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HPU Poll: North Carolinians Split on Summer Travel During the Pandemic | High Point University

Other purchase and travel related questions show that 78% of North Carolinians made intentional efforts to support local, small businesses and restaurants.


HIGH POINT, N.C., April 7, 2021 – A new High Point University Poll shows that’s North Carolinians are split when thinking about summer travel and the availability of vaccines. Approximately one-third of respondents (33%) said that they are more likely to travel this summer, while slightly less than one-third (28%) said they are less likely to travel. Another 31% said that their summer travel will be the same as last summer.

When asked where they would travel if they plan to this summer, 42% of respondents said that they will travel outside of North Carolina but within the United States. About one-third (31%) said that they would travel within the state, and only 8% said that they plan to travel internationally this summer. Only 12% said that they would not travel at all this summer.

When asked if current restrictions on travel affect their likelihood of traveling this summer, majorities (59%) of North Carolinians said that current restrictions might affect their travel a lot or some, while 25% of the same respondents said not much at all.

The HPU Poll asked respondents about purchases this time last year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite news reports of pandemic purchasing and supply shortages of some items, most North Carolinians said that they didn’t think they bought too much of nonperishable foods (77%), bottled water (75%), paper towels (74%), toilet paper (73%) disinfectant wipes and cleaning products (69%) or hand sanitizer (66%).

A majority (57%) of poll respondents said that their online shopping had increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 40% said that it did not. Majorities (78%) of North Carolinians said that they made an intentional effort to support local, small businesses and restaurants in their community that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while less than one-quarter (23%) said that they did not.

The HPU Poll asked North Carolinians if they have made certain purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just over one-quarter (26%) said that they purchased work out equipment, in addition to a bicycle (15%), camping or hiking gear (14%), and water sport equipment (13%).

Lastly, the HPU Poll asked respondents how much they missed social gatherings in the past year that have been canceled or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost half (46%) of poll respondents said that they missed family gatherings the most. Less than half also said they missed church or other worship services (36%), festivals and fairs (34%), movies (30%), theatre and musical productions (27%) and sports (26%) a lot.

“The most recent HPU Poll indicates that North Carolinians tried to do their part during the pandemic to help the economy,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “Majorities of poll respondents said that they intentionally supported local small businesses and restaurants.”

All adults –COVID-19 Vaccine and Travel (March/April 2021)

Thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of vaccines, would you say you are more or less likely to travel this summer? 

More likely – 33%

Less likely – 28%

About the same – 31%

Don’t know/Refused – 9%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults – COVID-19 Restrictions and Travel (March/April 2021)

How much do current restrictions on travel affect your likelihood of traveling this summer? Would you say a lot, some, or not much at all?  

A lot – 21%

Some – 38%

Not much at all – 35%

Don’t know/Refused – 6%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults – Domestic or International Travel (March/April 2021)

If you do plan to travel this summer, would you say it is more likely that you will travel within the state of North Carolina, within the U.S. but outside the state, or internationally? Please let us know if you do not plan to travel at all   

Within North Carolina – 31%

Within the US but outside of NC – 42%

Internationally – 8%

Will not travel at all – 12%

Don’t know/Refused – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults – COVID-19 and Purchases (March/April 2021)

Thinking about this time last year and your reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think you bought too much of any of these products?

  Yes No Don’t know/Refused
Hand Sanitizer 31% 66% 3%
Disinfectant Wipes and Cleaning Products 28% 69% 3%
Toilet Paper 24% 73% 3%
Paper Towels 23% 74% 3%
Bottled Water 23% 75% 3%
Nonperishable Foods 19% 77% 4%

(Options were presented in random order. Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults – COVID-19 and Online Shopping (March/April 2021)

Would you say that your online shopping has increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Yes – 57%

No – 40%

Don’t know/Refused – 3%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults –COVID-19 Gatherings (March/April 2021)

How much have you missed these social gatherings in the past year that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? For each one, would you say a lot, some, or not much at all?

  A lot Some Not much at all Don’t know/Refused)
Family Gatherings 46% 31% 20% 3%
Church or Other Worship Services 36% 20% 39% 5%
Festivals and Fairs 34% 31% 41% 4%
Movies 30% 28% 38% 4%
Theatre and Musical Productions 27% 23% 45% 5%
Sports 26% 25% 48% 4%

(Options were presented in random order. Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults – COVID-19 and Local Support (March/April 2021)

Do you make an intentional effort to support local, small business and restaurants in your community that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?  

Yes – 78%

No – 23%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

All adults –COVID-19 and Exercise (March/April 2021)

Have you purchased any of the following list of items during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  Yes No Don’t know/Refused
Work Out Equipment 26% 70% 4%
Bicycle 15% 81% 4%
Camping or Hiking Gear 14% 82% 4%
Water Sport Equipment 13% 83% 4%

(Options were presented in random order. Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 19 – Apr. 1, n = 941 and credibility interval is +/- 3.9%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 19 – April 1, 2021 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 941 adults interviewed online (805 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (136 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using the SRC’s Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.2 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.5 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, and race/ethnicity based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available by clicking here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see

http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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