CivicScience continually tracks current and anticipated consumer trends. Here are three key insights marketers should know this week. All insights are derived from the CivicScience Social | Political | Economic | Cultural (SPEC) Report, a weekly report available to clients covering the latest news and insights. Get in touch to learn more. 

1. Voters prioritize the effectiveness of Congress and immigration as top 2024 election issues.

The next presidential election is 13 months from now, yet the primary campaign season is already in full swing, with the second GOP primary debate airing last week. Once again, the current front-runner, former President Donald Trump, did not attend; however, this time, there was no competition from Tucker Carlson featuring Trump. According to CivicScience data, Republican and independent voters were twice as likely as Democrats to tune into the debate. While fewer than 20% of U.S. adults claim to have watched or listened to it live, nearly 60% of respondents, regardless of their political affiliation, reported following news coverage of the debate after its broadcast.

Among the political issues most important to Americans this election cycle, ‘effectiveness of Congress and its ability to pass legislation’ stands out as the narrow leader for 47% of respondents, just days before Congress (perhaps temporarily) averted a government shutdown at the last minute. Other leading issues include immigration (46%), the healthcare system (40%), and the public education system (33%). 

An overwhelming majority of Republicans (83%) emphasize immigration as one of their top three 2024 election issues, compared to 17% of Democrats feeling the same. On the flip side, Democrats are more than 20 points more likely to prioritize healthcare, and are also more than five times as likely to choose climate change as a primary issue.

2. Three in ten Americans have felt somewhat or very lonely in the past week, including 50% of Gen Z adults.

The U.S. surgeon general warned earlier this year that loneliness and isolation represent a threat to public health on par with smoking and obesity. The latest CivicScience data show as much as 30% of U.S. adults say they have felt somewhat or very lonely in the past week or so. Young adults appear especially susceptible to loneliness – 50% of 18- to 24-year-olds report feeling somewhat or very lonely in the past week. Employed adults — especially remote workers — are more likely to report strong feelings of loneliness. Moving to a new house or apartment also contributes to an increased risk of loneliness, as respondents who moved residences within the past year are more than twice as likely to report feeling very lonely in the past week or so.

While the loneliness epidemic has been a growing issue of concern for decades, the issue was certainly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although one-half of Americans say their social lives have gone back to normal over the past couple years, 31% of U.S. adults, however, say they are engaging in social activities less often now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

3. Twelve percent of Americans say they went by themselves to the last movie they saw in theaters.

CivicScience has kept a close eye on moviegoing trends amid the ongoing actor strike and a busy summer led by “Barbenheimer” mania. For instance, more than 1-in-5 Americans report they’re going to the movies ‘more often’ this year. Another noteworthy consumer movie trend standing out this year? Going solo. Despite the aforementioned struggles with loneliness, a number of opinion pieces have been written over the past decade on the merits of going to the movies alone. According to new CivicScience polling, 12% of moviegoers say they went by themselves to the last movie they saw in theaters. This figure climbs to 19% among frequent moviegoers who go to the movies at least once a month.

Solo movie theater trips are much more common among younger adults – U.S. adults under 45 are nearly twice as likely as those 45 and older to say they went by themselves the last time they went to the movies.

Respondents who have never been married are four times more likely than married respondents to report going to their last movie alone, but they are also 14 points more likely to say they went with friends or family. Married adults, meanwhile, are twice as likely as other respondents to have been with a date or partner the last time they saw a movie in theaters.

Interested in an in-depth look at the data featured on these topics, along with additional consumer insights from this report? Connect with us to see how you can gain access to the full SPEC Report sent to clients every week.