Concerned about COVID-19, Americans adapting Thanksgiving plans

Half plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with just immediate family; one in five report adjusting by not seeing people they normally would

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 27, 2020 –  A new Ipsos poll shows that most Americans are concerned about a spike in COVID-19 cases in their area during the holiday season. Regarding Thanksgiving plans, over half plan to celebrate with just immediate family. Just one in ten are traveling to see family and friends, with the majority saying they will quarantine for at least a week before traveling. The most common adaptations for Thanksgiving this year are having a smaller gathering and not seeing family or friends that one normally would see. Nonetheless, a third do not plan to make any adjustment. 

  1. Seventy percent are concerned there will be a spike in COVID-19 cases in their area during the holiday season. Concern is highest among Democrats (84%), those in the Northeast (82%), and retirees (81%). 
  2. A slim majority, 52%, say they are celebrating Thanksgiving this year with just their immediate family. More than one in ten (14%) are not planning to celebrate at all, which is slightly more than the number who say they are traveling for the holiday (10%).
  3. Many Americans plan to adapt their Thanksgiving celebrations this year. The most common adaptations are having a smaller gathering (35%) and not seeing family or friends they normally would (21%). 
    • One-third (32%) are not making any of the adaptations listed in the survey. Those more likely to say "none of these" live in the South (41%) or in a rural area (40%), or are Republicans (39%) or without a college degree (35%). 


About the Study   

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 26-27, 2020. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/5.0 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact: 

Mallory Newall 
Director, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2014   
[email protected]     

Kate Silverstein 
Media Relations Specialist, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected] 

About Ipsos   

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.   

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.   

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).    ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP          


The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs