Registered Voters Want Stricter Gun Laws

Gun violence in the U.S. is an intractable problem. A steady stream of mass shootings and increasing homicide rates do not appear to be motivating politicians to enact meaningful gun control laws. The recently passed bipartisan Safer Communities Act does little to solve the problem. Its provisions are so weak that few gun control advocates believe it will significantly impact U.S. gun-related deaths.

Democratic and Republican politicians have shied away from the problem because of the potential for electoral backlash. While more amenable to gun control, Democrats often attribute their loss of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 after four decades in power as a consequence of their passage of an assault weapons ban earlier that year. This led to years of anemic Democratic support for gun control while Republicans pushed to loosen gun laws under pressure from the NRA.

Shifting Opinions on Gun Laws

Weak Democratic support and Republican antipathy towards gun control has worked politically, but it appears the electorate is shifting its opinion on this issue. ThinkNow recently collaborated with Team Friday to field a nationally representative survey of 1,200 registered voters and found that 66% believe the U.S. needs stricter gun laws. Our survey results match those released by Gallup earlier this year which also found that 66% of respondents want more stringent gun laws, up from a low of 44% in 2010.

Download the study here.

According to our data, party affiliation strongly indicates whether a respondent supports gun control. Eighty-six percent of Democratic voters, 41% of Republicans, and 69% of Independents stated that gun laws should be stricter. While 41% Republican support might seem low, it’s an improvement over the past couple of years which measured their support in the low 20s.

This shift in Republican support could have implications in Texas and Florida where a clear majority of the electorate support stricter gun laws while their legislators are actively loosening them.

More interestingly, we found that gun owners, themselves, support stricter gun laws.

Common Ground

While there are differences in opinion based on party affiliation, we found there are four reforms that Americans across the political spectrum can get behind. Universal background checks, red-flag laws, raising the gun buying age to 21 and permits for concealed carry all garner more than 50% support among Americans that want stricter gun laws.

Politicians in Red (leans toward Republicans) or Purple States (similar support for Democrats and Republicans) who are interested in addressing the gun problem can presumably support the four measures above without the risk of electoral backlash.

At 74%, the primary reason Americans state for buying guns is to protect their home. No other reason exceeds 50%. This would suggest that gun legislation that does not infringe on individuals’ right to protect their home has a lower chance of creating voter backlash.

Interestingly, a policy that does not have overwhelming support, even among Democrats is allowing individuals to sue gun manufacturers.

It’s possible that Americans don’t support suing manufacturers because they fear this will put them out of business and restrict their access to guns for home protection.


It’s often assumed that gun rights and gun regulations are mutually exclusive. That’s not true. Clear majorities of Americans that support gun rights want better regulation. Americans, in general, are tired of the carnage and want something done about it. In 2020, voters listed attitudes towards guns laws as one of the reasons they were voting for president. Unfortunately, the problem has only gotten worse since then. Politicians who respond to this crisis can lead the nation to a future where mass shootings and unprovoked gun deaths are a thing of the past. Those interested in maintaining the status quo may find themselves without a constituency.

Join ThinkNow and Team Friday for a webinar discussing insights from the study on Wednesday, November 2nd at 10 AM PST/ 1 PM EST.

Click here to register.

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Viewers Looking Forward to World Cup Despite Controversy

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to run from November 20th till December 18th. The tournament was moved from its usual June/July slot because of the intense summer heat in host-country Qatar. The temperature, however, is not the only heat surrounding the tournament. Human rights abuses by the firms building the stadiums and infrastructure to host the event have gotten as much, if not more, coverage than the qualifying matches that lead up to the tournament. Qatar's laws against homosexuality are also creating tension at a time when World Soccer is trying to become more inclusive.

These controversies, however, do not appear to have diminished fans' interest in the quadrennial event, especially here in the U.S., with athletes returning to the tournament after failing to qualify in 2018. This, along with an overall increase in interest in soccer in the U.S., will likely result in strong viewership. To gauge interest in the tournament and measure how the controversies might affect viewers' opinions of sponsors, we conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,550 respondents. We found that 44% of U.S. adults are either somewhat or very likely to view at least some matches. This is an improvement over the last time the U.S. qualified for the tournament, when 37% of respondents in our 2014 survey said they would be watching.

Download the report here.

As usual, Hispanics are the most likely to say they will tune in. Mexico's national team, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and (technically not Hispanic) Brazil, will be playing in the tournament. Those teams, along with Team USA, are expected to draw Hispanic viewers who would like to see the FIFA World Cup Trophy return to the Americas.

Millennials primarily drive interest in the tournament.

Forty percent of Millennials are soccer fans. They are twice as likely to be a soccer fan than Gen X and 25% more likely than Gen Z. Major league soccer matches in Atlanta, Seattle and Cincinnati regularly draw larger crowds than baseball games. Millennials are also the age group most likely to watch the World Cup.

Streaming Edges out Regular T.V.

When asked how they plan to watch, streaming edges out broadcast television by 52% to 48%. This holds true across racial groups, except for Hispanics who are slightly more likely to view on T.V. (56% vs 54%).

The only group to report a higher likelihood to watch games on regular T.V. over streaming are Baby Boomers at 69% vs. 34%. The rise in streaming's popularity is evident across all types of content. Sports, however, has been a holdout in that the major networks are generally viewed as the best place to view live events. However, the fact that the World Cup audience skews younger is bolstering streaming over broadcast. Fox Sports and Telemundo and their respective streams have the U.S. broadcast rights for the U.S. Likely viewers, however, are not yet aware of that since 52% of respondents said they would watch on ESPN vs. 35% on FOX and 21% on Telemundo.

Qatar Controversy

Awarding the World Cup to Qatar has been controversial. Accusations of bribery being the reason the tournament was awarded and the fact that the country could not host the tournament in the summer because of excessive heat are concerning but their poor human rights record has garnered the most attention. Building the soccer stadiums in a country with summer highs of 108/109 °F and weak worker protections has caused the death of 6,500 foreign workers. Additionally, homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in prison and death under sharia law for Muslims. This has led some brands who normally sponsor the tournament to pull out of this year's event. Others have issued statements condemning the human rights abuses but have stopped short of pulling their sponsorship.

Fans, however, generally support brands that sponsor the World Cup. Fifty percent say that sponsorship positively impacts their impression of the brand while only 7% say sponsorship would negatively impact their opinion. Negative opinion towards sponsorship is in the single digits across all demos except for Gen Z. 22% of Gen Z say that sponsoring the World Cup this year would diminish their perception of a brand.


While controversy surrounds the 2022 Qatar World Cup, viewership in the U.S. is likely to remain strong and the potential for backlash against sponsoring brands will remain low. The fact that it will be played in the fourth quarter makes it difficult for brands to stay away since it's when most Holiday ad spending takes place. However, brands that choose to sponsor World Cup events this year should also demonstrate their support of the LGBTQ+ community and workers' rights to make it clear where they stand.

In a time when U.S. viewership of international sporting events like the Olympics is declining, more attention will be placed on the expanding World Cup audience. Americans will be tuning in, or more precisely, logging on. Brands that care about staying relevant need to be there with them.

Download the report here.

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Culture and Multicultural Identity: Names Matter

Keeping pace with culture can be challenging for brands. Consumer dynamics are evolving and becoming increasingly fluid, particularly around identity. Several factors influence how consumers see themselves and shape their attitudes, behaviors, preferences, and biases, including their heritage and culture. Through this lens, consumers make purchase decisions and establish brand affinities, requiring companies to develop a better understanding of the complexity of identity.

Multicultural consumers are often motivated by a desire to represent their culture in how they identify their race and ethnicity. In 2020, ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey among Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans ages 18 to 64 to understand how they prefer to identify themselves among peers and in marketing and media. This year, we conducted a follow-up study in which we found that the needle hadn’t moved much, with a few exceptions.

Download the report here.

Naming Preferences: Hispanics

In 2020, we found that the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino/Latina” were preferred by the majority of U.S. Latinos across different scenarios, in particular, when they or others (i.e., media, companies) referred to this population as a whole. That consensus holds in 2022, with the majority of Hispanics preferring the term “Hispanic” when used in most contexts, followed by “Latino(a).”

There was a noticeable shift in sentiment when respondents were asked about naming preferences “when describing yourself in a professional setting (job, interview, etc.).” In 2020, 36% preferred Hispanic and 26% preferred Latino(a). In 2022, 43% of Hispanics preferred “Hispanic” (increase), and 20% preferred “Latino(a),” a six-point decrease.

Interestingly, there is a five-point decrease in the use of the term “Latino(a)” when respondents were asked naming preferences “to use when describing or naming all people of Spanish or Latin American heritage in the U.S.,” from 30% to 25%.

Consistent with data reported in 2020, the term “Latinx” continues to exist in the margins. However, 3 out of 5 Hispanic adults have heard of the term, but it has yet to achieve broad adoption except among younger generations.

Naming Preferences: African Americans

Among African Americans, we saw naming preferences become more nuanced. In 2020, 49% of African Americans preferred media, companies, and brands to refer to them as “African American,” and 33% said “Black,” accounting for 82% of respondents. This year, only 37% of African Americans prefer that companies, brands, and the media use the term “African American,” followed by “Black” (23%) and “Black American” (22%). While the total percentage of respondents is the same here, we saw an additional preference emerge not accounted for in 2020. While commonly used, the term “people of color” is not preferred in most cases.

Naming Preferences: Asian Americans

Among Asian Americans in 2020, when asked about naming preferences “for the media/companies/brands to use when describing/naming,” 8% of respondents stated “My Country of Origin + American.” But in 2022, 14% held that preference. Very few Asian Americans prefer to solely be called “American.”

Multicultural Identity

Across the three cohorts, the term “American” was among the least favored naming preferences indicating a desire among multicultural consumers to connect with their heritage. The onus is on media, companies, and brands to research to uncover cultural drivers underpinning multicultural identity and how these factors affect consumption habits.

Download the report here.

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Hispanics Aren’t Prepared for Retirement

Savings and Investment Lag but Appetite for Financial Knowledge Exists

Social Security is not enough. Anyone currently living on a monthly Social Security check can attest to that. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t fully grasp that reality until they reach retirement age. This problem is even more pronounced in the Hispanic community, which lags other groups in retirement savings. ThinkNow recently conducted research for the Hispanic Marketing Council’s 2022 Virtual Summit on Hispanic attitudes towards saving and investing and found key areas of concern and opportunities where the public sector and financial services companies can step in to help.

Optimism Can Be a Liability

Hispanics are very optimistic, and this serves them well in most cases. But retirement savings is not one of them. Many Hispanics believe their family will be able to support them in retirement. They are the least likely group to say that being a burden on their family is a primary reason for retirement savings. This reliance on family support may contribute to a lower prioritization of retirement savings accounts. In fact, our research found that Hispanics were less likely to have all types of savings accounts than non-Hispanics and are 44% less likely to have an IRA than non-Hispanics.

Another factor influencing lower savings rates among Hispanics is the financial strain of living expenses. Younger Hispanics are also saddled with higher levels of student debt than non-Hispanic White or Asian American students.

There’s a Thirst for Financial Knowledge

The financial strain Hispanics are under is real, but there is reason to hope. Hispanics are more likely to seek out financial information than other groups. They especially lean on banks and online sources such as YouTube.

Banks are uniquely positioned to help since they’re the source Hispanics look most to for financial guidance. The FDIC developed the Money Smart program to help teach financial literacy, and some banks have trained their staff to share this information with their clients. Savvy financial institutions realize that helping their customers build wealth is also good for business.

Another key finding in our study was that Hispanics are interested in investing if given the opportunity. While only 10% have individual stock trading accounts, 35% would choose stocks when asked to allocate $1,000 across various investment options. Some stock trading services such as Robinhood and SoFi have attracted Hispanic and Black traders, but the jury is still out as to whether the platforms' short-term trading is leading to long-term wealth building.

Crypto is Popular but Risky

Ownership of digital assets like cryptocurrency and NFTs were the only area where Hispanics over-indexed other groups. Age is the primary driver. Digital assets are more commonly held by younger individuals, and Hispanics are, on average, ten years younger than the overall U.S. population.

Cryptocurrencies are more volatile than other forms of investment. Their value as long-term assets is unproven, so reliance on this type of investment for Hispanics may prove problematic.

What the Future Holds

California recently implemented mandatory retirement savings accounts for all businesses with five or more employees. Businesses that don’t have a retirement savings account in place must have one by June 30th, 2022 or enroll their employees into a new State plan called CalSavers and deposit 5% of their pay into an IRA. What’s nice about CalSavers is that employees opt into the program unless they specifically opt-out. Unlike a 401K, which is employer-based, CalSavers IRAs will follow workers when they change jobs, so there’s no need to transfer the funds when that happens. This is a positive development because California has the country's largest population of Hispanics, so the likelihood that we’ll see an increase in Hispanic retirement accounts is high.

Student loan forgiveness would also disproportionately help Hispanics. The Biden Administration appears ready to enact some form of loan forgiveness by executive action. Reducing the burden of student loan repayment will open up funds for young Hispanics to be able to start funding their retirements.

The future of the U.S. is multicultural. One hundred percent of the population growth recorded in the 2020 Census came from multicultural Americans, and Hispanics are the largest segment of the multicultural market. Providing the financial literacy education they desire and improving their ability to save will increase the chances that they’ll be able to retire successfully, which pays dividends for them as a group and for the country as a whole.

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Multi-Hyphenated Creator Economy Disrupts Influencer Marketing 1.0

From Coachella to Taco Bell, creators are monetizing their crafts to bridge the gap between consumers and brands. Powered by social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch, the influencer market for branded and platform deals is projected to reach $28 billion by 2026. And the models keep changing. Hashtag sponsored posts – influencer marketing 1.0 - represents where we’ve been. Brands are now leveraging the creator economy in new ways, paying them for their insights into what’s trending and developing that content to post to the brands’ platforms instead of the influencers’ news feeds.

Equity partnerships have also increased. Multi-hyphenated creators, many of whom are athletes, entertainers, or personalities, are being approached by brands to become ambassadors for their products in exchange for equity in the companies, e.g., 50 Cent and Vitamin Water and P. Diddy and Ciroc Vodka.

Other creators have expanded even further, like The Kardashians, Rhianna, and LeBron James, who have gone way beyond being Insta-famous or making music or moves on the court to launching media empires that are challenging conventions. The next frontier, the metaverse.

Donnelle Branche, Talent Manager at Digital Brand Architects, joins us on The New Mainstream podcast to discuss the evolution of influencer marketing and how multi-hyphenated creators are changing the game.

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Web3, The Next Frontier of Digital Currency Favored By Millennials and the Affluent

Mobile apps like Apple Pay have made online and offline purchases more convenient for consumers, liberating them from having to pull out their wallets, credit cards, and wads of dollar bills and loose change. But the innovations of Web 2.0 are in the rearview, as consumers explore Web 3.0 where digital currency is just a fraction of what the virtual experience has to offer.

For enthusiasts, Web 3.0, or Web3, is a way of democratizing the internet, shifting power away from the behemoths dominating search, sales, and social and giving it back to consumers. The blockchain has made bitcoin, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other forms of cryptocurrency ubiquitous among devotees, and the metaverse has become a virtual utopia for consumers and brands.

In our second look at cryptocurrency, ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey of adults ages 18 to 64 to understand their familiarity, usage, and interest in cryptocurrency and other Web3 technologies.

Download the report here.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we found:

Cryptocurrency Most Popular With Asians and White Men

Most adults have heard of cryptocurrency. Those most likely to be familiar are Non-Hispanic White men, Millennials, and individuals, in general, living in higher income households.

Of all cohorts, Asian Americans are more likely to use or own cryptocurrency, and Hispanics are more likely to own a cryptocurrency wallet.

Women lag men in usage of these forms of digital currency.

Non-fungible tokens are used most by individuals with a total household income of $80,000 and above.

Bitcoin is by far the most utilized form of cryptocurrency, followed by Ethereum.

Nearly everyone who uses a cryptocurrency wallet has the online/app version, as opposed to the thumb drive, likely to mitigate the risks associated with losing it.

Privacy and Ease of Use Concerns

But not everyone is sold on Web3. The technology is still evolving, and privacy concerns linger. And there’s a certain level of disbelief surrounding the metaverse. Are these concerns enough to slow the rate of adoption?

Download the ThinkNow Web 3.0 Cryptocurrency report today.

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ThinkNow Pulse: Consumer Confidence Rebounds As U.S. Economy Recovers

Two years ago, the global shutdown sent the economy reeling, and many Americans, especially lower-income households, experienced a seismic shift in their financial security. Consumers reported worsening personal finances and a feeling that the economy was weakening. Their outlook for 2021 was equally as dim, with fewer Americans feeling optimistic about improvements in personal finances for the coming year. Uncertainty about the pandemic, unemployment, and higher prices threatened to thwart the comeback story of the American consumer. But with the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, better protocols and treatments, and the distribution of trillions of dollars in federal stimulus, consumer sentiment has returned to pre-pandemic levels. (more…)

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