Change is in the air

April 20, 2021- Americans are making plans to travel and socialize in summer 2021; but have mixed views on vaccine passports and needing to know employees’ vaccination status before patronizing businesses.

Stories this week:

Young people driving changing perspectives on cannabis

While many Americans aren’t completely convinced about the upside of legalizing cannabis, few also believe in the harmful effects critiques of cannabis tout either, Ipsos polling finds.

Younger Americans are more likely to see the benefits of legalizing cannabis than Americans over 50. Fifty-six percent of people between the ages of 35 and 49 believe that taxes from cannabis sales will help improve neighborhoods, while only 41% of people over 65 agree.

And while older Americans are not entirely on board with the arguments around legalizing cannabis, few buy the downsides that critiques of legalization push either. Overall, only about 30% of people over 65 believe there will be more crime near dispensaries or that cannabis acts as a gateway drug.

American’s different climate change realities

Americans do not experience a single type of changing climate, instead severe weather is filtered through local conditions resulting in widely different understandings of the implications of climate change.

Americans living in the West report more droughts and wildfires; Midwesterners report more floods and extreme cold; Southerners report more hurricanes, floods, severe thunderstorms and extreme cold; and Northeasterners report more severe thunderstorms and floods.

Americans hesitant about vaccine passports

Americans have mixed feelings about vaccine passports, but are more likely to support them if backed by health professionals.

These findings generally reflect Americans’ greater levels of trust in doctors and healthcare providers around the pandemic and vaccine. If vaccine passports were backed by local hospitals or healthcare workers, 65% of Americans say they would be on board with them. Support drops from there, with the lowest levels of theoretical support if vaccine passports were backed by major sports teams and theater or concert venues.

However, partisanship — as is the case with so many other aspects of daily life — is a major driver of support or antipathy. On average, just 38% of Republicans are likely to support vaccine passports under the conditions listed below, compared with 75% of Democrats.

Staff vaccination will be important in getting some to patronize businesses

Employees’ vaccination status may encourage some customers to come into physical storefronts, recent polling from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.

Urban and suburban residents are more interested in knowing if staff at local establishments have been vaccinated. A majority, 52%, of city-dwellers and 46% of suburbanites are more likely to shop or visit a business if they know all the employees have been vaccinated. Rural residents, on the other hand, are much less motivated by vaccination status with most saying it does not impact their decisions.

Additionally, political affiliation plays a role in how Americans feel about knowing workers’ vaccination status. Nearly two in three Democrats report being more likely to shop or visit a business where all employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, while only 31% of Republicans and independents feel the same.

Summer is (kind of) back

After delaying plans last year, people have high hopes for summer 2021 and intend to do more this year.

Compared to 2020, the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker found that road trips seem to be an appealing option this summer, with about two in three Americans planning on taking an overnight trip by car, double the number who reported doing so last summer. More Americans are planning on going to outdoor events like farmer’s markets or art fairs (up by 40 points from 2020), traveling by plane within the U.S., and dining out at a restaurant (up by 26 points each).

There’s less movement compared to last summer when it comes to other activities like going on a cruise (up 10 points from last year), using ride-sharing services (up 12 points), and traveling internationally by plane (up 14 points).

Younger Americans don’t check their mail

Many Americans are still opening snail mail advertisements, but age conditions how likely they are to do so.

Just 40% Americans age 18 to 34 say they have opened or looked at ads they receive in the mail in the past day or week. At 22%, they are the most likely of any age group to say they “never” look at mailed ads.

This makes younger Americans the exception, not the norm. A majority across all other age groups are likely to have looked at ads received in the mail at least weekly. The older Americans are, the more likely they are to be regularly checking out the ads they receive.

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Presenting original analysis of public opinion research on politics and society from the world’s third-largest market research firm, with a particular focus on the 2020 United States elections. For more information, visit: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-and-polls/overview

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Sarah Feldman

Sarah Feldman

Data journalist @ipsos writing about American public opinion.

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