Blow out the candles and make a wish! It’s time for Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s annual birthday poll.
Every year, Dr. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, yearns to know whether Americans consider his soon-to-be age young, middle-aged, or old. This year, Dr. Miringoff’s wish may come true one more time.
Nearly six in ten Americans, 57%, say 64 is middle-aged. 31% consider it old, and 12% think it is young. Miringoff’s age hangs on to the description of “middle-aged.” Last year, when he turned 63 years old, 60% said he was a middle-ager, 27% thought he was old, and 13% described him as young.
“Phew,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “I would be less than honest if I didn’t notice the increase among Americans who think my age is old. But, overall, I survived another year!”
Younger Americans, not surprisingly, are more likely than their older counterparts to consider 64 to be old. Among Americans under 30, six in ten, 60%, think 64 years of age is old, up from 48% last year who thought 63 was old.
Gender differences exist. While similar proportions of women, 13%, and men, 10%, say 64 is young, women, 61%, are more likely than men, 52%, to think it is middle-aged. Nearly four in ten men, 38%, compared with 25% of women, believe 64 is old.
For the sixth consecutive year, “whatever” tops the list as the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation. Americans’ irritability about the term crosses most demographic groups. However, in the Northeast, “like” and “whatever” are almost equally irksome. Americans younger than 30 are the least likely to be perturbed by hearing “whatever.”
Which word or phrase is thought to be the most overused in 2014? “Selfie” earns that dubious distinction. While there is a consensus among most groups, a plurality of residents under 30 consider “hashtag” to be the word or phrase used too often during the last year.
- A plurality of Americans, 43%, thinks “whatever” is the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation. “Like” is the most irritating for 23% of the population while “literally” gets on the nerves of 13%. One in ten residents, 10%, reports “awesome” grates on them while 8% would prefer not to hear “with all due respect.” Last year, “whatever,” 38%, defeated “like” which received 22%, “you know” which had 18%, “just sayin’” which garnered 14%, and “obviously” which was cited by 6%.
- Regional differences exist. Residents in the South, 50%, Midwest, 49%, and West, 34%, perceive “whatever” to be the most bothersome in casual conversation. In the Northeast, “like,” 34%, and “whatever,” 33% are considered almost equally as irritating.
- Americans under 30 years old, 36%, are less likely than older Americans, 46%, to consider “whatever” to be the most annoying.
- “Selfie” is considered the most overused word or phrase by 35% of residents nationally. 27% say “hashtag” is the most worn out word. “Twerk” receives 16% while “YOLO” garners 8%. Five percent cite “twittersphere” as excessively used while 1% reports “hipster” was used too often.
- While a plurality of Americans 30 and older, 38%, say “selfie” is the most overused word of 2014, 32% of younger residents think “hashtag” was used too much.
With Chanukah underway and just one week until Christmas, many Americans who purchase holiday gifts won’t be cutting corners on their seasonal shopping. A majority of holiday shoppers say they plan to spend about the same amount of money as they did last year, and more than one in ten gift givers intends to spend more. Although down from last year, financial concerns are top of mind for nearly one-third of shoppers who report they will be cutting back this holiday season.
Looking to 2015, are Americans vowing to make a change? More than four in ten Americans expect to make a resolution, and weight loss tops the list of improvements for the New Year. However, more Americans have let their resolutions slide. Of those who made a promise going into 2014, only 59% kept their word, down from 72% the previous year. Men are slightly more likely than women to have kept their resolution.
- A majority of Americans who spend money on holiday shopping, 55%, plans to spend the same amount of money as they did last year. 32% say they will spend less money, and 13% will spend more. Fewer holiday shoppers expect to spend less than last year. In 2013, 52% reported they intended to maintain the same level of spending as in the past. Nearly four in ten, 38%, thought they would reduce their holiday expenditures, and 10% said they would spend more (Trend).
- While there has been little change in the spending habits of holiday shoppers who earn $50,000 or more, there has been a positive shift in the spending of those who earn less. Half of holiday shoppers who make less than $50,000, 50%, will spend about the same as last year, up from 43% in 2013. 36% of these shoppers expect to spend less, compared with 45% in 2013.
- More than six in ten holiday shoppers who are 45 or older, 62%, say they will spend about the same amount of money as they did last year. This compares with 53% in 2013 who reported they would spend about as much as the previous year. Fewer Americans in this age group who purchase presents, 29%, expect to spend less, down from 40% in 2013. There has been little change in the holiday spending habits of younger Americans.
- Six in ten holiday shoppers, 60%, little changed from 63% last year, expect to mostly use cash when buying their holiday gifts. 37% plan to use, for the most part, credit cards, and 3% are unsure.
- How do Americans who buy holiday gifts plan to make their purchases? 19% say they will do all or most of their shopping online. 44% will buy some of their seasonal purchases via the Internet while 38% don’t plan to use the Internet to purchase any of their holiday gifts. There has been little change on this question since last year (Trend).
- Turning to New Year’s resolutions, 44% of Americans, identical to last year, are very likely or somewhat likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2015. Similar to last year, younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to resolve to change (Trend). 56% of those younger than 45, compared with 33% of those 45 and older, plan to make a change to their lifestyle. Similar proportions of men, 43%, and women, 44%, are, at least, somewhat likely to make a resolution.
- Weight loss is the top resolution this year cited by 13% of Americans who vow to make a change in 2015. Exercising more follows with 10%. Nine percent want to be a better person while 8% mention improving their health. With 7% each, stopping smoking, spending less and saving more money, and eating healthier rounds out the top-tier in the complete list of 2015 New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions for 2014 were spending less and saving more, being a better person, and exercising more each with 12%. Weight loss came in fourth with 11% while health improvements, eating healthier, and ceasing smoking each received 8% of those who were likely to make a resolution for 2014.
- Among adults nationally who said they made a resolution for 2014, 59% kept their resolution for, at least, part of the year. 41% did not. This is a change from the previous year (Trend). Among those who made a resolution for 2013, 72% kept their word.
- Men, 64%, are more likely than women, 55%, to report they stuck to their 2014 resolution for at least part of the year.
Coco Chanel, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dior, Anna Wintour, Christian Louboutin, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada: the list goes on. These influential names and brands in fashion are familiar to many Americans. Because we are familiar with these names, does it mean we are too focused on fashion? Many Americans, 68%, think we focus too much on fashion, while one quarter, 26%, say that the attention is about right. Only 7% believe fashion deserves more consideration. However, a majority, 55%, also say how they dress is an important part of who they are. Fewer Americans, 45%, report that choosing their outfit isn’t something they think about.
Does style need to come with a couture price tag? Most Americans say it does not. More than eight in ten Americans, 86%, say it’s possible to be stylish on a limited budget, while only 14% believe good fashion is just for those with a lot of money. But, while great style may not need to break the bank, many Americans, 65%, believe that fashion communicates status and divides people into social classes. Far fewer, 35%, disagree.
Aside from money, does fashion also require as much creativity as playing a musical instrument or painting a picture? Here, Americans divide. Just over half, 53%, of Americans say it doesn’t but 47% believe good style calls for creative thinking. Although putting an outfit together may call for creativity there are pressures to fit in. While a majority of Americans, 57%, believe someone who dresses very differently than most people is stylish, a notable proportion, 35%, say they’re strange.
It’s time to wish The Marist Poll’s fearless leader, Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, a happy birthday! What are Americans giving Dr. Miringoff this year? Their gift is another year of being middle-aged! Six in ten adults nationally — 60% — think Dr. Miringoff’s current age, 63 years old, is middle-aged. 27% consider it old, and 13% say it is young.
“I’m very gratified with these results,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Truth be told, when I wanted to reach 6 – 3, I was thinking height not age.”
The good news is Americans’ attitudes have changed little since last year. At that time, 59% thought Dr. Miringoff’s age, 62, was middle-aged. 28% said 62 was old, and an identical 13% believed it to be young.
Age matters. Younger Americans are nearly three times as likely than older residents to think 63 is old. 42% of those under 45 have this opinion. This compares with 15% of those 45 or older.
Dr. Lee M. Miringoff reacts to the findings of his latest birthday poll. Watch the video below.
Are Americans resolving to make a change in the New Year? More than four in ten — 44% — plan to do so, up slightly from 40% last year. Once again, residents younger than 45 years old — 54% — are more likely than older Americans — 37% — to vow to improve an aspect of their lives in the coming year.
Similar proportions of women — 44% — and men — 43% — expect to make a New Year’s resolution this year. Last year, identical proportions of men and women — 40% — said they would resolve to make a change in 2013.
2014 Resolutions Run the Gamut
What are Americans resolving to change in 2014? There is little consensus. 12% of those who plan to make a resolution want to spend less and save more. 12% will try to be a better person while an additional 12% promise to exercise more. 11% say they resolve to lose weight while 8% plan to improve their health. An additional 8% resolve to eat healthier, and another 8% promise to stop smoking. For women, resolving to be a better person or to lose weight tops the list of intentions. Each is mentioned by 14% of women looking to use the New Year as an opportunity to change. For men, top goals include 12% who are hoping to spend less money and save more, and another 12% who intend to exercise more.
Last year, health improvements were top of mind. 17% of Americans who made a resolution for 2013 said they would lose weight, and 13% planned to quit smoking. One in ten — 10% — promised to be a better person while 9% said they would save more money and spend less. Eight percent vowed to exercise more.
More Americans Keeping Their Promises
72% of Americans who made a resolution for 2013 kept their word for, at least, part of the year. 28%, however, did not. The proportion of those who made a resolution and stuck to it has increased. Last year, 59% who made a resolution for 2012 kept their promise. More than four in ten — 41% — let their resolution slide.
For the fifth straight year, Americans consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word or phrase in conversation today. 38% find “whatever” to be the most irritating while 22% report “like” gets on their nerves the most. “You know” irks 18% of Americans while 14% want to see “just sayin’” stricken from casual conversation. Six percent detest “obviously,” and 2% are unsure.
There has been an increase in the proportion of residents who consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word. In last year’s survey, 32% thought “whatever” was the most abrasive. 21% said “like” was most irritating while 17% thought “you know” was an unnecessary choice of words. “Just sayin’” bothered 10% of Americans the most while “Twitterverse” — 9% — and “gotcha” — 5% — rounded out the list. Five percent were unsure.
“Obamacare” Taboo Term for 2014
Looking ahead to 2014, which political word or phrase would Americans like to eliminate from the discussion? More than four in ten — 41% — do not want to hear “Obamacare.” There is also a strong aversion to Washington’s budget speak. 30% would prefer not to hear “shutdown” while 11% would like “gridlock” left out of the vernacular. One in ten — 10% — does not want to hear “fiscal cliff” while 4% feel the same about “sequestration.” Four percent are unsure. Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans have a different take on what they don’t want to hear in 2014. 59% of Republicans have had it with “Obamacare,” while 45% of Democrats cringe at the sound of “shutdown.”
Tomorrow marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and many of President Kennedy’s words continue to ring true. Which of the president’s quotes do Americans feel is most meaningful today? More than six in ten — 62% — think, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” is most relevant. More than one in five — 22% — believes the most meaningful quote from President Kennedy is, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace” receives 7% while another 7% say, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” is the most memorable. Three percent of Americans are unsure.
Regardless of age, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is considered to be the most evocative John F. Kennedy quote. 72% of Americans 60 and older, 63% of those 45 to 59, and 57% of those 30 to 44 have this view. Even a plurality of those under the age of 30, 47%, say the same. Among this age group, one-third — 33% — reports that “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate” is the most relevant quote by John F. Kennedy.
And, when it comes to Kennedy’s legacy, most Americans say, fifty years from now, Kennedy will be remembered for his assassination and not his accomplishments while in office. More than seven in ten adults nationally — 71% — report Kennedy’s death will be his legacy while 24% think the president’s initiatives will be thought of as the highlight of his administration. Five percent are unsure.
Nearly Six in Ten Think JFK Assassination was a Conspiracy
58% of Americans believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone when he shot and killed President Kennedy. 28% think only one person was involved, and 14% are unsure. Americans under the age of 30 — 67% — are more likely than any other age group to say that Kennedy’s assassination was a conspiracy. This compares with 54% of those 30 to 44, 57% of Americans 45 to 59, and 59% of those 60 and older.
How did Americans older than 54 years old find out about Kennedy’s death? Television was the source for 35%. 27% heard from a teacher while 19% heard the news over the radio. Five percent were told by a friend or neighbor, and an additional 5% heard from a colleague at work. A family member was the first source of information for 4% of Americans older than 54 while 3% heard the tragic news from a stranger. One percent learned the news from the newspaper while an additional 1% found out in another way. One percent is unsure.
September 11th, Not Kennedy Assassination, Considered Most Significant Tragedy
When asked which tragic event was the most significant for people living at the time, nearly half of Americans — 49% — report the September 11th terrorist attacks were the most impactful event to have occurred. 36% report Pearl Harbor was the most significant while 13% report President Kennedy’s assassination was the most consequential. One percent says the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger was the most significant. Two percent are unsure.
Age plays a role. Younger Americans are the most likely to say September 11th was the most significant tragic event. Majorities of those under 30 — 57% — and those 30 to 44 — 53% — think September 11th had the most impact. Nearly half — 49% — of Americans 45 to 59 agree. However, among residents 60 and older, 41% think Pearl Harbor was the most significant event to occur while 40% have this impression of September 11th.
A gender gap exists. 55% of women think September 11th was the most significant. This compares with 42% of men who say the same. 41% of men, however, believe Pearl Harbor was the most tragic event to occur.
The annual tradition continues! Every year at The Marist Poll, the Institute asks Americans whether or not Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s age is young, middle-aged, or old. This year, age 62 is on the block. So, what do Americans think? Nearly six in ten — 59% — think 62 is middle-aged. 28% believe the age is old while 13% say it’s young.
Have the tides turned for Dr. Miringoff? Well, there’s good news and bad news. First, the good news. There has been only a slight decline in the proportion of Americans who believe Miringoff’s age is middle-aged. Last year, 63% described 61 was middle-aged. As for the bad news, there has been an increase in the proportion of adults nationally who think Miringoff’s age is old. Last year, 22% said Miringoff’s, then, age of 61 was old. 15% of residents, at that time, reported age 61 was young.
Like last year, a lot depends on the age of Americans themselves. Among residents 45 and older, 64% think 62 is middle-aged. 19% believe it is young, and 17% say it is old. Looking at those under 45 years old. Half — 50% — report 62 is middle-aged. 45% consider the age to be old while only 5% say 62 years of age is young.
What are the top five myths about getting older? A new survey undertaken by Home Instead Senior Care and The Marist Poll highlights some surprising realities of aging.
For the results, click here.