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Back to Normal Thanksgiving… Almost


Little Covid vax concern among those planning to attend gatherings

West Long Branch, NJ – Two-thirds of the American public reports their Thanksgiving Day gathering will return to pre-Covid levels this year, according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. Last year, just under half of the country planned to spend the holiday either alone or only with their immediate household. That has dropped to 1 in 4 this year. The poll also finds that most of those who will be either hosting or attending Thanksgiving gatherings with people outside their immediate households are not concerned with knowing the Covid vaccination status of other attendees.

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%). This combined 68% result is up from 46% who said the same in a poll last November. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans (18%) plan some overnight travel for the holiday, up from 10% who said the same in 2020.

“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.

Three in ten (31%) say this year’s Thanksgiving will include fewer people than during their pre-Covid holidays. However, this is down from 53% recorded in a 2020 pre-holiday poll who said they were planning smaller-than-usual gatherings. In all, 26% of Americans will be spending Thanksgiving either alone or with just their household, which is down from 45% who similarly limited their event size last year. Additionally, 16% of Americans plan to have family or friends join them remotely via Zoom or video, which is down from 24% who did this last year.

The shift in household-only or solo gatherings since last year has decreased by fairly similar levels across different age and race groups as well as among those with and without children under 18. But there are some partisan differences. 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%). The poll also finds race-based differences in the relative size of this year’s get-togethers. Specifically, 4 in 10 people of color say their Thanksgiving gathering this year will involve fewer people than normal (down somewhat from 53% last year), while the number of non-Hispanic whites who plan a smaller gathering than usual has more than halved (25%, down from 54% in 2020).

Overall, 30% of the public will be hosting a Thanksgiving gathering with people from outside their own household and 40% will be visiting another’s home for Thanksgiving. Nearly two-thirds of these hosts (64%) say they will not ask whether their guests have received the Covid vaccine and just 27% will require their guests to be vaccinated. 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.

Demographically, hosts and guests who do not care about the vaccine status of attendees at their Thanksgiving dinners are less likely than the overall public to be vaccinated themselves (67%, compared with a national average of 80%). A majority of this group identifies with or leans toward the Republican Party (62%) and half are non-Hispanic whites without a college degree (51%). Among those who will be asking their guests or hosts about attendees’ vaccination status, 99% report being vaccinated themselves. 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 Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from November 4 to 8, 2021 with 811 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.


(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-39 previously released.]

40.Looking ahead to the holidays, will you travel for Thanksgiving to someplace that involves an overnight stay, drive to another place and back the same day, or stay home?

  Travel overnight18%10%
  Drive same day15%13%
  Stay home65%74%
  (VOL) Don’t know2%3%

41.Will you spend this Thanksgiving alone, with just the members of your household, with a small number of additional family members or friends, or with a large number of family or friends? Please count only those who will be with you physically in person.

  Just the members of your household19%37%
  A small number of additional family members or friends55%45%
  A large number of family or friends17%8%
  (VOL) Don’t know3%2%

42.And does that mean you will spend this Thanksgiving with about the same number of people as you usually did before Covid, fewer people than usual, or more people than usual?

     TREND: Nov.
  (VOL) Don’t know1%1%

43.And will you have family or friends joining you for Thanksgiving dinner this year remotely by Zoom or video?

  (VOL) Don’t know4%4%

44.Will you be hosting Thanksgiving at your house or will you be visiting someone else’s home?

  Hosting at own house 30%
  Visiting someone else’s home 40%
  (VOL) Neither, going to restaurant, etc.1%
  (VOL) Don’t know4%
  With household only/alone (from Q41)25%

[Q44A was asked of those who said “HOSTING” to Q44: n=250, moe= +/- 6.2%.]

44A.Are you requiring that your guests be vaccinated against Covid, or not? [If NOT:  Will you be asking your guests whether they are vaccinated, or not?]

  Not require, but will ask6%
  Not require, will not ask64%
  (VOL) Don’t know3%

[Q44B was asked of those who said “VISITING” to Q44: n=325, moe= +/- 5.4%.]

44B.Does it matter to you if all the other guests are vaccinated against Covid, or not? [If MATTERS: Will you be asking the host whether all the guests are vaccinated, or not?]

  Matters, will be asking the host23%
  Matters, but not asking the host17%
  Does not matter60%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from November 4 to 8, 2021 with a national random sample of 811 adults age 18 and older. This includes 283 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 528 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field), Dynata (RDD sample), and Aristotle (list sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

27% Republican
43% Independent
31% Democrat
49% Male
51% Female
30% 18-34
32% 35-54
38% 55+
63% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.