Poll: War And Americans' Travel Plans

CBS News/New York Times poll graphic CBS/AP

Most Americans say they are not less likely to fly right now, despite the prospect of war. However, many are hesitant to travel overseas.

Despite the possible war with Iraq (which 3 in 4 Americans think will happen) and the recent Code Orange terror alert, Americans are more willing to fly now then they were following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Then, twice as many Americans as now expressed an unwillingness to fly.

HAVE EVENTS CHANGED YOUR WILLINGNESS TO FLY?

Less likely to fly:

Now
17%
9/01
36%

Makes no difference:

Now
79%
9/01
60%


But the heightened terror alerts do make some Americans hesitant to travel by air. People who say they felt unnerved by the raised alert are three times more likely to avoid air travel as people who felt more secure when the government went on higher alert. 27% of those made anxious by the alert say they are less likely to fly; just 9% of those who felt secure under the alert are say this.

Most Americans say they are planning a vacation for sometime in the next six months. One-third are planning to take a vacation by car, more than one-quarter are planning a trip by airplane, but another 30% are not planning a trip as of now.

PLANNING A VACATION IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS?

Yes, going by airplane
27%
Yes, going by car
33%
No vacation plans
30%


Just 3% of Americans have recently cancelled a vacation plan because of a possible war. In November 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks, 8% said they had cancelled some kind of trip, either a business trip or vacation.

Most Americans say they would not take a trip overseas in the next six months even if they could afford it and had the time. 55% say they would not go, 43% say they would go.

WOULD YOU TRAVEL OVERSEAS IN NEXT SIX MONTHS?

Yes
43%
No
55%

45% of Americans say they have been overseas before. Of those who have, a majority - 57% - says they would be willing to go again in the next six months. Of those who have never been overseas, two-thirds would not go in the near future, either.

Of those who say they would not travel overseas, their main reason was fear. 51% mention fear of some kind behind their decision, either of war, terrorism, just fear in general, or they express concern about the safety of Americans. 26% say they simply have no desire to go overseas, and another 6% say they want to see America first. 7% say they just don't like to fly.

REASONS FOR NOT WANTING TO TRAVEL OVERSEAS

Fear (includes terror, war, being American & general fear)
51%
No desire to go overseas
26%
Want to see USA first
6%
Just don't like to fly
7%

For those who say they would travel abroad, European destinations are the most frequently named as the place they would like to go. 15% say they would like to travel to Europe, generally. 9% say England, specifically, another 8% say France, 8% say Germany and 5% say Italy.




This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 747 adults, interviewed by telephone February 10-12, 2003. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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