Harvard-Harris Poll Explores Voters’ Perceptions of Technology and Its Impact on Society

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The latest monthly Harvard-Harris Poll, released in conjunction with The Hill last week, probes registered voters on various social and policy issues, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its proposed replacement, President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the relationship between Russia/Vladimir Putin and the Trump administration, news sources and “fake news”, and attitudes toward privacy, cyber-security, and technology in general.

Technological innovation continues to transform the world and how we interact with each other both at work and at home. About 3 in 4 voters (74%) say technology makes them optimistic about the future and the benefits of technology are especially relevant for education, productivity, and product innovation.

Yet, mixed opinions surface on whether technology makes the world more (46%) or less (52%) harmonious, and two-thirds of voters (67%) say technology has a negative impact on social values. Half (50%) see the negative impact of technology as it relates to privacy and security, one-third (34%) mention trust in the media, while about one in five mention personal safety (21%) or political expression (18%). More than 9 in 10 voters (93%) indicate that technology makes it easier to bully others and 6% say they have been a victim of cyberbullying themselves.

The nationwide poll of 2,006 registered voters was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll between May 18 and 20, 2017. A detailed presentation of the results may be downloaded at the link below.

Features in The Hill can be seen here.

The poll was supervised by pollsters Mark Penn, Harvard Professor Stephen Ansolabehere, and Dritan Nesho. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years’ experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. The authors teach public opinion research at Harvard.

The Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of Harvard CAPS and The Harris Poll. More details and results are available here.