Football: maybe. Shopping: no!

November 26, 2014, 9:08 PM GMT+0

A lot of the country will be tuning into the football on Thanksgiving, but most are firmly against shopping on the national holiday

Football may be competing with the turkey on Thanksgiving Day for the attention of at least some celebrants. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, 40% of the public (and half of men) say they will be watching football Thursday, and for many in this group, they will be watching and eating at the same time.

Nine in ten Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, and for many it is a group affair. Six in ten have invited people who would otherwise be alone to share their Thanksgiving dinner, and nearly half have been invited to join other people’s dinner when they might otherwise be alone.

What do they eat? Fewer than one in five will be fighting over the turkey legs, as twice as many prefer turkey breast. Many like both. A majority even like canned cranberry sauce. But sweet potatoes probably should be served without marshmallows.

One thing that most Americans don’t want to do on Thanksgiving Day – or even on Black Friday -- is shop. Just 12% think they will ship the day after Thanksgiving. There is an age difference, with one in five under the age of 30 saying they will. The numbers are even smaller when it comes to shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself. Only 7% say they will. But those under 30 are twice as like to say they will. Women are more than twice as likely as men to expect to be shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Most Americans don’t believe there should even be the option of shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Two-thirds believe all stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so that workers can have the day off.

Although women are more likely than men to be Thanksgiving Day shoppers, they are much less likely to agree that stores should stay open on Thanksgiving Day. A third of men, but only 17% of women, would let stores open on Thanksgiving Day. And even most of the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers agree that stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Just a third of shoppers want to keep them open.

See the full poll results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.