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.
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.
Four in ten Americans — 40% — plan to ring in the New Year with promises to make 2013 better than 2012. Who are among those most likely to make a resolution? Americans who are younger than 45 years old — 51% — are more likely to promise to change than older residents — 34%.
60% of Americans are not likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013. Last year 62% said they did not plan to alter their lifestyle in any way, and 38% resolved to make a change. Fewer younger Americans plan to make a resolution compared with last year. At that time, 59% of those under 45 thought they would pledge to improve their lives and 28% of those 45 and older professed to do the same.
There is no difference between men and women on this question. 40% of men and the same proportion of women — 40% — report it is likely they will make a resolution for 2013.
Weight Loss Tips the Scales as Top New Year’s Resolution
Among Americans who plan to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013, 17% promise to lose weight. 13% say they will stop smoking while 10% would like to be a better person. Nine percent intend to spend less and save more money while 8% think they will exercise more.
Weight loss remains the number one New Year’s resolution. At that time, 18% said they would battle the bulge in 2012. 11% thought they would exercise more while 9% planned to save more and spend less. An additional 9% said they would stop smoking, and the same proportion — 9% — hoped to be a better person.
About Six in Ten Kept Their Word
Among adults nationally who made a New Year’s resolution for 2012, 59% kept their vow for at least part of the year. 41% did not. However, the proportion of Americans who kept their resolution has declined. 67% of those who made a resolution for 2011 stuck to it while 33% did not.
At what point is someone considered to be old? It’s an annual question the Marist Poll asks to determine if the current age of Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Insitute for Public Opinion, is young, middle-aged, or old. As Dr. Miringoff faces 61, there’s good news. According to this Marist Poll, 61 years of age is not that benchmark. More than six in ten adults nationally — 63% — believe someone who is 61 is middle-aged. 15% think 61 is young while 22%, however, say it is old.
Not surprisingly, there is an age gap. While 67% of Americans 45 and older say 61 is middle-aged, 20% believe the age to be young, and only 13% report it is old. Looking at residents younger than 45, 56% say 61 is middle-aged. Just 7% think that age is young while nearly four in ten — 37% — say it is old.
Nearly six in ten Americans younger than 45 years old — 59% — think they are likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2012. This compares with just 28% of those 45 and older.
When further broken down by age, nearly two-thirds of Americans under 30 years old — 64% — believe they will make a New Year’s resolution. A majority — 55% — of those between 30 and 44 say they will do the same. 37% of residents 45 to 59 years old and 23% of those 60 and older plan to alter an aspect of their life.
Is there a gender gap? Similar proportions of women — 40% — and men — 36% — report they will make a New Year’s resolution going into 2012.
Looking at the population overall, 62% of adults nationally say they don’t plan to make a resolution going into the new year while 38% say they will make a New Year’s resolution.
This is the largest proportion of U.S. residents who say they are not going to make a resolution since 2004. At that time, nearly two-thirds — 65% — reported they were not going to resolve to change.
Last year, a majority — 56% — did not plan to make a resolution while 44% did.
Combating the Battle of the Bulge Tops List of New Year’s Resolutions
Weight loss is the top New Year’s resolution this year. Nearly one in five Americans who are likely to make a resolution — 18% — say they want to drop a few pounds. Exercise — 11% — comes in next followed by spending less money and saving more — 9%. The resolution to stop smoking, which was last year’s top resolution, also received 9% as did the overall goal of being a better person. 44% plan to make some other type of resolution.
Last year, quitting smoking — 17% — and weight loss — 16% — were the most cited resolutions followed by spending less and saving more with 13%, being a better person with 10%, and exercising more with 8%. 36%, at that time, offered a different resolution.
Women and men are on the same page. 18% of women and 17% of men are resolving to shed a few pounds. However, older Americans — 23% of those 45 and older — are more likely than younger residents — 12% of those younger than 45 — to promise to lose weight. In fact, among younger Americans who are likely to make a resolution, 13% want to save more and spend less.
Two-Thirds Kept Resolution This Year
Among those who made a New Year’s resolution going into 2011, 67% report they kept their word for at least part of the year while 33% did not.
Increased Pessimism about the Future
While a majority of Americans say they are optimistic about the world in 2012, there is increased pessimism. Currently, 54% are positive about the future while 43% are not, and 3% are unsure. Last year, six in ten — 60% — had an optimistic outlook while 38% had a pessimistic one, and 2% were unsure.
There is a growing pessimism among men. 48% have an upbeat view about the future while 49% do not. In 2010, nearly six in ten men — 58% — reported an optimistic attitude compared with 39% who were more pessimistic.
Those under 45 years old — 67% — are more optimistic compared with their older counterparts — 48%.
Nearly two-thirds of adults nationally — 64% — think people should say, “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season while more than three in ten — 31% — believe the appropriate greeting is “Happy Holidays.” Four percent are unsure.
When Marist last reported it in 2010, 61% thought “Merry Christmas” should convey the greetings of the season while 35% believed “Happy Holidays” did the trick. Five percent, at that time, were unsure.
This poll was released in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus. To learn more, click here.
Just in time for the July 4th weekend, the Marist Poll has asked Americans in which year the United States declared its independence. And, the result is many Americans need to brush up on their American history.
Only 58% of residents know that the United States declared its independence in 1776. 26% are unsure, and 16% mentioned another date.
There are age differences on this question. Younger Americans are the least likely to know the correct answer. Only 31% of adults younger than 30 say that 1776 is the year in which the United States broke away from Great Britain. 59% of residents between 30 and 44 report the same. Americans 45 to 59 — 75% — are the age group most likely to have the correct answer. Among those 60 and older, 60% report that 1776 is the year in which the United States declared its independence.
When it comes to gender, men — 65% — are more likely to respond with 1776 than are women — 52%.
And, for the second year, about one in four Americans doesn’t know from which country the United States declared its independence. While 76% correctly cite Great Britain, 19% are unsure, and 5% mention another country.
A comparable proportion of Americans were similarly informed at this time last year. At that time, 74% thought the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, 20% were unsure, and 6% mentioned another country.
80% of those 60 and older, 77% of those 45 to 59, and 77% of those between 30 and 44 report the nation’s founding fathers revolted against Great Britain. This compares with 67% of those under the age of 30 who say the same.
Men — 83% — are more likely than women — 68% — to know that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.
Will Americans vow to make a change heading into 2011? A majority of U.S. residents — 56% — think it is not likely at all that they will make a New Year’s resolution this year while 44% believe it is at least somewhat likely that they will.
When Marist asked the same question last December, 52% did not plan to make a resolution for 2010 while 48% did.
Younger Americans are still among those who are most likely to make a resolution. 58% of those under the age of 45 say they will vow to improve an aspect of their life compared with 34% of those 45 and older. Last year, those proportions stood at 60% and 40%, respectively.
Men and women are currently on equal footing here. 44% of men and the same proportion of women — 44% — resolve to make a change.
Kicking the Smoking Habit Tops List of Resolutions… Losing Weight Follows
Among Americans who are likely to make a resolution, 17% say they want to quit smoking. 16% want to lose weight while 13% want to spend less money and save more. 10% plan to be a better person, and 8% say they are going to exercise more. 36% resolve to make another type of change.
Last year, weight loss topped the list of resolutions with 19%, and quitting smoking took the second place spot with 12%. Rounding out last year’s top five were exercising more which received 10%, being a better person with 9%, and getting a better job with 8%. Spending less came in seventh with 6%.
Men and women have different resolutions in mind this year. 22% of men who are likely to make a resolution plan to stop smoking while weight loss and spending less top the list for women who expect to make a resolution, each receiving 16%.
Age also comes into play. More than a quarter of those under the age of 30 — 27% — say they want to stop smoking. Weight loss (21%) and kicking the smoking habit (17%) top the list for those 30 to 44 years old. Those age 45 to 59 are on the same wavelength. 16% say they want to lose weight while 14% plan to stop smoking. Losing weight is also on the minds of 20% of those 60 and older.
True to Their Word?
But, will they keep their pledge? Of those who made a resolution last year, 60% report they kept their resolution for at least part of the year while 40% did not.
Six in Ten Optimistic About the Future
Americans maintain their optimism going into 2011. 60% are more optimistic about the world in 2011 while 38% are more pessimistic. Just 2% are unsure. In Marist’s December 2009 survey, 63% were more optimistic while 34% were more pessimistic. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
Younger Americans are more optimistic about the future than are their older counterparts. 71% of those under 45 have a positive outlook compared with 53% of those 45 and older who share this view.
Since family and friends will gather around the dining room table this Thanksgiving, we at The Marist Poll thought we’d ask Americans by whom the first Thanksgiving was celebrated? And, school teachers will be happy to hear that most — 86% — said the pilgrims and Native Americans. Just 6% said it was celebrated by others, and 7% were unsure.
Family Time Favored by Americans on Thanksgiving
Which holiday activity is preferred by Americans on Thanksgiving? Most — 84% — say spending time with family and friends tops their list. 10% prefer to get down to the feast and eat, and 5% report watching football is their favorite pastime on the holiday followed by 2% who tune into the Thanksgiving Day parade.
There’s good news for American education. About three-quarters of residents — 74% — know the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. The bad news for the academic system — 26% do not. This 26% includes one-fifth who are unsure and 6% who thought the U.S. separated from another nation. That begs the question, “From where do the latter think the U.S. achieved its independence?” Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain.
Check out The Marist Poll’s mention on Countdown with Keith Olbermann