What daily activity do Americans look forward to most in their day?

Even after 30 years, watching TV remains the top daily activity Americans look forward to most in their day.  But our recent data also shows how access to the internet and mobile technology is changing our daily lives and in turn impacting the activities we look forward to most in our day.

  • Today, one of the top five activities Americans look forward to most in their day is checking and receiving personal emails or text messages.
  • Roughly four in ten Americans look forward to checking Facebook or other social media sites (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) or going online to check and read the latest news (41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

The table below shows a comparison of the top five daily activities Americans look forward to most from 1983 to 2013.  We have color coded the table to show those activities in common.

table 1

Looking across all of the daily activities we tested…

Since 1983 there are some significant double-digit drops in this data which are of interest:

  • Having the telephone ring dropped from 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 9{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-29).
  • Checking to see what you get in the mail dropped from 64{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-20).
  • Having your doorbell ring dropped from 24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 5{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-19).

In addition to these significant double-digit drops, there were some modest decreases:

  • Getting in the house once your day is over – 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-8).
  • Having a break during work – 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 26{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-8).
  • Meeting friends after work – 31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 23{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-8).
  • Getting up in the morning – 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-7).
  • Taking a shower or bath – 60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (-6).

There were a few modest increases in the data from 1983 to today:

  • Cooking dinner increased from 22{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (+9).
  • Going out to shop for food increased from 21{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (+7).
  • Having time to spend on a special interest/hobby increased from 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 1983 to 58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} today (+4).

The remaining activities tested in both 1983 and 2013 were either consistent or shifted only a point or two.

To see the full list of daily activities and data please click here.

Methodology Note:

Public Opinion Strategies conducted a national survey among 1,000 adults September 11-16, 2013.  Respondents were presented with a list of 23 daily activities and asked the following question:  We all have activities and responsibilities that make up our daily lives.  We look forward to some of them, others we don’t look forward to at all.  Please select the activities, if any, that you usually enjoy or look forward to during a day.  This question replicated one that was previously asked by the Roper Organization in December 1983 among 2,000 adults nationally.* Given the introduction of the internet, email, social media and mobile technology since 1983, we added a few new punches that were not offered on Roper’s list of activities:

1) Checking and receiving personal emails or text messages; 2) Going online to check and read the latest news; and, 3) Checking Facebook or other social media sites.

* Poll conducted by Roper Organization, December 3 – December 10, 1983 and based on 2,000 personal interviews.  Sample: National adult.  Acknowledgement:  The survey results reported here were obtained from searches of the iPOLL Databank and other resources provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut.  Formal Citation: Roper Report 84-1, Dec, 1983. Retrieved Oct-9-2013 from the iPOLL Databank, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut. http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/data_access/ipoll/ipoll.html

Similar Articles

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

  • ARE AMERICANS “OVER” PRESIDENT OBAMA?
    read more

  • POS IN THE NEWS – DECEMBER 13, 2013
    read more

  • The Cutting is the Hardest Part
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.