In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 131) fielded from August 26th to 28th, 2022 among 2,013 U.S. adults, here’s a number that may surprise you: Nearly as many Americans are concerned about monkeypox (55%) as another wave of COVID-19 (56%). Never has any other public health concern competed this closely with the coronavirus since our weekly data collection began in mid-March of 2020. 

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.

Gen Z Win Participation Trophy For Labor Day Shopping: AdAge-Harris Poll

According to our co-CEO Will Johnson’s latest op-ed in AdAge, younger Americans may not know much about Labor Day, but they do know they like it.  

  • Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say that they understand the meaning of the holiday, but Gen Z is the outlier, with only (52%) understanding it and a surprising (48%) confessing to not.
  • And while (56%) of Americans overall plan to shop this Labor Day weekend, Gen Z and Millennial consumers are the most enthusiastic (69%, 71%, respectively). 
  • Better than Black Friday shopping? Three in 5 Millennials believe the deals offered during Labor Day sales events are better than those offered during other sales events throughout the year – a sentiment shared by more than half of Gen Z (53%).

Takeaway: Marketers take note: Knowing who is poised to make a holiday spending splash – and on what – should help tailor their promotions for one of the largest retail days of the year. For example, “Back-to-school buying and dorm decorating are top-of-mind for youngsters. As schools reconvene for the start of the academic year, seasonal inventory, of course, must be offloaded, and young consumers making it through a hot summer of scorching inflation are ready to find some deals,” says Johnson.

TikJobs: Over Half of Younger Workers Are Finding Jobs on Social Media: CareerArc- Harris Poll

The labor shortage remains a vexing problem for employers and the economy at large. But new data suggests companies should be turning social media to attract new talent, according to our latest survey with CareerArc

  • Younger Americans use social media to job search: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Gen Z and (56%) of Millennials have discovered job opportunities on social media. That’s nearly twice as many as Gen X ( 31%) and fifty percentage points higher than Boomers: (12%). 
  • Social media also brings a wider audience of applicants: Hispanic and Black Americans were more likely to report having discovered job opportunities (49%, 46%), apply to jobs (42%, 39%), and connect with recruiters/employees at prospective employers (42%, 35%) via social media compared to white Americans (28%, 21%, 21%).
  • Employers will need a social presence to showcase their culture and build the company brand: Half of employed Americans (50%) say they would share their company’s social media content (66% Gen Z), which will be central to a company’s success in recruitment as jobseekers turn to social media in their job hunt.

Takeaway: “The value candidates are placing on a company’s social media content and presence makes social recruiting and employee advocacy more important than ever,” said Jim Bramante, Chairman and CEO at CareerArc. “It’s clear that when it comes to hiring, Gen Z and Millennials are turning to social media, whether it’s to find job openings or to assess what your company culture is like, and they’re willing to get involved in company social media if employers simply ask.”

Inflation Is Creating a Wave of “Boomerang Retirees”: American Staffing Association-Harris Poll

Inflaton is a worry among most Americans these days, but especially to those living on fixed incomes. And new data shows nearly half of American retirees say they would be motivated to rejoin the workforce if inflation continues to eat into their savings, according to our latest survey with the American Staffing Association

  • Flex/remote work ideal: (41%) of current retirees said they would look for a job if they could have a flexible work schedule, and (35%) if they could work remotely. 
  • Aged out? However, (43%) said their age would be the number one barrier to them getting a job.
  • But why not stay in part-time work longer than retire? In a recent Harris survey with Express Employment Professionals, half of workers aged 57 to 75 years (48%) reported their company had adequate successors in place when their own retirement comes – yet three-quarters of workers (57-75) would rather be semi-retired than leave the workforce entirely (78%). 

Takeaway: “At a time when more retirees need additional income and employers need their expertise and experience, older workers continue to face hiring barriers,” said Richard Wahlquist, president, and chief executive officer at the American Staffing Association. “Employers that take steps to embrace flexibility and diversity across their entire workforces will be more productive and have higher levels of employee engagement.”

QSR & Fast Casual: An Industry Snapshot – Harris Brand Platform

Building off our latest out-of-home (OOH) advertisement survey with OAAA and a recent report from our Harris Brand Platform, we find that quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are a long-standing favorite among consumers that can use the power of ads to keep loyal customers and bring in new customers.

  • There is strength in advertising for QSRs, as according to our recent survey with OAAA, two-thirds of those who had seen a QSR OOH ad went on to make a purchase at a physical store. 
  • Price, products, and promotions: Among those interested in seeing OOH QSR ads, price (42%), new product offerings (39%), and limited-time menu offerings (31%) drive the most interest.
  • Convenience and affordability keep customers coming back: According to our Harris Brand platform report, among those who place an order at a QSR at least once a week, they indicate convenience (59%) and affordability (51%) as the most enticing reasons why they keep returning.  
  • Limited time offers (LTOs) can be a significant draw: (47%) of daily and (38%) of weekly QSR consumers report being more likely to place an order with an LTO – like Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte or McDonald’s BTS and other celebrity-endorses meals. 
  • The QSR favorites: McDonalds (+1.9%), Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers (+1.8%), and Marco’s Pizza (+1.6%) experienced the greatest growth in brand equity from Q1 to Q2 2022. 

Takeaway: While QSRs have been a staple of American culture since the 1920s due to their affordability and convenience, consumer eating habits are constantly evolving. QSRs must keep abreast of ongoing trends to ensure long-term customer retention and growth.

Will New Boosters Also Boost Pharma’s Reputation?

As COVID-19 concerns are fading in the US, so is biopharma visibility, according to our latest The Axios Harris Poll 100, as covered by Endpoint News. However, with the FDA expected to authorize new omicron-specific COVID boosters this week, could pharma have a reputation renaissance? 

  • While Moderna and Pfizer ranked 3rd and 7th, respectively, in the Axios Harris Poll 100 in 2021, Pfizer dropped to #44, and Moderna didn’t even make the initial cut to be included this year. 
  • Rankings naturally drop as Americans are less concerned with COVID today: Americans are more concerned about the economy and inflation (83%) along with a potential U.S. recession (81%) compared to just (56%) concerned about a new wave of COVID.
  • Yet back in April, our Harris Poll Weekly Tracker found that the majority of Americans (70%) believed that we would be living with COVID in some form forever (v. COVID being eradicated: 30%). 
  • Omicron boosters may bode well for Americans (and pharma): The majority of vaccinated Americans (60%) would, in general, receive a second booster shot if it became recommended, while just a fifth (18%) had no plans to back in March. 

Takeaway: The major change is consumer concerns. Instead of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are worried about inflation, rising prices of consumer goods, and the economy. “When people think about Pfizer, they think about it generally favorably, but they don’t think about it nearly as much as they think about going to the grocery store or filling up on gas,” says Rob Jekielek, managing director at Harris Poll. Yet, don’t count pharma out quite yet with the upcoming booster announcement.

Politics in The Classroom: Parents Are Mobilizing For a Fight: USA Today-Harris Poll

As school boards fight over what to teach children in the classroom, our new study in partnership with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools covered by USA Today finds the pandemic unleashed a new generation of more involved and politically-active parents.

  • Nearly eight in ten (79%) of parents said they became more interested in their kids’ education because of what they saw when schooling became virtual and at home during the pandemic, and even more (84%) said they learned more about their children’s education during the pandemic.
  • The vast majority also said education is a top priority for parents as voters, with (83%) saying education is more important to them politically now than before.
  • (82%) of parents even said they would be willing to vote outside their self-identified political party based on educational platforms. Interestingly, this has consensus among Independents: 88%, Democrats: 81%, and Republicans: 79%. 

Takeaway: The Midterms will likely revolve around the classroom and what stands for education vs. indoctrination. In Florida, at least 20 of the 30 school board members endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis won or advanced in their races, campaigning on parental rights, transparency, school choice, and safety. And Republican Glenn Youngkin made schools his closing issue in his upset win over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from August 26th to 28th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,013 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 August 26th to 28th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,013 U.S. adults.


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