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Student holiday travel, testing and vaccine views track party lines

Overview: A compound-crisis is building as a COVID-19 case-surge collides with students' return home for the holidays. Thanksgiving and December break normally create a travel spree - home for Thanksgiving, back to school, and back home again for the holidays. Now, students are weighing holiday comfort against the risk of contracting or spreading Coronavirus.

The questions: How much will students curb travel to avoid COVID spread and how committed are students to getting vaccinated, and taking other precautions to stunt the virus?

The key findings:

AXIOS/Generation Lab Poll | n=830 respondents | Nov. 19-20 |

• 32% of college students are canceling all travel plans due to recent spikes in cases

  • 60% of students plan to get tested as they travel home for the holidays (of those returning)

  • 69% would probably or definitely take an FDA-approved vaccine (compared to 58% of general public)

The key cross tabs:

1. Vaccine:

  • Dems: 79% would definitely or probably take COVID-19 vaccine

  • GOP 54% would definitely or probably take COVID-19 vaccine

2. Travel plans (considering recent COVID-19 case spikes)

  • Dems: 34% canceling Thanksgiving travel, 25% taking more precautions before travel

  • GOP: 18% canceling Thanksgiving travel, 19% taking more precautions before travel

3. Getting tested:

  • Dems: 78% will get tested before leaving campus or upon arrival at home.

  • GOP: 38% will get tested before leaving campus or upon arrival at home.


This study was conducted from November 19-20th from a representative sample of 830 students nationwide from 2-year and 4-year schools. The Generation Lab conducts polling using a demographically representative sample frame of college students at community colleges, technical colleges, trade schools and public and private four-year institutions.

We choose respondents using an exhaustive list of all post-secondary institutions in the United States, and - in random order - engage students through a combination of methods to give any student at each school as equal a chance of being surveyed as possible, including students at HBCU’s, women’s-only colleges, tribal colleges and technical colleges.

This approach mitigates biases resulting from a non-random approach. The final frame used in our polling closely resembles a probability sample of college students in the United States.



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