’ing.
  • While only (10%) of American workers say their employer is closed for the entire week, (46%) believe working that week should be taboo in American culture (Gen Z/MLS: 56% v. Gen X/Boom+: 33%).
  • And nearly two-thirds (62%) of Gen Z/Millennial workers would make tradeoffs for their workplace to be closed the week of the 4th (v. Gen X/Boom+: 29%), such as docking their salary (33%), forgoing certain company perks/benefits (27%), and a portion of their bonuses (19%).

Takeaway: It’s evidence of a “generational divide” around time off, says Libby Rodney Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer at the Harris Poll: “Younger workers think that major holidays should be a time of rest, not just a day off.”  It “speaks volumes about their value on work-life integration,” Rodney says – and forty percent of these younger workers think this time off would make them more productive. Younger generations see a different way of ultimately getting the same work productivity that older generations want.”

Crypto’s On The Ballot This November: Grayscale-Harris Poll

Current economic conditions are driving more Americans toward crypto. And more American voters want crypto normalized and protected like other financially regulated asset classes, according to our latest poll with Grayscale:

  • Among registered voters, (41%) are paying attention to Bitcoin and other crypto assets in the face of geopolitical tensions, inflation, and a weakening U.S. dollar – up from (34%) in November 2023.
  • Similarly, voters expect some of their investment portfolio to include crypto (47% vs 40% in 2023).
  • Nearly eight in ten (79%) voters agreed that political leaders must work towards creating frameworks and rules that enable financial inclusion and investor protection.
  • And voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is informed about crypto than one who is not (53% vs. 48% last year).

Takeaway: “This is a timely survey given the latest developments related to crypto policy on the Hill. Likely American voters from across the political spectrum indicate a heightened interest in investing in crypto assets and supporting candidates well-versed in the emerging technologies,” said Zach Pandl, Grayscale Investments Head of Research. “Aligned with recent votes in the House and Senate, this data reinforces that crypto has become a bipartisan issue neither party can afford to overlook.”

Nearly One-Third of Student Loan Borrowers Say College Wasn’t Worth the Debt: NerdWallet-Harris Poll

Do you have a student debt hangover? According to our new poll with NerdWallet, many student loan borrowers have regrets and think they’ll be in debt for decades or possibly forever.

  • Nearly six in ten Americans (57%) think four-year college is worth the cost, while (30%) of those with student loan debt don’t think their college education was worth the debt.
  • A long road ahead of student loan debt: Over a quarter of Americans with student loans (26%) don’t think they’ll ever completely pay them off, and another (10%) think it will take them 20 or more years to do so.
  • More than a third of student loan borrowers (36%) regret the money they borrowed in student loans, and (20%) borrowed more than they needed just because it was offered.
  • Student loan shame: A fifth (19%) keep their balance a secret from their significant other, while the same number (19%) don’t even know their current student loan balance.
  • Notable: In a recent study we conducted for ETS, (75%) globally agree that by 2035, credentials or certifications will be more important than a university degree.

Takeaway: Most of us do things in life that we wish we could take back, but it can help to reframe those regrets as lessons learned. Aim to forgive yourself for taking on more debt than you needed or wanted to spend on your education so you can move forward and make a plan to pay your balance off.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from June 20th to 22nd, among a nationally representative sample of 2,127 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 June 20th to 22nd, among a nationally representative sample of 2,127 U.S. adults.


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