In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 98) fielded January 7th to 9th, 2022 among 2,037 U.S. adults, we look at how Americans are grappling with learning to live with COVID, the constraints of pursuing higher education, Americans’ concern about cybersecurity and development, financial new year’s resolutions, and the lack of confidence in America’s financial health.

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.

Learning to Live Together

As Americans grapple with the new phase of the pandemic, many are realizing we may never see the last of COVID as it becomes endemic. Here’s what Americans are thinking:

  • In September 2021, we found only one-third (32%) of Americans said they expected to live with COVID in some form indefinitely, while (44%) thought it would be eradicated within two years.
  • Now, most (71%) Americans believe we will be living with COVID in some form forever, with only (29%) saying it will eventually be eradicated.
  • Older generations (77% of Boomers and 75% of Gen x) are the least optimistic we will ever see the last of COVID (vs 65% of Millennials and 62% of Gen Z).
  • Surfing Variants: Nearly all (87%) Americans expect a variant similar to Delta and Omicron to emerge in 2022.

Takeaway: As new variants emerge and vaccines are made to counter them, America may need to confront that COVID will become endemic and adjust to continued surges, restrictions, and new variants.

Are Office Careers Better Than Skilled Trade Jobs? Not According to Most Americans: Fast Company-Harris Poll

Americans broadly see education as a pathway to workplace success, even as it’s become more cost prohibitive for many, according to our latest poll with Fast Company. Here’s what else they think:

  • Three-quarters of Americans (74%) agree that some form of higher education such as trade school or a college degree is essential to future success.
  • Say one thing, expect another: Yet while (65%) of Americans agreed that trade and office jobs are equally promising, only (9%) expected their child to attend any kind of technical school. 
  • Society emphasizes higher education, yet fails to make it affordable as 7 in 10 say that growing costs prevented at least one friend or family member from pursuing it. 
  • One solution supported by (72%) of Americans would be to make community college free for its students. 
  • What about graduates? Three-quarters (76%) agreed that student loan forgiveness would have a positive impact on most Americans. 

Takeaway: Allowing office workers to see what their colleagues on the front-lines are like may be an educational experience for many that benefits the culture of the company as a whole. Just ask DoorDash, who will be mandating all employees make deliveries – even the CEO.

77% of Americans Concerned About Ransomware, IP Theft, and Attacks on Critical Infrastructure: MITRE-Harris Poll

Our recent survey with MITRE on innovation found Americans are concerned about the nation’s research and development (R&D) and innovation trajectory, especially in relation to China. Here’s what else we found:

  • More than half of Americans (55%) believe the federal government should be investing more on technology R&D to stay ahead of China.
  • More Americans believe the U.S. is trailing China in technology R&D (37%) than being ahead of them (31%).  
  • Over three-quarters (77%) of Americans are concerned about ransomware attacks and (86%) would consider them and other cyber attacks on U.S. infrastructure and manufacturing as acts of terrorism.
  • Two-thirds are even concerned about using telecommunications equipment developed in non-democratic countries such as China.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t fare any better as the majority of U.S. residents are concerned about AI being used for malicious intent (75%) and the lack of transparency in AI systems (72%).  

Takeaway: Given the high levels of concern among Americans about ransomware and cyber attacks, technology and communication entities should be cognizant of marketing their safety and protection protocols to settle anxiety and sway consumers.


Savings Are Up, But New Year’s Resolutions Bring Financial Requirements: CIT Bank-Harris Poll

According to our latest survey with CIT Bank, (70%) of Americans are saving the same amount or more money compared to last year. Here’s how they’re doing it:

  • Of those planning 2022 resolutions, (54%) are prioritizing their finances by budgeting, saving, and investing.
  • Over three-quarters (77%) of those planning a financial resolution are focused on saving, followed by improving credit scores (48%), spending less money (48%), reducing debt (47%), investing more (43%), and contributing to 401k and HSA plans (24%). 
  • More savings means more flexibility as (88%) of respondents who are saving more this year compared to last believe that it has allowed them to be more flexible in how and when they spend their money. 
  • There is room for balance as (49%) of those with a new year resolution do plan to purchase something, such as a material item or subscription service, to fulfill their resolution.

Takeaway: While some consumers are ready to purchase, many are holding off, so companies will need different marketing strategies for each group – as well as be cognizant of potential consumer behavior changing once federal student loan payments resume.

‘2022 Wealth & Wellness Index’ Shows Many Americans Less Confident in Their Finances & the Economy Entering Third Year of Pandemic: Empower Retirement-Personal Capital-Harris Poll

Even though the U.S. economy is making a remarkable comeback after enduring a tumultuous two years, our latest survey in partnership with Empower Retirement and Personal Capital finds that Americans’ views of their financial health are languishing. 

  • Consumer confidence in the economy has dropped from (52%) prior to the pandemic to (40%) today. 
  • Only a third (34%) of American consumers identify as “very financially healthy,” a (14%) drop from March 2021 (48%). 
  • However, (40%) do feel hopeful and optimistic about their path towards optimizing their financial health. 
  • Americans are also prioritizing financial goals in 2022 as when asked what their top new year’s resolution is, paying off personal debt (37%) and saving for retirement (36%) now surpass traditionally common goals like exercising more (33%) and losing weight (28%).

Takeaway: Financial entities would be apt to boost their marketing outreach, especially to groups who traditionally forgo, as consumers are increasingly seeking financial advice as Personal Capital’s CMO, James Burton, reports “an 88% increase in net new client assets, excluding market gains.”

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from January 7 to 9, among a nationally representative sample of 2,037 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 January 7 to 9, among a nationally representative sample of 2,037 U.S. adults.


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