Americans aren’t “divided” over the COVID vaccine.

They’re divided over Friends (50%) versus Seinfeld (50%).

Or beer (51%) versus wine (49%).  

Or tucking in their top bed sheet (43%) or not (41%).

But not the vaccine.

By our latest count, 81% of U.S. adults have either received the COVID jab or plan to in the immediate future. Six percent remain on the fence. Just 13% are steadfastly against it (or can’t receive it). 

With over 300,000 different questions in our database, I’ll venture this ranks as one of the LEAST divided things we’ve ever studied. I can’t even tell you how rare it is when 67% of Republicans agree with 91% of Democrats. It’s top-percentile kind of stuff. 

The 13% of Americans who are anti-vax are equal to the percentage who don’t own a smartphone. It’s barely half the number who believe Bigfoot is real (26%) and nearly 50% smaller than the number who don’t believe in God (19%). It’s less common than brushing your teeth in the shower (17%) or not putting a top sheet on your bed at all (16%).

If you subtract the people who have legitimate health reasons for not getting vaccinated, the number of conscientious anti-vaxxers dips below the percentage of Americans who don’t wear deodorant (11%). 

I’m not judging any of these things (at least not out loud), but, make no mistake, they are outlying, fringe, possibly even extreme behaviors – statistically speaking.

Maybe you’re offended by these comparisons – because they’re trite. Because if I choose to brush my teeth in the shower, you don’t have to stand in my nasty spit. Or, because if I choose not to have a top sheet on my bed, you don’t have to sleep under my disgusting comforter. Or if I don’t wear deodorant, you don’t have to… well… you get the point.

Admittedly, parsing words like “divided” in the context of our global vaccine crusade doesn’t make the situation any better. Indeed, with anything short of near-ubiquitous vaccination, the choices of a tiny few are destructive enough to affect us all. 

Maybe getting our young kids vaccinated against COVID will break the cycle. Or maybe we’ll be fighting this battle for years. I’ll defer to science – always – to answer that. 

All I can say, from my perspective, is that finding something where 81% of people in our badly fractured nation are united across party lines, is a victory.

If only a moral one. 

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Consumer confidence, in the most formal economic parlance, is a total shit show right now. Our Economic Sentiment Index hit its second lowest level ever this week, bested, er, worsted, only by the dark and scary days of March 2020. Even then, I don’t think every indicator in our metrics declined like this. The Delta variant, persistent inflation, supply chain concerns, and rising fuel prices are all mixing into a cocktail of pessimistic sludge. People have a particularly abysmal outlook for the U.S. economy right now and even views of the job market are souring. But other than that; Coach Gruden, how was your week?

Despite all that economic malaise, consumers are showing an increased willingness to venture out. Let’s call this the “eff it” stage of COVID, as people resign themselves to the seemingly endless pandemic. Shopping, dining out, travel, major events, going to work, and even going to the movies saw an upswing of consumer intent this week. Maybe it’s one last gasp before the weather turns cold. Or maybe people are just giving up. 

In more positive news, fan interest in the MLB playoffs is up this year – even better than 2019. It’s amazing what happens when teams from New York (for a second), L.A., Boston, Atlanta, Chicago (for two seconds), Houston, and San Francisco all make the dance. Big markets drive ratings which might also explain why we won’t see a salary cap in baseball. Anyway, the fans were pulling for the smallest-payroll team – the Rays. And just like that, they’re gone.   

Money doesn’t buy happiness in the workplace. This is the most thought-provoking research we published this week. Overall, Americans place much higher value on time than money, though it has shifted slightly toward money as the pandemic marches on – as remote workers have found more balance in their lives overall. But the biggest takeaway from the study is seen in the chart below. People who are the unhappiest in their current jobs aren’t looking for a bigger paycheck. They’re looking for more flexibility. In this hyper-competitive job market – if you’re an employer or manager – ignore this at your own peril.

The gender ratio at colleges could be in for a big upheaval. Due in large part to rising costs (and debt) Americans are souring on the value of a college degree, a sentiment that is especially prevalent among Gen Z males. When presented with a list of eight factors that most contribute to career success, graduating from college (and where you go to college) ranks dead last. Men are trending more toward trade schools, versus classic 4-year programs, while coding bootcamps (fast-tracked programs for computer programming) are super appealing to Gen Z. If you want your kids to be lavishly rich and take care of you in your old age, teach them to code.

Providing a nice bookend to today’s lesson, Americans are relatively unified in their concerns over COVID misinformation. A full 70% of U.S. adults are worried about the spread of pandemic falsehoods in the media (and social media), compared to 25% who aren’t concerned at all (5% are “not sure” and I have no idea what that means). Mind-numbingly, the unvaccinated people are 50% more likely than the vaccinated to be “not at all concerned,” presumably because they’re convinced they know the difference. Oh, 24% of people don’t trust any media source for reliable COVID intel. Good luck solving that problem, folks. 

Our research team was particularly prolific this week:

And the most popular new questions this week:

Answer Key: I mean, have you read this email?; None, I have dogs; White wine; I can barely finish the shows I like; Who comes up with this stuff?; Yes, signed John Thomas Dick III.

Hoping you’re well.


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