Pollfish Trending Topics: The Depp Vs. Heard Trial, the Baby Formula Shortage, Gun Violence & More

amber heard vs johnny depp

Welcome to the first installment of Pollfish Trending Topics, a blog series in which we explore current news, cultural trends and hot topics occurring in the US and the world. We conduct these reports entirely from the Pollfish online survey platform

Thus, all of our research is firsthand survey research reported directly by us, through our vast network of publishers on our Random Device Engagement (RDE) method of survey targeting and sampling.

In this first rendition of Trending Topics, we deployed surveys to gather insight and opinions on news topics that have been trending in the past month. These topics include:

Learn what residents across the United States make of these occurrences and their broader topics, including their thoughts on what needs to change. We also implore you to check out our survey on US trending topics

Over 50% negatively impacted by baby formula shortage

Supply chain issues began to arise during the Covid-19 pandemic, along with a recall of the baby formula early in 2022, leading to the current nationwide baby formula shortage. 

baby formula shortage

The issue still looms large, prompting us to ask our respondents whether they were affected by it. Specifically, we asked our survey respondents if they themselves were negatively impacted by the baby formula scarcity.

Stunningly, over half of the respondents, at 50.75%, responded with a solid yes. 48.25% responded with “no” and merely 1% of respondents chose “other” as their answer. These figures show the vast reliance on formula across the United States and the need to implement a speedy solution. Currently, there are measures to end the baby formula shortage, such as airlifting them from Europe. 

Will Monkeypox be the new Covid? 56% of respondents agree

A new viral disease called Monkeypox has taken hold in non-endemic countries — those where the disease hasn’t historically been present. Although Monkeypox originates in central and western Africa, beginning in early May 2022, cases of it had risen in Europe and even the United States, to a smaller degree. 

The name Monkeypox comes from the first identification of the disease, which was discovered in laboratory monkeys. With growing cases in non-endemic countries, we asked respondents if they thought this illness would become the new major endemic.

Respondents had to choose an answer from a Likert Scale, a seven-point scale of answers, with each answer holding the same weight and symmetry across the scale, ranging from one end of a spectrum to the other. Our Likert Scale question was set up with answers ranging from extremely unlikely to extremely likely. 

The most popular answer was “slightly likely,” with 27.25% of the total vote. However, since this is a Likert scale, there are 2 other answer options that fall into the likely together. In total, the three answers bent on the “likely” opinion total to 56% — meaning over half of the respondents believe Monkeypox will become the next major endemic. 

On the opposite side of the scale, all three “unlikely” answers came in at a total of 28.5% — marking a significantly less amount of people who believe Monkeypox will be the next major disease. At the center point of the scale, the answer option of “neither likely nor unlikely” drew up 13.75% of the vote.

Thus, Americans are divided on this issue with slightly over half believing this new disease will be the next endemic, slightly less than half disagreeing and a smaller group believing it is neither likely nor unlikely. 

Over 33% of respondents want better school security to counter gun violence

The US has seen a recent spate of gun violence, from several shootings in the New York City subway this month and the previous, to mass shootings in schools across America. A distinctly American issue due to the Second Amendment and lax gun laws in some areas, it is in critical need of solutions. 

Thus, we presented our respondents switch three main solutions and an “other” option to uncover what Americans opine to be the best solution to counter gun violence, namely school shootings

The responses were split relatively evenly into thirds across the three main choices. However, the most popular answer for combatting gun violence is better school security measures, at exactly one-third, or 33.33%%, followed by better mental health options (32.83%) and background checks (30.45%). 

mass shootings

3.38% of respondents answered with “other,” a choice that allowed them to submit their own answer aside from the three choices we offered. Some of the responses under “other” include: no guns, fewer guns, less magazine capacity, banning assault rifles and better parenting. 

All in all, there is no landslide vote for a major solution to gun violence. Rather, there are multiple key efforts that schools and law officials can undertake to thwart mass shootings and other forms of gun violence in the US. 

Only 11.5% think the Russia-Ukraine War will end soon

Ever since the start of the Russia- Ukraine war in February 2022, there have been conflicting outlooks on the situation, from the projected length of the conflict, to US humanitarian aid and Russian citizens’ own views of their government.

We sought to uncover how Americans felt about all of these various issues tied to the war in Ukraine. Thus, we set up a Matrix question that covered a variety of topics in relation to the war.

matrix question

26.5% of respondents strongly agree with the prompt: The U.S. should continue supplying Ukraine with supplies. Thus, this most popular answer indicates that the majority of Americans are in favor of supporting Ukraine with humanitarian aid.

28.25% of respondents agree with the statement that: Russian citizens do not like their current political leaders. The second most popular response at 25.5% was “neither agree nor disagree,” suggesting that a large chunk of the population simply does not know how Russians feel about their government.  

Coming in as the third most popular answer, 19.25% of people somewhat agree with the statement above. 

When it comes to the length of the conflict, 26.75% of people agree that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will continue for several years. 26% somewhat agree with this duration and 22% are neutral, as they neither agree nor disagree.

On the opposing side — those who disagree that the war will continue for several years — the three answer choices tally up to only 11.5% of the vote. Thus, most people believe that this eastern European crisis won’t end anytime soon. 

The Johnny Depp Vs Amber Heard Trial

After years of legal sparring, the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard commenced on April 11, 2022 and concluded on May 27th, while the jury is still deliberating. 

johnny depp vs amber heard case

It began in March 2019, during which Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a defamatory op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, in which she alleges to be the victim of domestic violence. Heard has filed a $100 million countersuit. 

This trial has dominated the headlines for over a month, with a large amount of the American population waiting with bated breath on the verdict. So we asked our respondents whether they have been following the trial and whose side they were on: an overwhelming majority (61.75%) answered yes and that they are on Johnny Depp’s side. 

survey question

The second most chosen answer (28.75%) is no and that they don’t care. Only 9.5% of respondents answered “yes and I’m team Heard.”

Then, we followed up with the Likert Scale question: Some say the trial narrative playing out online could significantly impact victims’ willingness to report domestic violence. Do you agree or disagree?

The majority chose “neither agree nor disagree” at 23.75%. However, the other popular answers were all on the “agree” side of the scale, as 21.75% agree with the statement, 17.50% somewhat agree with it and 16.75% strongly agree. 

In total, over half of respondents (56%) agree to some degree that the online sentiment of the trial can impact the willingness of domestic violence victims to report their abuse. This can take either route of negatively or positively impacting victims’ willingness to come forward with their stories.

As for the “disagree” end of the scale, all three responses totaled to 20.25%. This is therefore the least popular sentiment.

A New Possible Worldwide Recession and Stock Market Volatility

The wake of the Covid pandemic has seen plunging financial markets across the globe, along with other signs of financial issues, such as lower interest rates in banks, soaring house prices, food insecurity and many others. 

As such, we asked our respondents questions pertaining to a possible recession and their reactions to the stock market declines and volatility. First, we asked if respondents are concerned about the risk of a worldwide recession.


The overwhelming majority answered yes, with 83.25% of the vote, while only 15.25% answered no. Although the unemployment rate is at 3.6% an emerging worldwide recession is highly on the minds of American citizens, largely possible to the continuing aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next, we asked a multiple-selection question: has the stock market’s recent volatility caused you to do any of the following? In this question, respondents had the choice to provide more than 1 multiple-choice answer. 

new recession

“Become more frugal” generated the most answers at 16.59%, followed by starting an emergency fund (15.41%), showing that Americans have become more conscious of their financial status and well-being.

The stock market has also had a negative impact on many, as other popular answers included: postponing buying a home (8.71) and postponing retirement (7.06). These point to a grim outlook on the financial future of respondents, as they are less likely to soon buy a home and retire at an earlier age.

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