In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 112) fielded from April 15th to 17th, 2022 among 2,028 U.S. adults, we look at how Millennial and Gen Z Americans disagree over Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter. We then look at how the costs of commuting are hurting those back at the office in partnership with USA Today, the green hypocrisy among global businesses in our survey with Google Cloud, the sense of responsibility among Gen Z regarding the environment with 4-H, and a commentary about taxation (and American’s willingness to skirt the rules) from our CEO Will Johnson. 

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.

Millennials for Musk

Unlike Twitter’s Board of Directors who are strongly opposed to Elon Musk’s buyout offer, a plurality of Americans (59%) support the billionaire’s offer, especially Millennials (71%, 65%). However, not all Americans would be pleased with the business transaction. 

  • Millennials are more likely to believe that Musk would have a positive impact on Twitter’s profitability (75%), free speech (75%), and improving Twitter as a product (72%).
  • In comparison, Gen Z was more likely – even more than Gen X and Boomers – to think that Musk would actually have a negative impact on Twitter’s profitability, free speech, and product improvements (40%, 39%, 45%)
  • The difference is in part to philosophy, as Millennials were again more likely to think that billionaires purchasing media companies would be a good thing for free speech on the internet (73%), freedom of the press (72%), and even democracy (71%) compared to Gen Z (57%, 59%, 52%). 

Takeaway: The difference in opinion between Gen Z and Millennials should remind companies that the opinions and interests of young Americans can vary widely and should not be homogenized when deciding their latest marketing and operational processes.

Gas Prices, Inflation, Make Some Want to Work From Home as Offices Call Workers Back: USA Today-Harris Poll

Workers are returning to the office as more employers demand their staff be in-person at least part of the time. But, according to our survey in partnership with USA Today, rising inflation is causing concern for some workers about how much a return will cost them. 

  • Over three-quarters of employed Americans (78%) are concerned about being able to afford the price of gas for their commute, along with the price of food (72%), the price of public transportation (38%), paying for a new office wardrobe (34%), and parking fees (33%).
  • Millennial employees are the most worried with (76%) fretting about the price of gas, while (73%) are worried about the price of food and (49%) are concerned about the cost of public transit.
  • To combat commuting costs, one-fifth of workers received a raise (20%) and/or bonus (19%) to help with commuting costs while others are able to work from home whenever or receive reimbursements for gas, meals, parking, and public transit fares (17%, 13%, 13%, 12%, 11%). Yet (44%) of workers say their workplaces aren’t helping to cover the costs of commuting

Takeaway: Companies will have to try all kinds of initiatives to make the return to the office something their employees can be excited about, whether it be investments in food and drinks, or helping subsidize commutes.

Global Executives Suspect Their Own Companies of “Greenwashing”: Google Cloud-Harris Poll

According to our latest survey with Google Cloud and covered by Axios and Fast Company, senior executives at large companies are prioritizing sustainability goals, yet, many say that “green hypocrisy exists” and even their own companies overstate sustainability progress. 

  • Among over a thousand C-Suite or VP-level executives across 16 global markets and industries, senior leaders face barriers to making progress on sustainability, especially difficulties in measuring and verifying progress.
  • Eight in 10 (80%) of executives rate their company above average for their sustainability work. However, just (36%) say their organizations have measurement tools in place that allow them to track their progress in detail.
  • More than half (58%) say their organization is even guilty of greenwashing (i.e., purporting to be environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but actually isn’t making any notable sustainability effort). 

Takeaway: Companies need to be authentic in their sustainability measures and metrics for the betterment of the environment, but they also need to recognize that greenwashing could impact their demand as environmental-conscious consumers switch away.

Climate, Environment Shape Gen Z Life Decisions: 4-H-Harris Poll

In partnership with 4-H, and covered by Axios, we found that 8 in 10 teenagers expect climate change and other environmental forces to affect big decisions like where they live and whether to have children. Here’s what else teenagers are saying:

  • More than three-quarters of teenagers (77%) ages 13 to 19 feel that they have a responsibility for protecting the future of the planet and the same share feel empowered to act.
  • Yet, just (45%) of teenagers ages 13-19 believe political and global leaders are taking meaningful action to protect the environment.
  • They also see room for improvement locally. Only a slight majority (55%) say their community makes a “meaningful” effort to prevent environmental hazards to protect citizens.
  • The lack of action is problematic as (84%) of teenagers agree that “if we don’t address climate change today, it will be too late for future generations” and the same share believes climate change will affect “everyone” in their generation due to geopolitical instability.

Takeaway: The sense of responsibility for the environment among the majority of teenagers will impact not only the environment but the future of politics and businesses. Companies will need to be aware of how teenage priorities will change the marketplace as they age into adulthood. 

Taxation Survey Reveals Cynicism – and A Willingness to Cheat: Chicago Tribune-Harris Poll

Are you tempted to fudge a little bit as you fill out your income tax return? And if you did, would it be a crime? For many Americans, the answers to those questions are not as clear-cut as one might expect according to our latest article in the Chicago Tribune

  • More than half of Americans (57%) believe they are taxed at unfairly high rates, and the sentiment extends through every cohort – age, education, gender, income, and race/ethnicity. 
  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say that deliberately misreporting income is tax evasion. But a slight majority (52%) say there’s no difference between underreporting and using legal loopholes to lessen what one owes.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults say it would be smart to use loopholes to owe less, and the share increases to two-thirds among those making more than $100,000 annually and college grads. 

Takeaway: According to our CEO, Will Johnson, in the meantime until a tax code reform, when you feel that surge of bitterness over writing out another big check to the government this month, know that you’re not alone: Most Americans feel the same way.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from April 15 to 17, among a nationally representative sample of 2,028 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 April 15 to 17, among a nationally representative sample of 2,028 U.S. adults.


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