In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 128) fielded August 5th to 7th, 2022 among 1,998 U.S. adults, we find Americans facing continued ‘stacked crises’: More than eight in ten (83%) are worried about the economy and inflation, U.S. crime rates (82%) and random acts of violence (81%), political divisiveness (73%), the Russian War on Ukraine (73%), the BA.5 variant (63%), and now, Monkeypox (61%). 

And although nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) are concerned about affording their living expenses, that’s down (-4%-pts) from last week. In another sign that inflation might be cresting, this morning, The Labor Department reported that the CPI rose 8.5% in July, down from 9.1% in June. 

New stories this week include the Twitter v. Musk saga, the growing appeal of a third-party presidential candidate, what companies should think about when speaking out on social issues, why crypto curiosity remains, and the summer travel boom.

Check out our America This Week: From The Harris Poll podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts with me, John, and our CSO Libby Rodney on this week’s data and more.

Musk’s Shotgun Wedding: Ad Age-Harris Poll

According to our latest survey with Ad Age, Twitter’s most avid users are rooting for the company to prevail in its court case with Elon Musk. Their reasoning is that if the billionaire loses, he will still ultimately make Twitter better than the current management.

  • Context: Twitter is suing Musk to make good on his $44 billion deal to purchase the company after he decided to pull his offer due to his concern over spambots. 
  • And Twitter’s most active users are siding with the social media platform in the lawsuit (49%), with just a third (36%) rooting for Musk.  
  • This is in contrast to the (41%) of all Americans saying Musk should win (v. Twitter: 35%). 
  • However, Musk might have backing for his spambot claims: (70%) of Twitter users agreed that bots spread disinformation and harass users, and (55%) agreed there were more bots on Twitter than on other social platforms. 

Takeaway: By siding with Twitter in the lawsuit, the most active users are indirectly supporting Musk to be the new owner, indicating backhanded respect for Musk and his ability to take the platform to new levels. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the current management regime. In November, shares of the social media giant have produced zero net return since its IPO eight years ago.

Is it Time For a Third-Party Candidate? Insider/Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll

What Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, and The Rock have in common: They’re top third-party alternatives to the Biden-Trump 2024 presidential binary. According to the latest data from the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, voters are showing more interest in third-party candidates at a time when approval ratings are historically low for government bodies, indicating a growing appeal of an “anti-establishment” type of leader: 

  • Moving in from the two extremes, America is calling for a moderate leader: 6 in 10 (58%) registered voters would consider a moderate independent candidate for president if the 2024 political matchup was between Trump and Biden – especially younger voters ages 18 to 34 (68%). 
  • Out with the old establishment: 7 in 10 (69%) voters say President Biden shouldn’t run again for the 2024 Presidential primary, and 6 in 10 (59%) say Trump shouldn’t run either. 
  • Making room for a new establishment: Biden’s and Trump’s low numbers are making room for other potential presidential hopefuls, including celebrities, according to Insider’s look at who could go from the red carpet to the White House: Oprah, The Rock, and Tom Hanks. 

Takeaway: An anti-establishment leader’s appeal is capturing American voters’ minds, especially Gen Z and Millennials. But unless there is a moderate candidate with a broad appeal, Biden and Trump could be the frontrunner nominees of their party (they lead their party’s favorites for nominee if the primaries were held today among registered voters, 31% and 52%, respectively).

Companies Aren’t Switzerland, They Are The U.N.: The Axios-Harris Poll 100

Companies have long considered themselves to be a neutral Switzerland when it comes to speaking out on social issues. However, our Axios-Harris Poll 100 data shows that there is an overall growing trend of consumers wanting companies to become more involved social actors, ones that speak out about politics and social issues. 

  • Americans are divided on CEOs expressing political views: Nearly three-fifths (58%) of Americans say this is either good for the company or has no impact (36%, 22%), yet nearly half (42%) say it’s bad for the company.
  • But younger and BIPOC Americans think more progressively: More than (54%) of Gen Z and (52%) of Millennials say there’s more reward in a CEO speaking out on social issues vs. (44%) of Gen X and (40%) of Boomers who say the same. And nearly three-fifths (58%) of Black Americans and (54%) of Hispanic Americans say there is more reward vs. (43%) of white Americans.
  • And less than half say companies are getting it right: Just (40%) of Americans say companies are speaking out on social issues at the right amount, while (32%) say they are doing so too much, and (28%) say not enough.
  • Take Roe v. Wade as an example: In a recent Harris Poll with Fast Company, (54%) of U.S. adults say it is important that the brands or companies they buy from take a position on abortion rights, and (41%) even felt brands have a greater responsibility to be vocal about abortion than other social issues.

Takeaway: According to Stagwell Chairman/CEO (And Harris Chairman) Mark Penn’s op-ed in Ad Age, he recommends brands to take a position that’s close to their business, assemble a balanced team of consultants, and be consistent in their values when speaking out on social and political issues. 

Crypto-Cautious, But Still Curious: Mastercard-Harris Poll

More than a decade after the launch of bitcoin, global citizens still remain curiously cautious about cryptocurrencies, according to our latest collaboration on Mastercard’s New Payments Index as featured in TechCrunch.

  • While only (11%) of global citizens reported having made a purchase using a digital asset, over a third (36%) said they are likely to pay with cryptocurrencies in the next year. 
  • After this Spring’s notorious crypto meltdown, consumers would like to see more stability in the industry, with six in ten (59%) agreeing that they would feel more confident about crypto if they knew it was issued or backed by a reputable organization
  • A similar number (63%) also agree that the government should regulate the cryptocurrency and stablecoin sector.
  • According to Techcrunch, the cryptocurrency market is expected to expand – despite price volatility, growing pains, and the current “crypto winter” – from $1.2 billion in 2021 to $2.8 billion in 2028. 
  • Consumer acceptance of crypto is attributed to the rising popularity of digital assets as investments, security, fast processing, the formation of new legal guidelines, and technologies that simplify use. 

Takeaway: This reimagining of money can lead to new business models, economies, and ways of exchanging value in everyday transactions – yet companies will need to inspire trust to gain new consumers. And soon, the metaverse will span digital and physical worlds via augmented, virtual, and mixed reality platforms. Many bettors believe consumers will move between them armed with new types of digital wallets, inspiring new types of creators. So shorting crypto might be short-sighted.

The Summer of YOLO Travel – Harris Brand Platform

Americans are finally making up for lost time since the pandemic put travel on hold, according to Harris Poll COVID-19 Weekly Tracker and Harris Brand Platform data

  • This summer, Americans wanted to get back out there: Three-fifths (75%) planned to take a road trip, while over two-thirds (69%) planned a hotel stay, and a half (50%) were booking flights.
  • Coming out of the pandemic cave: (64%) were willing to spend more than usual to socialize and travel (64%) this summer, and (58%) planned to spend more on concerts, sporting events, museum visits, etc. – especially Millennials, who were most willing to spend more on socializing, travel, and experiences (all 74%). 
  • Pent-up demand signals a new suite of customer incentives: Case in point, Tripadvisor released a new membership option right as many Americans became vaccinated and were re-entering the travel market after a year at home, causing their brand equity to increase (+7.8), along with their consumer trial (+13.8) and usage (+9.1) numbers between February and August 2021. 

Takeaway: Companies cannot introduce new subscriptions, products, and brand lines in a vacuum and instead need to drive excitement by utilizing well-positioned and well-timed releases to their new and current consumer bases.

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.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from August 5th to 7th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,998 U.S. adults.

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John Gerzema


Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from August 5th to 7th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,998 U.S. adults.


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