Forget the contests for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. The biggest question facing the Marist Institute for Public Opinion this year is whether Americans consider the age of the Institute’s director, Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, to be old!
As Dr. Miringoff turns 65, he remains unscathed! A majority of Americans, 55%, say 65 is middle-aged. 34% consider it old, and more than one in ten, 11%, thinks age 65 is young. Similar proportions of U.S. residents thought 64 to be old last year.
Not surprisingly, perceptions differ based on age. Americans 45 years old and older, 63%, are more likely than younger residents to consider 65 to be middle-aged. Those under 45 divide. 49% think 65 years of age is old while 47% say it is middle-aged. This is driven by Americans under 30, among whom 60% call 65 “old.”
Health and employment are top of mind heading into 2016. Among Americans who plan to make a New Year’s resolution, weight loss, 12%, takes the top spot followed by getting a better job, 10%. Exercising more, 9%, quitting smoking, 9%, and improving one’s, overall, health, 9%, round out the top five New Year’s resolutions for 2016.
While weight loss, 13%, was the leading resolution for 2015, finding a better job was the goal of just 5%. But, this year, fueled by people under 45, among whom it’s number one, getting a better job also rivals the top spot for all Americans.
Do Americans plan to make a resolution for 2016? Less than four in ten Americans, 39%, say they are very likely or likely to do so. This is down from 44% last year. However, similar to last year, younger Americans are more likely to resolve to change than older Americans in the New Year.
Many Americans are also true to their word. Nearly two-thirds of those who made a resolution for 2015, 64%, report they kept their resolution, at least, in part. Similar proportions of men, 65%, and women, 63%, say they kept their promise. The proportion of women who kept their resolution increased from 55% last year.
- 12% of Americans who are likely to make a New Year’s resolution vow to lose weight. 10% want to find a better job. Getting more exercise, 9%, ceasing smoking, 9%, and improving their health, 9%, follow. Eight percent want to be a better person, and another 8% say they will try to eat healthier in the New Year. Seven percent resolve to spend less and save more. Last year, 13% vowed to lose weight, 10% promised to exercise more, 9% resolved to be a better person, and 8% wanted to improve their health. Quitting smoking, 7%, spending less and saving more, 7%, and eating healthier, 7%, followed.
- Regional differences exist. One in five Northeast residents who plan to make a resolution, 20%, resolve to find a better job. However, in the Midwest, quitting smoking, 12%, improving one’s health, 11%, and eating healthier, 10%, vie for the top spot. 13% of those in the South cite weight loss while 12% mention saving more and spending less. Among those in the West, 13% want to find a new job, 12% cite exercising more, and 11% mention weight loss.
- Women, 16%, are more likely than men, 6%, to mention weight loss. Men, 13%, put finding a better job at the top of their list. Quitting smoking, 11%, and exercising more, 10%, follow.
- 39% of Americans are very likely or likely to make a resolution for 2016 while 61% are not likely at all to do so. The proportion of Americans making resolutions is down from 44% last year and at the lowest point since 2011 when 38% of residents vowed to do so.
- Americans under 45, 47%, are more likely than older residents, 31%, to make a resolution. Still, the proportion of younger Americans making resolutions is down from 56%.
- Among those who vowed to change something in their life last year, 64% kept that resolution, at least, in part.
- Similar proportions of men, 65%, and women, 63%, kept their 2015 New Year’s resolution. There has been an increase in the proportion of women who kept their word, up from 55% previously.
For the seventh consecutive year, “whatever” tops the list as the word or phrase Americans, 43%, consider to be the most annoying. “No offense, but” is a distant second with 22% followed closely by “like” with 20%. Seven percent are irked by “no worries” while 3% consider “huge” to be most irritating.
In last year’s survey, the same proportion, 43%, called “whatever” the most annoying word followed by “like” with 23%. “Literally” received 13% while 10% mentioned “awesome.” Eight percent chose “with all due respect” as the most irritating word or phrase in 2014.
Regardless of age, race, gender, region of residence, income, or level of education, “whatever” is thought to be the most bothersome word in casual conversation today. Of note, Americans in the South, 48%, and Midwest, 46%, are more likely than those in the Northeast, 38%, and in the West, 36%, to dislike the word, “whatever.” African Americans, 54%, are more likely to be annoyed by “whatever, than whites, 41%, or Latinos, 42%.
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.”