In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 104) fielded February 18th to 20th, 2022 among 2,033 U.S. adults, we look at how many Americans aren’t yet comfortable dropping COVID restrictions, how some workers feel better about their career working from home, the impact of anti-unionization efforts on brand reputation, how the pandemic is exacerbating Americans’ sleeping problem, and which brands won at the Super Bowl.

Tune in for our America This Week: From The Harris Poll audio event this Friday at 10am EST on LinkedIn for a data driven discussion between our CEO John Gerzema and CSO Libby Rodney. They’ll be covering the latest trends in society, the economy, and the consumer marketplace. 

As a public service, our team has curated key insights to help leaders navigate COVID-19. Full survey results, tables, and weekly summaries can be accessed for free at The Harris Poll COVID-19 Portal. We will continue to actively field on a regular cadence to track the shifts in sentiment and behaviors as the news and guidelines evolve.

America’s Rapid – Yet Unequal – Pandemic Off-Ramp: Axios-Harris Poll

America is accelerating toward a return to pre-pandemic life, though millions of people aren’t yet comfortable abandoning pandemic precautions – or they feel downright threatened by the rapid reversal according to our latest survey with Axios.

  • Driving the news: Businesses and policymakers across the country are removing mask and vaccine mandates, loosening COVID protocols and encouraging more in-person interaction.
  • However, just over half (55%) said they agreed that it’s the right time for states to begin lifting their indoor mask mandates, with Republicans much more likely to agree than Democrats.
  • Plenty will be masking anyways: Three-quarters said they’ll keep their masks on if the public majority voluntarily does, and (70%) said they’ll wear a mask if they don’t know whether the people around them are vaccinated.
  • Continued masking may be in part to (71%) of Americans that believe that COVID-19 is now a part of daily life and will last in some form (v. 29% remaining hopeful it will become eradicated).

Takeaway: Employers are also dropping mask mandates and, in some cases, setting return-to-work dates, AP reports. However, based on other Harris surveys, companies will need to follow best practices and understand who does – and does not – want to be back in the office full time. 

The Unequal Return to the Office: Axios-Harris Poll

In our latest survey with Axios, we found that women and People of Color are generally happier working from home and are likelier than their white male colleagues to want to continue working remotely.

  • Just over half (52%) of women say they enjoy working remotely and would like to do so in the long term, compared with (41%) of men.
  • Only (15%) of women say working in person allows for more camaraderie among colleagues, compared with one-quarter (25%) of men.
  • Over half (52%) of Black workers and (50%) of women say working from home is better than working in the office when it comes to advancing in their careers, compared with (42%) of men.
  • Three-fifths (63%) of Black workers and (58%) of women say they feel more ambitious when working from home versus the office. Just (46%) of men feel the same way.
  • And when asked about their anxieties over returning to offices, (47%) of women of color say they worry about having to dress for work, compared with (31%) of men.

Takeaway: “It’s output over office politics,” says John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll. “It’s the theater of the office that is often alienating women workers, workers of color, women of color…and I think what you’re seeing from this data is that COVID, perhaps accidentally, has very much liberated workers, particularly women and BIPOC workers.”

Anti-Union Stances Can Affect Brand Sentiment: Morning Brew-Harris Poll

Across industries and job titles, many workers around the U.S. – a Starbucks store, an REI store in Manhattan, tech workers at The New York Times – have been coming together to fight for better working conditions. And they may have the public on their side according to our latest data in partnership with Morning Brew.

  • Seven in 10 (71%) Americans believe that more service-industry companies should have employee unions.
  • That belief has the potential to impact purchasing behavior, as (42%) reported being less likely to shop with a company that is trying to stop its employees from unionizing, and (41%) said the same of a company with a union on strike
    • And those numbers are even higher among Gen Z.
  • Beyond that, (29%) of Americans would be more likely to purchase from a brand with unionized employees, including (41%) of Millennials and (32%) of Gen Z.

Takeaway: “We’re seeing an overall move in power, a shift in power from the C-suite to the E-suite, the employee suite,” according to Linda Ong, founder and CEO of Cultique. “People recognize that worker rights are important because everybody is reassessing the role of work in their lives anyway.”

Pandemic Worsening Americans’ Already Terrible Sleep: HealthDay-Harris Poll

Many Americans are bone-weary following two straight years of pandemic stress, and our latest data in partnership with HealthDay and as covered by U.S. News shows that sleeplessness is only part of the problem. Here’s what else we found:

  • One-third of Americans feel more tired now than they did before March 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But just (28%) say they’re getting less sleep than before the pandemic.
  • About (60%) agree that they often feel mentally tired even when they haven’t been physically active.
  • A similar number (57%) say they can’t sleep well because they have too much on their minds, while about half (49%) say they are often too anxious to sleep well.
  • This weariness is probably driven by pandemic-related changes causing a lack of separation between work and home life that can be fatiguing, according to Michelle Drerup, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program.

Takeaway: “There’s a gap there that basically says tiredness is not just driven by sleep,” said Kathy Steinberg, vice president at The Harris Poll, with our poll pointing to deeper anxieties and stresses in the American psyche that are causing fatigue and harming sleep.

Brand Bowl 2022: Second Annual Index on the Big Game’s Ad Impact

Using Harris Brand Platform data, our second annual Brand Bowl report measured the impact of Super Bowl commercials on advertisers’ brand equity scores. Here’s what we found:

  • WeatherTech, Disney+, and General Motors saw the greatest lifts in overall brand equity after the Big Game.
  • Thirty brands made their Super Bowl debut. Notable wins include: Wallbox (+4.4 purchase consideration), Irish Spring (+6.0 perceived quality), Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda (+10.1 brand familiarity).
  • Super Bowl LVI ads were full of cryptocurrency platforms, electric vehicles, and sportsbook brands, resulting in mixed consumer reactions.
  • Our Ad Recall Tracker ranked the top 16 brands with the highest ad recall rates. Amazon Alexa (39.6%) and Avocados from Mexico (39.0%) led the pack.
  • This year’s viewers saw a higher percentage of comedic ads (63%), and a lower percentage of heartfelt ads (13%) than in the prior two Super Bowls.

Takeaway: As the most watched televised event of the year, Super Bowl advertisers stand to greatly increase their brand awareness and equity. However, brand tactics must align with changing consumer tastes to make a positive impact on advertisers’ biggest night.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from February 18 to 20, among a nationally representative sample of 2,033 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 February 18 to 20, among a nationally representative sample of 2,033 U.S. adults.


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