Tags: zogby | july | 4th | poll

Zogby: Americans Stay Home July 4th

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2008 08:23 AM

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Faced with ever-increasing gasoline prices, most Americans are planning to keep travel and other spending at a minimum during the long 4th of July weekend – 65% said they will not travel much at all and most plan to spend either less than they did last year or very little over the holiday, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

While most plan to stick close to home this weekend, 10% said they plan to travel less than they did during the holiday last year. Just 20% said they plan to travel as much as they did last year, and only 5% are planning more extensive travel this weekend compared to last year. Those age 65 and older are most likely to say they expect to do little traveling during the holiday weekend (78%), but more than half of those in all age groups said the same – including 71% of those age 18 to 29. The Zogby International telephone poll of 1,005 likely voters nationwide was conducted June 27-30, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

Excluding travel costs, most plan to keep other spending in check during the holiday weekend – 34% said they will not spend much at all during the weekend and 20% said they will spend less than they did last year. Slightly more than a third (35%) said they plan to spend the same amount as last year and just 11% said they plan to increase their spending during the holiday compared to last year.

75% believe gas will reach $5 per gallon this summer

Even as gas prices surge past $4 per gallon, a separate Zogby Interactive survey finds 75% of Americans anticipate the $5 per gallon fill-up will become the norm sometime this summer – an increase from 62% who said the same in a survey conducted in early May, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

Despite significant concern that the nationwide average price for regular unleaded gasoline is headed to $5, nearly two in three Americans (62%) are optimistic that gas prices will dip below $4 per gallon at some point in the future. But an increasing number of Americans (77%) now believe that the U.S. has seen the last of $3 per gallon gasoline, up from 66% who said the same in May. The Zogby Interactive survey of 6,453 adults nationwide was conducted June 20-23, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.2 percentage points.

More than a third of Americans (37%) anticipate gasoline prices will rise significantly in 2008, increasing to at least $1 or even more from where prices stand now, while 34% believe gas prices will rise moderately, increasing between $.20 and $1.00 over the course of the year. Few expect the rest of the year to bring a drop in the price at the pump, with 11% who believe prices will fall between $.20 and $1.00 – just 2% are expecting a significant fall in gas prices of more than $1 per gallon.

A May Zogby Interactive survey found nearly half of respondents faced with gas prices approaching $4 per gallon had already begun to reduce how much they drive. Now that gas prices have topped the $4 per gallon mark, 42% said they plan to significantly curtail their driving if gas reaches $4.50 per gallon – another 19% intend to put the brakes on how much driving they do if gas goes beyond $5 per gallon.

As Americans wait to see if average gasoline prices cross another milestone at $4.50 per gallon, those who are least able to absorb the increased cost are most likely to be planning a significant decrease in how much they drive if prices soar higher – 62% of those with less than $25,000 in household income plan a major driving cut back if gas hits $4.50 per gallon. But rising gas prices have caused even those from wealthy households to reconsider their driving habits – 28% of those with more than $100,000 in household income plan to reduce how much they drive with gas at the $4.50 per gallon mark.

Pollster John Zogby: “In the past we’ve asked at what point Americans would change their driving behavior. We found back in January 2007 – when gas prices across most of the country were still in the $2 range – that 35% said they would significantly cut back on their amount of driving if gasoline reached $3 per gallon and 31% would do the same if gas prices hit $4 per gallon. That was critical mass. As gas prices reach and exceed $4 per gallon, what we’re seeing today is no surprise to us.”

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