In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 78) fielded August 20th to 22nd, 2021 among 2,046 U.S. adults, we look at what parents think as kids return to school amid the Delta outbreak, how Americans are creating their own vaccine mandates, Millennial parents and their interest in the crypto craze, the impact vaccine mandates may have on consumers, and whether or not influencer campaigns are hitting the mark.

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.

School is Back in Session

As children across the country return to the classroom, the war over mask mandates is erupting. We checked in with Americans, particularly parents, to see where they stand on the latest divide. Here’s what we found:

  • Three in five parents with kids under 18 (60%) say knowing that some students are returning to school unvaccinated and potentially without masks makes them uncomfortable, with more than a third (37%) saying they will keep them virtual if it’s an option.
  • However, four in 10 (40%) of the same group say they are comfortable sending their kids back to school, with (21%) saying their child is vaccinated so the status of others doesn’t matter and (19%) saying they don’t think COVID poses a serious risk for their child.
  • A majority of parents support mask mandates for students across all ages with (74%) supporting masks for college, middle, and high school students, (73%) for elementary students, and even (63%) for children over the age of 2 in daycare or preschool.
  • But, even with support of mandates, (59%) of parents with children under 18 acknowledge it’s difficult for their child to wear a mask throughout the school day, with (29%) of parents with kids under 12 saying it’s very difficult compared to (19%) of parents with kids 12-17.

Takeaway: School districts in states where mask mandates are prohibited have resorted to finding loopholes in order to enact rules they think will keep their students the safest, but when it comes down to it our data suggests that Americans think parents should have the final say if a child wears a mask at school (37%).

Americans Create Their Own Vaccine Mandates: Axios-Harris Poll

Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to have cut ties over COVID-19 vaccine disagreements than other generations, according to our new data shared exclusively with Axios and featured in their Vitals newsletter. Axios writes more about how Americans of all ages would implement their personal mandates:

  • While only (15%) of Americans say they would expect party hosts to require vaccination to attend an event, two-thirds say they’d require attendees to be immunized if they were to hold an event themselves.
  • More than a third (37%) said if they were hosting an event they would require vaccination regardless of party size.
  • The generational divide: Millennials had the highest standards — most likely because they are most likely to have unvaccinated kids — with (41%) saying they’d definitely require proof before hosting an event compared to (36%) of those in older generations.

Takeaway: “It’s the new cultural dividing line,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, says. “It’s kind of like the Delta variant is moving in real-time and people are like ‘Should I be doing the wedding this fall?’”

Millennial Parents Join the Crypto Craze. Should You?: USA Today-Harris Poll

Despite a relatively low understanding of cryptocurrencies among the general public, a broad coalition of young American parents, particularly Millennials, are joining the crypto craze. USA Today writes more featuring data provided exclusively from the Harris Poll:

  • Overall, just more than one in 10 (13%) of Americans own crypto – but among Millennials, that number is far higher at (25%).
  • About three in 10 (29%) of Millennial parents own crypto and while (63%) are somewhat concerned the value of their crypto may go to $0, just over one in five (21%) say they aren’t concerned at all.
  • Millennials have mostly turned to social media for advice on investing in crypto: Roughly half of Millennials aware of crypto get their information from social media as opposed to financial websites (40%) or financial TV (37%).
  • Boomers, meanwhile, are most reliant on financial TV (60%) and just (14%) get information about crypto from social media.

Takeaway: “As millennials get older, they’re starting to have more investable assets,” says John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll. “They’re a generation that’s poised to become more financially literate than other generations because they came of age with the rise of fintech and are more digitally savvy when it comes to retail investing.”

Consumers More Likely To Shop With Brands That Mandate Employee Vaccination: Ad Age-Harris Poll

The FDA has announced full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, paving the way for more businesses to mandate vaccines for their employees and customers. In a new poll conducted exclusively for Ad Age, we find that such mandates could be a marketing boon for brands in some industries. Here’s more:

  • More than half of Americans (53%) say they’re more likely to shop in-store at companies that require all employees, whether office or in-store, to get vaccinated, with nearly half (49%) say they’re more likely to shop in-store if customers are required to be vaccinated.
  • Younger consumers are especially receptive to mandates: (62%) of Gen Zers say they would more likely shop at a store that has required employees to be vaccinated, compared with (48%) of millennials, (51%) of Gen Xers and (54%) of Boomers.
  • Mandatory vaccinations could have the most beneficial impact with senior shoppers, with (70%) of people ages 76-93 saying they are more likely to shop at stores with vaccine mandates for employees.

Takeaway: The findings come as marketers wrestle with mandatory vaccination policies as the COVID delta variant spreads. The question now becomes how these new mandates might affect public perception, marketing value and potential sales.

Are Influencer Campaigns Hitting the Mark? A Look at PrettyLittleThing’s Doja Cat Collaboration

PrettyLittleThing is a quickly growing fast-fashion retailer with a strong online presence and a decidedly Gen Z approach to marketing — drawing on social media, influencers and celebrities to connect to its young, female audience. In a new brand tracking case study, we look at data from our Harris Brand Platform to see how its recent collaboration with American rap artist Doja Cat has impacted the PrettyLittleThing brand.

  • PrettyLittleThing’s familiarity score for female Millennials saw a significant jump in April — overtaking ASOS — when the Doja Cat collaboration was unveiled.
  • PrettyLittleThing then continued to keep pace with ASOS over the following two months, showing the potential long-lasting impact of the provocative campaign.
  • Zooming out, we also see that brand equity and all four of its components see a significant increase after campaign launch.
  • At the same time, its momentum score (or how consumers view its trajectory as a company) affirms the bold direction of its campaign strategy and is especially important for up-and-comers to track.

Takeaway: The full report includes extensive analysis on consumers’ watch plans ahead of the event vs. their actual watch behavior; measures the brand lift of major brand sponsors and partners; and assesses the impact of these brands’ creative campaigns on U.S. consumers. 

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from August 20 to 22, among a nationally representative sample of 2,046 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 20 to 22, among a nationally representative sample of 2,046 U.S. adults.


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