Poll: 2 in 3 Americans plan to attend Thanksgiving gathering this year
A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University found that 2 in 3 Americans plan to attend in-person Thanksgiving gatherings with about the same number of people as they had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monmouth University conducted its poll by telephone between Nov. 4 and Nov. 8 and had a total of 841 adult participants.
"Two in three Americans plan to spend Thanksgiving with about the same number of people as they usually did before Covid (63%) or with even more people than usual around the table this year (5%)," according to a Monmouth University news release.
In addition, 1 in 5 Americans are planning an overnight stay during the Thanksgiving holiday which is up 10% compared to the same time last year.
"Break out the extra card table. Thanksgiving is back, at least for most people. Some are still cautious, however, and will be having a virtual gathering again this year," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
FILE - Holiday travelers pass through Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving Eve as the COVID-19 spike worsens and stay-at-home restrictions are increased on Nov. 25, 2020.
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Also this year, 3 in 10 Americans, which is down 53% compared to 2020, said they plan to invite fewer people compared to their pre-pandemic Thanksgiving gatherings.
Overall, about 26% of Americans plan to spend their Thanksgiving alone or with individuals in their household, which is down 45% from last year.
For households that still want to spend the holiday with family and friends but from a safe distance, about 16% of Americans said they would utilize Zoom to conduct remote Thanksgiving celebrations, according to Monmouth University’s poll.
While the percentage of Americans who plan to spend the holiday with more friends and family in person this year has increased fairly similarly among race and age groups, the difference between political party affiliation is stark.
"The share of Democrats who plan to spend Thanksgiving alone or just with their immediate household has dropped by 32 points since 2020 (from 58% to 26%). This compares with smaller drops among independents (from 48% to 30%) and Republicans (from 29% to 19%)," according to Monmouth University.
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As far as differences among races, 4 in 10 people of color said their Thanksgiving gatherings would involve fewer people, which is down only slightly from last year’s poll, but the percentage of non-Hispanic Whites who plan to have a smaller gathering went from 54% last year to 25% this year, according to the news release.
More than half (64%) of the people who plan to host and invite members outside of their immediate household and family to celebrate Thanksgiving said they would not ask guests about their COVID-19 vaccination status.
"Similarly, 60% of those visiting someone else’s home say it does not matter to them if the other guests are vaccinated and just 23% will actually ask their hosts about the guest list’s vaccination status," the news release continued.
Hosts and guests who do not care about vaccination status are less likely than the overall United States population to be vaccinated themselves, according to Monmouth University. A majority (62%) of the people who fall in line with this outlook lean toward the Republican party. And half of that majority (51%) are non-Hispanic Whites with no college education.
And for the hosts who do plan to ask their attendees whether or not they are vaccinated, 99% of those hosts said they received their shots, according to the findings.
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"Compared to the overall public, this group is more likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (77%), more likely to be college graduates (46%), and more likely to be African American (20%)," the news release said.
Meanwhile, AAA predicted a strong rebound in holiday travelers this Thanksgiving. The Auto Club Group predicts 53.4 million Americans will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels for the 2019 holiday.
According to AAA, in Wisconsin, total travel figures are only 8% below pre-pandemic levels. AAA predicts nearly 1 million Wisconsinites will travel for Thanksgiving, an almost 13% rebound from the total number of travelers during the 2020 holiday.
In 2019, a record 26 million passengers and crew passed through U.S. airport screening in the 11-day period around Thanksgiving. But that plummeted in 2020 as the pandemic kept people at home.
However this year, airports across the country are preparing for a surge in holiday travelers ahead of Thanksgiving.
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At the Los Angeles International Airport, nearly 2 million people are expected to pass through during the two-week Thanksgiving holiday period, potentially doubling the number from the same time last year, airport officials said Wednesday.
In a statement, LAX airport officials said they expect the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, which begins Thursday and continues through Nov. 30, to be its busiest stretch of passenger traffic since early 2020.
The busiest days this month are expected to be this Friday, Nov. 19, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28.
Additionally, David Pekoske with the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday he expects agency staffing to be sufficient for what's traditionally TSA's busiest travel period.
"We are prepared," Pekoske told ABC's "Good Morning America." He said travelers should expect long lines at airports and plan to spend a little more time getting through security.
RELATED: Up to 2 million travelers expected to pass through LAX during Thanksgiving period
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests delaying any travel until you are fully vaccinated, they do provide tips on how to stay safe during the holidays.
If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people, but keep in mind that many countries may bar unvaccinated travelers from entry. If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation in the U.S.
If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t travel, host or attend a gathering, and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
The Associated Press, FOX LA and Stephanie Weaver contributed to this report.