Heading into Labor Day, this lousy summer is the best pandemic summer yet

September 03, 2021, 5:53 PM UTC

In what counts as progress against COVID-19, many Americans say this has been a lousy summer—but not as many as said so last summer. 

Ahead of Labor Day weekend, one in four Americans (26%) said in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll that the summer of 2021 is a bad summer or the “worst summer ever.” That’s dismal—but down from the 46% who said so last summer.

Progress from the depths of summer 2020 doesn’t mean people consider summer 2021 to be good. Only one in five people (23%) described this summer as good or the best summer ever, up from 15% last summer. 

The Northeast had the highest share of people who have liked this summer, with a still paltry 28% calling it good or the best. Its early-summer avoidance of devastating natural events such as wildfires or, until after the survey was fielded, storms.

Younger adults were more likely to think fondly of summer 2021: 34% of adults under age 30 call it good or the best ever). 

How people feel about summer 2021 depends in large part on whether they’ve been able to get away for a vacation some other time these past 12 months. Among the one in three Americans who have taken a vacation, 37% call this summer good or the best, and just 14% call it bad or the worst. Among people who haven’t taken a vacation, those percentages flip, to 16% and 32%.

Many Americans think there’s still a couple of weeks for this summer to get better—or worse. Only one in four people (26%) believe summer ends on Labor Day. Four in ten (39%) think summer really isn’t over until the calendar says it is: September 21.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between August 28 - 31, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.0% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty