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Nielsen Unveils Four Decades of Polling on American Sentiment

What do Denzel Washington, Ellen DeGeneres and The New York Yankees have in common? Answer: They were all selected as America’s favorite, at one time or another, in a Harris Poll survey that can be found on the brand new Harris Vault®, launched on With this portal, Harris makes more than 40 years of American public opinion searchable online.

Wondering where Americans stand on business or policy issues? How satisfied are they with politics, business and health? What entertains them across the vast landscape of entertainment, sports, travel and life? Has sentiment permanently shifted, or has the pendulum swung back again?

The answers to all these questions are just a click away on the new At a glance, the redesigned homepage shows topics trending now, as well as quick facts from top stories. For the first time, this information is being made available to the public. The new Harris Vault® features more than 3,000 Harris Polls, dating back to the early 1970s, in an easily searchable format. Keyword searches bring up instant results, making a simple task of researching where Americans once stood on an issue and where they stand now.

A sampling of what you can find in the Harris Vault®:

Who’s Your Favorite…..?

  • Movie Star – Denzel Washington (not just this year, but for five years out of the past decade)
  • TV Personality – Ellen DeGeneres (for three years running)
  • Sports Star – LeBron James (beating out Michael Jordan)
  • Band or musical artist of all time – The Beatles (with The King himself, Elvis Presley, in second place)
  • Movie – Gone With the Wind (but the force is strong with Star Wars among men)
  • Baseball Team – The New York Yankees (for over a decade)
  • Dream Destination – Italy (the top destination Americans would choose for a vacation if cost weren’t a factor)

The Harris Poll has looked at all corners of Americans’ lives in recent years, including:

  • Love, marriage and the various outcomes that can follow:
    • A majority of Americans believe the concept of marriage is less important today compared to previous generations; however, a strong majority also asserts that the concept of marriage is important to them personally.
    • Americans still think a bride’s father should give her away—but they’re split on whether he should be stuck with the bill.
  • Tech, work and things we buy:
    • A third of Americans believe self-driving cars represent the future of driving, but a third also say they will never consider buying one!
    • Two in 10 Americans have made a career connection via social media.