Brief • 2 min Read
As the nation nears a midterm election amid several pressing and emotionally fraught issues, The Harris Poll surveyed a representative sample of American adults on behalf of TIME to determine the American mood. Below are a few of the key findings.
The situations Americans perceive to be positively and negatively affecting their emotions and the emotions of other U.S. residents are largely the same.
In general, inherently political issues are most often perceived to have a negative impact on emotions.
- Six in 10 (57%) believe that the state of the economy has a negative effect on their mood; 63% believe it has a negative effect on the overall mood of people in the United States.
- About half (54%) believe that the political situation (e.g., elections, party division) has a negative effect on their mood; 59% believe it has a negative effect on the overall mood of people in the U.S.
- About half (53%) believe that global events have a negative effect on their mood; 59% believe they have a negative effect on the overall mood of people in the U.S.
Despite ongoing polarization, most believe that Americans can find common ground on major issues that exist in the country.
Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. adults (87%) believe that at least one social or political issue in the United States could receive widespread support from Americans. When presented with issues that could receive such support, respondents most frequently identified the economy (40%), healthcare access (36%), gun control legislation (30%) and human equality (28%).
When asked to identify the issue they think most likely to receive widespread support, respondents named the economy (19%), healthcare access (10%), reproductive rights (7%), human equality (7%), economic equality (7%), and gun control legislation (7%).
Social and national media are most frequently cited as the influences driving the overall mood of the American people, with national politicians close behind.
One in five (20%) U.S. adults think that social media has the most influence over the public mood, with an equal number citing national media outlets (e.g. news stations, journalists, 20%). The next most frequently cited influences are national politicians (18%) and personal connections (e.g. friends, family, colleagues, 13%), and local (i.e. city and state) politicians (6%).
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll from October 7, 2022 to October 11, 2022 among 1,045 US adults, ages 18+. Figures for age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, region, household income, and propensity to be online have been weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.
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