I’m told a lot of you read this email while still lying in bed next to your partner or spouse. 

This one should be fun for all of you. Awkward, maybe.

We’ve been working on something called “psychographic driver analysis.” The idea is that we take a particular attitude (“How concerned are you about climate change?”) or behavior (“How often do you eat at Panera?”) and let the machines crawl our 4 billion poll responses to surface the things that are most predictive of the attitude or behavior. AI then writes up the analysis for us. 

For today’s episode, we looked at one of my all-time favorite poll questions – which asks whether people believe their significant other is “objectively attractive.” A shocking 1 in 4 people say “no.”  

Here are the factors most correlated with that question – written by our robot friends. Presume causality where you see fit:

Political Agreement: People who believe their significant other is objectively attractive are more likely to share their political views, while those who do not find their partner attractive are less likely to agree politically. 

Division of Household Chores: Perceptions of a partner’s attractiveness are related to how people perceive the fairness of household chore distribution. Those who find their partner attractive are more likely to feel that chores are equally split.

Snooping on Partner’s Phone: Those who believe their spouse/partner is attractive are more likely to admit to snooping on their partner’s phone. Conversely, those who don’t find their partner attractive are less likely to engage in such behavior.

Communication with Exes: Perceptions of a partner’s attractiveness are associated with feelings about partner communication with exes. Those who find their partner attractive are more likely to be okay with their partner being in touch with an ex.

Extended Family Drama: Those who perceive their partner as “absolutely” attractive are more likely to experience “a lot” of drama in their extended family, while those who find their partner “probably not” attractive are less likely to experience drama.

High School Sweethearts: Those who believe their spouse/partner is objectively attractive are more likely to still be with their high school sweetheart.

Love Languages: People who strongly agree that their partner is objectively attractive tend to value acts of service in their love language, while those who strongly disagree are more likely to value gifts.

In-Law Relationships: Opinions on spousal attractiveness are related to how partners feel about their in-laws. Those who find their partner attractive are more likely to like their in-laws.

Childhood Fist-Fights: People who think their significant other is objectively attractive are more likely to have gotten into fist-fights as a child.

Bathroom Door Closure: People who find their significant other “No, not at all” attractive tend to report never closing the bathroom door, while those who find their partner “Yes, absolutely” attractive tend to report always closing it.

Hopefully you’re on the right side of most of those. And, for the love of God, close the bathroom door.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

A cooling job market hasn’t deterred people from looking. Even as Americans are feeling less optimistic about the employment landscape, they haven’t lost their wandering eye. The percentage of U.S. adults who say they’re looking for a job is up 1pp since January, while those who say they’re unhappy in their current job has climbed by 3pp since June. The people who are most likely to be looking for a job currently work in a hybrid environment, particularly people in managerial or technical jobs. The motive for more flexibility has increased the most since the beginning of the year – likely as people returned to the office. 

Private label brands are having a day, especially at Walmart. In our latest tracking data, 36% of store brand shoppers say they’re buying them more frequently than they did this time last year, versus just 8% who say they’re buying them less. Private label is the biggest hit among Walmart shoppers – 71% say they purchase Walmart’s store brands at least somewhat often – compared to Target shoppers (50%) and Amazon (45%). Groceries are the big difference. 

A lot of people now think COVID is better than a common cold. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ten percent of Americans say they’re reluctant to fly right now because of the recent COVID surge, up from 8% in June – but down from 16% last December. It seems we’ve more or less just decided to live with it. Only 39% of adults think COVID is a bigger threat than the common cold or flu. No surprise, there’s a huge political split on the question. Still, this is a good sign for retailers and such. People won’t be deterred by another surge.

Americans are divided on the Fed, but I don’t think it matters that much. A slim majority of U.S. adults report having medium (37%) to high (14%) trust in the Federal Reserve to steer the economy. Republicans have far less faith in Chairman Powell, likely viewing him as a proxy for the Biden Administration, even though he was appointed by President Trump, which maybe they’ve forgotten, but I digress. In any event, it doesn’t seem like the Fed’s upcoming decision on interest rates will clearly impact consumer spending – at least not in any way that makes sense.

Both sides of the political aisle agree public schools are a mess. In our 3 Things to Know this week, we examined rising concerns over the state of public education and, well, they’re rising. Seventy-four percent of Republicans and 62% of Democrats are “very concerned,” up 10pp and 16pp, respectively, over the last two years. That’s what they call a winning political issue. Meanwhile, we also looked at how people feel about ChatGPT crawling copyrighted material and the big generational differences in what people want out of the holidays this year.  

More awesomeness from the InsightStore™ this week:

  • Consumers’ holiday spending expectations are on par with last year and other early seasonal insights;  
  • Plans to play fantasy (yearlong + daily) football are down slightly this year, but streaming (and YouTube TV) are up;
  • Pumpkin spice latte fans love Caribou Coffee and other PSL insights;
  • Djokovic and Gauff have the most rooting interest in the U.S. Open if anyone watches. 

The most popular questions this week:

Answer Key: Not at all; Great if it’s my Private Jet Era; No thanks; Yep; Not very oftenly. 

Hoping you’re well.


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